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What will engineers get from using Flowcode 7?

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Flowcode 7 is an advanced IDE for electronic and electromechanical system development. Engineers – both professional and academic use Flowcode to develop systems for control and measurement based on microcontrollers or on rugged industrial interfaces using Windows compatible PC’s.

With more than 3,000 professional users of the latest version (v6) of Flowcode, around the globe and 38% of users programming Arduino based microcontrollers, Flowcode is fast becoming the development environment of choice for advanced engineers and those new to MCU programming due to its ability to speed up design time, reduce development costs for engineering teams and it’s host of well-established features.

Smith of Derby, clockmakers

Smith of Derby clockmakers are the UK’s leading Church and public clock repairer and restorer, taking care of over 4,500 historical clocks in the UK and across the world.

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With company heritage that dates back over 160 years, skills are retained and passed down from generation to generation blending cutting edge design with traditional values.

The company’s Research and Development Manager Matt Bean began using Flowcode recently and explains more about the success their company has had in the use of Flowcode for a recent project on the Smith of Derby, patent applied PAR-100 Pendulum Regulator System (see image below), which provides automated time adjustment for weight driven tower and Church clocks.

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“We used Flowcode to develop the first prototype of the PAR-100 using the EB006 PIC E-block and a sample board. This allowed us to create quick prototypes of the initial concept which we could use to apply for a patent on the invention. The quicker code development time meant we were able to focus on the user interface and control routines and get the product into testing quicker. Flowcode gave us a stable programming environment to develop the code which enabled me to work on the design of the production PCB, actuator and enclosure.

Sometimes, it’s easy to miss little bits of syntax when inputting the code, such as a semi-colon or the wrong type of bracket. Flowcode eliminates this problem by automating syntax in the background, whilst giving a flowchart user an interface that converts the black art of coding into technical diagrams. To an engineer like myself this makes so much sense.

Furthermore, it works with ANSI C, which means I can import old proven routines, from our products, directly into Flowcode, meaning I don’t have to re-write every program when I update products that are already written in C.”

Flowcode 7 – what’s new?

The latest version of Flowcode features a number of appealing new developments for professional users of the software. Not only have Microchip’s XC compilers been introduced, making compilation of PIC devices much faster than with previous versions, but there has also been a drive to improve the test and debugging features in the software.

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Above: Flowcode 7 includes an in-software oscilloscope and data recorder which displays feedback and information live from the hardware you're using after compilation

Meanwhile, code profiling, is a new feature that will be launched for the first time in Flowcode 7. This feature shows when icons have been ‘hit’ during a simulation run, highlighting sections of code that may be deemed redundant and other parts which are executed more often and may need optimising to improve program efficiency.

Also new for version 7 is Flowcode's ability to support the PIC32 range from Microchip. The PIC32 family delivers 32bit performance and more memory to solve increasing complex embedded system design challenges.

You can find out more about Flowcode 7 and purchase licences today at RS Online. You can also download a simulation only free version of Flowcode 7 here. The free version of Flowcode is designed to give home users and those wanting an evaluation version of the software, access to a feature limited version of Flowcode 7. The free version is not licenced for commercial or educational institution use.