Basics: AVR Target Boards and Arduino Compatibility

Diavolino
Gary writes:

I have fallen in love with your Diavolinos – thank you!
My question: does the “Simple target board” allow for the 6-pin FTDI Friend hookup to upload sketches? This is quick and easy with the Diavolino. I’m new to reading circuits and stuff, and I cannot tell looking at the target board. It says to use in-system programmer, but I prefer to not buy another interface. Thanks!

Excellent question! It is certainly possible, but not as quick and easy.  Both the Diavolino and our ATmegaXX8 target boards boards use the same chip, usually the ATmega328P.  But, one might say that our ATmegaXX8 board is a simple AVR target board optimized for use with an AVR ISP programmer (like the USBtinyISP), whereas the Diavolino is a simple target board optimized for use with the FTDI interface.

XX8 Target Board

Versus a “bare” target board (with just the chip and power), there are four things that you would normally add, in order to use the FTDI interface to upload a sketch from within the Arduino environment:

Continue reading

Access Point Garage Door Opener

Over at Dead, too much lettuce., Scott built an Access Point garage door opener with a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, and our Simple Relay Shield.

I bike to work. Bikes live in the garage. But with only 2 remotes, I could not keep one in my bag all the time to be able to get to the bike. So a new option had to be created. Most people would have bought a new remote…

Lego and Arduino Projects Book

Our friends John Baichtal of Make Magazine, and Adam Wolf and Matthew Beckler of Wayne and Layne have recently released their collaboration, Make: Lego and Arduino Projects, with a forward by our other friend, Erin RobotGrrl Kennedy.

If that all-star cast isn’t reason enough to check it out, the book is about combining Lego and Arduino, key gateway drugs into engineering and electronics. To accompany the book, they’ve created Bricktronics, a library for use with Arduino and Lego and a set of accessories to help with the physical interfaces, including a shield that allows you to plug your Lego NXT accessories into your Arduino. In an article over at Make, John points out that models and code from some of the projects from the book are up on github, so you can already get started playing.  Neat stuff!

Modkit Micro on Kickstarter

modkit

Our friends at Modkit are running a new Kickstarter campaign for their excellent Modkit Micro software.

[... ] Microcontrollers are no longer just for engineers — anyone can now pick up an Arduino board at their local Radioshack! Now that microcontrollers are even easier to find and buy, they should be just as easy to interact with and program. Modkit Micro works to make microcontrollers accessible to anyone, regardless of their particular background or skill set.

Modkit Micro is a graphical programming environment for microcontrollers that supports a growing number of popular microcontroller platforms including Arduino and Wiring boards. It makes it easy for almost anyone (perhaps especially those with no programming background) to get started using microcontrollers, just by dragging and dropping blocks on their screen to write the firmware.

That part is already pretty neat, but what’s really great about Modkit is that it isn’t trying to be a substitute for “real” programming in source code. When you’re ready to go deeper, Modkit allows you to go “under the hood” to directly view and edit the code that it generated for you. If you’d like early access to try out Modkit, we’d encourage you to support their project— they’re opening up the next round of access to supporters this month.

Link: Modkit Micro on Kickstarter

YOU HAVE EIGHT EARTH MINUTES LEFT

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But, the deadline for our Arduino Contest at Instructables is approaching right fast: Entries are accepted until this Sunday, Nov 15, 2009, at 11:59 PM PST.

Why enter? To show off your cool stuff! Also, you could win a Meggy Jr RGB handheld gaming kit, or an Arduino Mega or other nice goodies, so don’t you want to come out and play?

Official contest rules are here. The basic entry requirement is that you make a project that involves the Arduino IDE in some way, and you can already check out many of the great projects entered. Woo!

Contest reminder!

We’ve seen a lot of great Arduino Halloween projects out there this year. A few of them have been submitted to our Arduino contest over at Instructables, and we’d love to see more. The entry deadline is Nov. 15, so you’ve still got time to send them in.

Speaking of contests, the Make Halloween contest deadline is here. Quick, get those microcontroller projects entered before midnight on Nov. 3!

Instructables Arduino Contest

Over at Instructables, we’re sponsoring an Arduino contest with prizes including Meggy Jr RGB kits. The rules are simple: use Arduino in your project! And by Arduino, we mean any project involving the Arduino IDE in some way. (And yes, you can use your Meggy Jr RGB or your Peggy 2 for this contest.) We look forward to seeing your projects and would love to see them in the flickr auxiliary, too.