Welcome to the Tool List page! This page features some of the free / low cost tools we’ll use to complete the projects described on the Miser Technologies website.
Please let us know if you use any of these tools for your projects, once Miser Technologies has a large enough following, we plan to reach out to more tool makers and to request a special before profit version if one doesn’t exist to help budding entrepreneurs bridge the gap between starting from scratch and creating enough profit to pay for tool licenses. So we expect the list of tools to increase over time, so remember to check back regularly on this page.
Micro Controller Tools
MPLABX – Since we’ll be using PIC microcontrollers for the small Wi-Fi enabled sensor boards it’s the tool of choice. It is free of charge to use for PIC microcontroller programing. It’s based off of Netbeans IDE so as an added bonus it will be familiar to those working with our Java code.
ICD/ICP – In-Circuit Debugger or Programmer. To program PIC flash memories you will need at minimum a Programmer. The debugger is around $250 and the programmer is about $50. At some point we intend on having boot loader code available which will reduce the need for a programmer. We may sell PICs with the boot loader already flashed which would remove the need for a programmer altogether. While the debugger does flash the PIC program, you would only need one if you were going to customize your microcontroller code.
Serial Terminal – Here there are several choices, PuTTY is a popular choice and we used it in the beginning. As time went on, we discovered that we wanted to have control over the RTS control signal and most serial terminals always assert it when they open a COM port. We discovered RealTerm and found it to give us the control we need over control signals. It is a little overwhelming with all its options but if we just stay on the Display, Port and Pins tabs it is not too bad.
Circuit and PCB Design
Eagle PCB – We recommend the freeware version of CadSoft’s PCB to layout your PCBs. The freeware version is called Eagle Lite, it has limitations, but you should be able to design any hobbyist level. If you start selling your PCB creations for profit, you will have to buy a license of course.
Fritzing – Fritzing is an open source project that allows you to graphically layout solder-less breadboard circuits to use as images in design documentation or to help visualize how you will wire your breadboard circuit before you start connecting wires.
InkScape – This is a graphics editor that allows you to convert images into different formats. It is recommended by fritzing .org for editing PNG images for the parts editor. If you decide to make your own fritzing library part you’ll want to download this if you don’t have any other PNG file editor. Also we will use this to make any custom icons we need for our Java GUI applications.
Netbeans IDE – Our tool of choice for Java on PC and Android is Netbeans. There are certainly better tools out there for Android development at the current time.
JFreeChart – We use JFreeChart Java library for some of our PC based GUI Applications. It has many bells and whistles that make it very versatile but is also a little over whelming when you first start out using it. Don’t worry; we’ll cover the basics on how to get it up and going in our projects.
Modelio – We will use Modelio for SysML and UML design documentation.
Git – We are starting to use Git more as our source control since it is becoming more and more universal in its usage. For instance the Netbeans IDE has built in support for it. We will also show how to use it as a local repository that you can share between your networked computers.
Perforce – We started out using Perforce because it’s free to use for a team of up to 20 developers. It is client server based and has good GUI tools, and is supported on Windows and Linux. Recently it has added integration support for Git, we haven’t tried that yet, but if we do we will write up a post on how we are using it.
OSH Park – We started out using Batch PCB, and switched to OSH Park when they were bought by OSH Park. It’s very inexpensive to create your prototype PCBs in small batches.