This application note summarizes the crystal basics, PCB layout considerations, and how to test a crystal in your application. A crystal selection guide shows recommended crystals tested by experts and found suitable for various oscillator modules in different Atmel AVR families. Test firmware and test reports from various crystal vendors are included.
Selecting and testing 32kHz crystal oscillators - [Link]
Flylogic is known for their skills in reverse engineering chips. They were familiar with Atmel smartcards AT90SC3232 and AT90SC3232C and assumed that the AT90SC3232CS was similar but with an extra IO pad. They discovered the AT90SC3232CS is a completely new design based on the larger AT90SC6464C device,
Get all the fascinating details on the exploration of this smartcard and images at Flylogic’s Analytical Blog.
Atmel AT90SC3232CS smartcard destruction - [Link]
The 2012 Atmel Robotics Contest (ARC) is currently underway. The contest is open to university students 18 years or older in North America, South America and Europe, and the goal is to develop a battery-powered 3D version of the Atmel robot ‘Mel’ (pictured above) using Arduino’s 4WD platform (for example, see Seeedstudio’s version) and Atmel components. Contestants can either work on their own or team up with other university students.
Deadline for submissions is May 18th, 2012. ARC contest rules are available in PDF from the contest webpage.
Atmel University Program Kicks Off 2012 Robotics Contest - [Link]
Learn about Atmel’s latest version of AVR Studio. The new version supports ARM based microcontrollers so the name was changed from AVR Studio to Atmel Studio. [via]
Atmel releases AVR Studio 6 Beta - [Link]
Pete made a nice tutorial on the fist steps of designing projects with AVR microcontrollers. He covers choosing the right uC for your project, finding datasheets, getting a programmer/debugger, and setting up the AVRStudio 5.1 for developing and debugging. [via]
In the wee hours of the night, I’ve been continuing to learn how to develop for the various AVR family chips from Atmel. I also do a lot with NETMF, Netduino, and the .NET Gadgeteer, but sometimes (despite the pain!) it feels good to code right on the metal.
Introductory/getting started information for the AVR family is not always the easiest to find, so this post covers a few other important details I think you’ll find helpful.
First steps in designing projects with AVR microcontrollers - [Link]
This is an experiment board based on the new AVR ATxmega 128A1 microcontroller from Atmel. It features some nice gimmicks like an opto coupler, a RGB LED, a microSD card slot, infra red transmitter and receiver, USB, an external SDRAM and EBI extension header as well as a rotary encoder. The board has 6mil structures and hence is not home-producible (at least for the most of us). The board aims to be a general test bed for getting familiar with the new Xmega series. It could also be used as an application board.
It started out as a community project and I am about to spread about 100 pieces of this board into the crowd. We can expect some external contributions mostly in form of example code, which is rare at the moment. Although Atmel announced the MCU well over a year ago it is now that the first models become available in small quantities. This edgy character also establishes itself when it comes to the toolchain and programming tools and costs a lot of effort.
ATxmega128a1 development board - [Link]
Try making a double led dice with 14 leds driven only by 4 available pins of an Atmel Attiny13a. I did it, and it worked:
14 leds can be driven by a technique called charlieplexing when not many microcontroller pins are available. This technique works from the fact that leds are diodes and that those diodes have a little voltage drop. In the network of leds, you can make one led turn on by applying a voltage smaller than twice the voltage drop of a led. In this way, only one led lights up. The other leds do not turn on because the voltage is not high enough.
To make all the leds light up you must cycle through all the leds very fast. Only one led can be turned on at a time. If you cycle through all leds very fast they all seem to be on at the same time to the human eye.
Charlieplexed double led dice - [Link]
Atmel launches digital audio development system – [via]
Atmel Corporation has announced a complete hardware and firmware digital audio solution aimed at simplifying the design of digital audio equipment for consumer, automotive and industrial applications. Based on the Atmel’s AVR UC3 microcontrollers, the Digital Audio Platform is specifically tailored for audio applications such as USB docking stations for smartphones and media players.
The platform comprises dedicated microcontrollers, evaluation kits and firmware IP. The firmware IP includes control and streaming interfaces for popular smartphones and portable media players as well as MP3, WMA and AAC decoders, USB protocol stacks, and a complete file system to allow designers to utilize mass storage devices such as USB flash disks and SD cards. The Digital Audio Platform is ideal for applications including docking stations, USB mass storage, SD card playback, car stereos, USB speakers, microphones, and various voice and music equipment.
Atmel launches digital audio development system - [Link]
USBasp is a USB in-circuit programmer for Atmel AVR controllers. It simply consists of an ATMega48 and ATMega88 an ATMega8 and a couple of passive components. The programmer uses a firmware-only USB driver, no special USB controller is needed.
- Works under multiple platforms. Linux, Mac OS X and Windows are tested.
- No special controllers or smd components are needed.
- Programming speed is up to 5kBytes/sec.
- SCK option to support targets with low clock speed (< 1,5MHz).
USBasp – USB programmer for Atmel AVR controllers - [Link]
My parents growing their own organic food and they asked me to deal with winter temperatures problem in the storage room. It gets really cold here, in Ukraine. Some winters have even lower temperatures than -30°C (-22°F). So right now I designing a simple thermostat for keeping temperature at about 5-7 degrees C above zero. Plus right now I started to use my garage as a gym, so this thermostat would be handy there too.
It’s based around ATMEL AVR ATtiny2313 microcontroller, it will measure temperature using DS18B20 digital temperature sensor, and it has a 30A 240VAC relay to control heater.