02 May 2011

The Evil Arduino

I can't help but like a place called Evil Mad Science. I picked up a couple of their ATmegaXX8 Target Boards and a couple ATtiny2313 Target Boards with the intention of using them to do ICSP programming. I realized that with the addition of a few common components, the ATmegaXX8 Target Board could do that and also be used as a basic Arduino clone. EMS also has a good price on Zero-Insertion Force (ZIF) sockets which are great if you're swapping the MCUs in and out a lot.

So this is kind of a simple-minded project and I'd be surprised if it was an original idea, but I thought I'd show how I used EMS' "fine DIY and open source hardware" to make a simple Arduino clone. Just a fun little project that can be tossed together in about an hour.

On the other hand, a person could just go with EMS' Diavolino kit. At $13, it could well be cheaper than the target board approach, especially if you don't have the incidental components laying around as I did. And the Diavolino also has the Arduino form factor. So it depends what you want. The target board approach has more of a DIY flavor as opposed to a kit.

Parts list:

C1,2  18pF ceramic, or as needed to match crystal*
C3-6  100nF ceramic
C7    10uF 16V electrolytic
IC1   ATmega328P
J1    2x3 ICSP HEADER
J2    6x1 FTDI HEADER
LED1  Red garden-variety (Pin 13 LED)
LED2  Green garden-variety (Power LED)
Q1    16MHz*
R1    10K
R2,3  1K
S1    SPST MC NO Tact switch
n/a   ZIF or other 28-pin DIL socket
n/a   Evil Mad Science ATmegaXX8 Target Board

*EMS sells a 16MHz Crystal and Capacitor Set, which is what I used, but of course they could also be purchased individually, or a resonator could be used instead.


Schematic

Arduino-compatible built on EMS target board

Action shot ;-)

01 May 2011

Engineers are some of the most fun people in the world

Sorry but this one is off-topic, and partly brag. Anyone who thinks that injuneers ;-) are not absolutely some of the most fun people in the entire world need look no further than Dean David C. Munson, Jr. of the University of Michigan. Dr. Munson is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the U of M College of Engineering.

Yesterday we attended my daughter's graduation ceremony and we're very proud that we now have two generations of engineers in the family, and also two generations of Eta Kappa Nu members!

My Favorite Engineer

Dean Munson presided over the College of Engineering's graduation ceremony. Before the graduates were presented their diplomas, he explained that, in part due to the swine flu scare of 2009, various congratulatory rituals could be used in lieu of the traditional handshake. Alternatives included bows, high-fives, fist bumps, and chest bumps. As you may be aware, graduation ceremonies can tend to drag a bit, and this one was late in the day, after quite a long day. But certainly I have never been to one that held my attention more; this one will be a tough act to follow. If the Dean calls in sick Monday with bruised ribs, I'm sure that everyone will understand.

Dean David C. Munson, Jr., Coolest Dean In The World,
conferring a degree on an engineering graduate