New ZX Microcontrollers Released

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Elba Corporation announced today the first customer shipments of a series of new, more powerful multi-tasking microcontrollers intended for use by scientists, engineers, experimenters and hobbyists. The new devices are pin-compatible with the Parallax Basic Stamp (BS2) and the NetMedia BasicX-24 (BX-24), so they provide a convenient upgrade path for those needing a more powerful processor for their application.

Elba Corporation announced today the first customer shipments of a series of new, more powerful multi-tasking microcontrollers intended for use by scientists, engineers, experimenters and hobbyists. The ZX-24r and ZX-24s are 24-pin DIP format devices targeted to beginning and intermediate users. Since the new devices are pin-compatible with the Parallax Basic Stamp (BS2) and the NetMedia BasicX-24 (BX-24), they provide a convenient upgrade path for those needing a more powerful processor for their application. All ZX-series microcontrollers are programmed in ZBasic, a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB6) with microcontroller-specific extensions and other productivity enhancements. Since ZBasic is also a superset of BasicX, in most cases a BX-24 application can simply be re-compiled for the ZX-24r or ZX-24s.

The newest members of the ZX microcontroller family are based on the Atmel ATmega1284P MCU. The primary benefits offered by the new ZX models are expanded RAM (up to 16K), an additional hardware UART and additional PWM channels (up to four 16-bit and two 8-bit). The new ZX-24r and ZX-24s are highly source code compatible with the previously released ZX family members meaning that most users can upgrade to using the new devices simply by re-compiling their applications. The difference between the ZX-24r and the ZX-24s is that the former utilizes a Virtual Machine model while the latter executes native code.

The single unit pricing of the new ZX devices is $59.95. Volume pricing is available. For higher volume or more advanced applications, PDIP-40 and TQFP-44 variants are also offered.

The ZBasic programming language is a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic (VB6) language with object-oriented extensions. 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 unused or unreachable code.

Programs for the ZX series devices 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. For the VM-based devices, the IDE can also be used to perform field updates of the internal firmware, making it simple to upgrade to new firmware releases as they become available.

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

ZBasic, ZX-24, ZX-40, ZX-328, ZX-32, ZX-40, ZX-44, ZX-1281, ZX-1280 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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