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Welcome to Make It Last, a project build series and contest, sponsored by Microchip and Energizer. Over the coming months, we’re going to cover a series of three project builds, demonstrating some of the finer points of low-power microcontroller design. We’re hoping these will be fun, informative projects and a good introduction to using “bare” microcontrollers and learning more about the relationship between microcontrollers and power management. Starting with basic components, we will build up each design and you can follow along in a series of Make It Last build newsletters. We will be awarding some really cool prizes at the end of each build, based on the quality of your submission, what you learned in the process, your documentation, etc.

For these builds, we will be using Microchip PIC microcontrollers and the MPLAB environment, however these steps are generally the same for any microcontroller that you may choose or already have on hand.

First Build: The Data Logger
For the first project, we’ll build a simple data logging device that can track the temperature of an environment over a long period of time. We’ll break the project up into five parts: Getting set up, Programming in C, Sensing things, Saving power, and Putting together a data logger. The contest part comes in when you try it at home and make your own version. You can follow along with our instructions, or build your own version using any parts that you want. The official rules are listed on the contest page, however your build must be powered by a battery, and be capable of sensing and recording something in the environment (i.e. a “data logger”). The rest is up to you!

Oh, and prizes? We’ve definitely got some goodies for the top builds. The grand prize winner will receive:

And the second place entry will take home:

Sign up for the newsletter!

We’ll be putting up the first issue of the Make It Last newsletter soon, so be sure to sign up today! To do so, just fill out the form below. It’ll sign you up to our official contest newsletter mailing list (for this contest and for future contest project newsletters).




If you’re interested in reading more about the build series, check out the Make It Last landing page for up-to-date contest details, prize packages, and build info.


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