Freescale Hack It Together (H.I.T.) Project Initiative - Get Excited!

Document created by Eli Hughes on Feb 5, 2014Last modified by Eli Hughes on Oct 8, 2015
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Note:    We are currently a 3 completed projects.   At this point we are going to stop and rethink the ideas for future projects.   Feel free to add comments below for project suggestions!   Any ideas for new stuff that currently aren't out in the wild with other platforms would be very helpful!




HIT projects are a new initiative to help improve your embedded systems chops.  The target audience spans STEM student in high school,  DIY enthusiasts, hackers, Makers,  universities and seasoned embedded developers.    Each project makes use open hardware, software and instructional videos to supply the audience all they need to put together a cool project and expose them to a new topic space.


Sheldon_ThumbsUp_Side.pngEach HIT project will be comprised of the following


  • A low cost Freescale Development Board (such as the FRDM series)
  • A FRDM Shield.  Many cases,  there will be a shield that the participant can assemble themselves with parts procured from common distributors.  Raw PCBs will be available at low cost
  • All Hardware will open.  Raw design files (Schematics, BOM. Gerbers, notes) will be supplied so the participant can fabricate PCBs themselves.
  • All software will be opensource and available on the project packages and/or Google Code or GitHub
  • The projects will try to simulate the participant by mapping code to the senses..... Play sounds,  blinking LEDs, starting warp drives.  After all it is nice to see a microcontroller do something.  A DMA unit  may be a really cool piece of hardware but it would be quite boring if we never used it to do something cool !


The goal is to have cool projects that will capture your interest,  develop new skills while not breaking the bank.    While efforts will be made to keeps costs minimum,  other factors such as part availability, ease of use, cool factor also come into play!


Each project will list a set of skills that you will develop.  This will included both microcontroller hardware  and high level concepts (I2S modules, Digital Signal Processing, etc.).    When you complete a project,  you will have some good experience with something new.  Efforts will be made to have the project span a variety of hardware interfaces, design patterns and embedded systems topics.  Most importantly, each project will be cool in its own way!


Project Listing and Roadmap



Here you will find the current project list , status and roadmap.  Note that items on the roadmap are subject to change


Project #1: Monkey Jam! A DIY Guitar / Bass Stomp Box




FRDM-JAM-s.pngSheldonJam.pngProject #1 will use the FRDM-K20D50 board (which has a Cortex M4 core with DSP instruction) with the FRDM-JAM shield so you can  make your very own guitar  bass  stomp box.  The end result will be a functional DSP system that will allow you to do high quality amplifier simulation and effects. The FRDM-JAM does not limit you to DSP on musical instruments!  There are 3.5MM stereo jacks to DSP filtering any type of audio signal.    You could even use the USB interface to create a USB-MIDI Synthesizer!  Lastly,  no need to bring the house down.....  a headphone amplifier circuit is provided so you can jam out without bothering the neighbors

Skills Developed:


  • Real Time DSP Algorithms
  • Fixed Point Mathematics
  • 24-bit I2S Data Converter Interfacing
  • Soldering SOIC8 and 1206 Surface mount devices
  • Cortex CMSIS DSP Library
  • Audio filtering techniques
  • Tube Amplifier modeling


Status:    Released!


Project Page: Freescale H.I.T. Project #1:  MonkeyJam - A DIY Guitar Stomp Box

Project #2: Monkey Listen! Audio Spectrum Analyzer Display






MonkeyListen uses the FRDM-K20D50 board (which has a Cortex M4 core with DSP instructions) with the FRDM-OLED shield so you can make your very own spectrum analyzer display.  The end result will be a functional DSP system that will analyze incoming audio content via an electret microphone on FRDM-OLED board and display the spectral content.   The example code will also show you how to plot time domain data (a simple audio scope!),  Frequency domain data (via an FFT) and a time-frequency plot (spectrogram).  Extra I/O are provided to hack the code and create your own DMM or oscilloscope. The FRDM-OLED shield also has an optional RS-485 interface for doing cool things like driving a DMX lighting system!





Skills Developed:



  • Spectrum Anazlysis via FFT
  • OLED Display Interfacing
  • Electret Microphone Interfacing
  • Soldering SOIC8 and 1206 Surface mount devices
  • Cortex CMSIS DSP Library
  • Audio Data Capturing with an ADC


Status: Released!


Project Page: Freescale H.I.T. Project # 2:  MonkeyListen - A DIY Audio Spectrum Analyzer Display

Project #3: Monkey Do! DIY Home Automation and IoT


monkey plug2.png



Project #3 will explore DIY Home In this project, you will learn how to do basic electrical automation and control via the web.  Think of the NEST.... only more open and hackable!   Using Websockets, Javascipt and HTML,  you will have a simple way of viewing remote data and be able to control some solid state relays.   This framework will will allow you to create more complex IoT applications.    The example will combine a FRDM-K64F and a FRDM-AUTO to read a temperature sensor and control a solid state relay.



  • 1 High current solid State relay output (10Amp Triac About up to 240VAC)
  • 1 Low current solid state relay  output (1Amp Triac output up to 120VAC)
  • 2 Opto-Coupler (Isolated) Inputs - (Read up to 120VAC on/off signals)
  • Option for K-Type thermocouple Input with Omega thermocouple Connector
  • Option for MCP9700A active thermistor Input
  • RN-XV WIFI Module -  Footprint compatible with Xbee modules and RN42-XV bluetooth modules.
  • RS-485 interface for chaining multiple systems over a wired network.... Or talk to a FRDM-OLED



Skills Developed


  • Embedded Systems Networking
  • Electrical Control Systems
  • HTML5/Javascript - Websockets
  • SOIC8 and 1206 Surface mount soldering
  • Internet of "Things"


Status:   Released!


Project Page: Freescale H.I.T Project #3: MonkeyDo