RS Components has announced the winners of its DesignSpark chipKIT(TM) Challenge, an online competition launched to encourage energy-efficient electronics design for embedded system applications.

Competition entrants, comprising engineers, students and hobbyists from around the world, were invited to produce an open source energy-efficient and eco-friendly solution based on the Arduino-compatible chipKIT(TM) Max32?development platform from Digilent, which features Microchip Technology’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller. All entries were required to include an extension card developed using RS’ award-winning free-of-charge DesignSpark PCB software tool with code compiled using Microchip’s MPLAB® IDE software.

Cash prizes worth a total of $10,000 have been awarded to eight projects, with the top three designs receiving $5000, $3000 and $1000 respectively, and a further five honourable mentions awarded $200 each. All applications were judged on the level of energy efficiency and the quality of the extension card’s PCB design.

The competition winners are as follows:

First prize
Dean Boman of the USA for the ‘Energy Monitoring System’, which produces real-time electrical energy usage data to enable homeowners to make informed energy usage decisions. The system hosts a web server that provides a web page with the current energy usage on a circuit-by-circuit basis and interfaces with the overall home automation system so that long term monitoring and logging can be accomplished.

Second prize
Raul Alvarez Torrico of Bolivia for the ‘Home Energy Gateway’, which monitors energy consumption by communicating with smart devices in a home area network using low cost RF transceivers and/or Zigbee. The server collects the data and provides information, statistics and use profiles of every smart device in the home.

Third prize
Graig Pearen of Canada for the ‘PV Array Tracker”, a deluxe 2-axis solar array tracking controller that will move a PV array to track the sun’s apparent path across the sky. Features include automatic snow dump, collecting daily/monthly/annual statistics such as sunny, hazy, and cloudy intervals, ambient and PV, and minimum/maximum temperatures.

Honourable mention prizes
Jaromir Sukuba, Slovakia – Handheld PIC18 IDE John Schuch, USA – Wireless Mesh Network Time Server Ian Johnson, UK – MPPT Boost Converter Manuel Iglesias Abbatemarco, USA/Venezuela – Eco Friendly Home Automation and Monitoring Harvesting Controller Curtis Brooks, USA – Internet Enabled Multizone Thermostat

“Achieving greater sustainability in today’s increasingly energy-hungry world is a constant challenge for embedded systems designers,” said Mark Cundle, Head of Technical Marketing at RS Components. “This competition has sparked the exchange of ideas among engineers globally and has resulted in the development of many interesting and innovative solutions to help reduce energy consumption. On behalf of RS and our media partners, Elektor and Circuit Cellar, we congratulate the winners, and indeed all of the thousands of entrants who have participated in this challenge.”

Further details about the winning projects in the DesignSpark chipKIT challenge can be found at:

» Contact details for RS Components


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