Low Cost ZX Microcontroller Now Shipping

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Elba Corporation announced today the first shipments of the newest member of the powerful multi-tasking ZX microcontroller family intended for use by scientists, engineers, experimenters, hobbyists and other embedded systems developers. The new device, designated ZX-328n, is provided in a standard 28-pin (300 mil) DIP package. All ZX-series microcontrollers are programmed in ZBasic, a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB6) with microcontroller-specific extensions and other productivity enhancements.

Elba Corporation announced today the first shipments of the newest member of the powerful multi-tasking ZX microcontroller family intended for use by scientists, engineers, experimenters, hobbyists and other embedded systems developers. The new device, designated ZX-328n, is provided in a standard 28-pin (300 mil) DIP package. A few additional components (e.g. crystal, serial level converter) are required for device operation. All ZX-series microcontrollers are programmed in ZBasic, a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB6) with microcontroller-specific extensions and other productivity enhancements.

The ZX-328n is the newest member of a series of ZX devices that operate in "native" mode, meaning that the user's ZBasic program is compiled to native machine code for the underlying microcontroller, in this case the Atmel ATmega328P MCU. This is in contrast to other ZX family members that use the "virtual machine" model (also known as the interpreter model). According to Donald Kinzer, president of Elba Corp., "the native mode devices run applications faster and allow programmers ultimate control over the device while still benefiting from the ease of use and rapid application development capabilities of the ZBasic language." The new ZX-328n is largely source code compatible with the previously released ZX family members.

The ZX-328n is intended for entry-level users and for simpler applications that can be implemented in the available 30K of code space, 2K of RAM and requiring 16 I/O lines or fewer. The single unit pricing of the ZX-328n is $9.95. Volume pricing is available.

The ZBasic programming language is a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB6) language with extensions suitable for microcontroller programming. The ZBasic compiler can detect common programming defects such as use of a variable before its initialization and other likely errors. The compiler incorporates advanced optimization techniques that help programmers pack more functionality into the available code and data spaces by, for example, eliminating unused or superfluous variables and unreachable code.

Programs for the ZX-328n may be edited, compiled and downloaded using a state-of-the-art Integrated Development Environment. The ZBasic IDE provides productivity-enhancing features such as word completion, call tips, auto-indenting, syntax highlighting and undo/redo.

More information and a free download of the installer for the compiler, IDE and documentation are available at http://www.zbasic.net.

ZBasic, ZX-24, ZX-24a, ZX-24p, ZX-24n, ZX-40, ZX-40a, ZX-40p, ZX-40n, ZX-44, ZX-44a, ZX-44p, ZX-44n, ZX-328n, ZX-1281, ZX-1281n, ZX-1280, ZX-1281n and Elba are trademarks of Elba Corp. Other product or service names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective owners

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DONALD KINZER
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