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  • Arduino Uno R3: Make: magazine version so all components are SMD. It has an ATmega328P and an ATMega16 on the USB port.

Here's its schematic.

  • littleBits kit: from Signal 2015 I think
  • Arduino Mini: $5 clone board
  • Teensy 3.2, also programmable in Arduino IDE

See also ESP8266.

Arduino as AVR development board

I have a FutureKit Temperature Controller, which is based on an Atmel AVR controller. I'd like to be able to write code for it too, by leveraging the Arduino environment.

Writing programs for Arduino

I know I can use the official Arduino IDE but I also want to know more about [Atmel Studio]. Are there advantages for me to use one or the other since I intend to develop for both the Arduino and just plain Atmel AVR controllers.

Atmel Studio

It looks like Atmel Studio is Windows only? How can this be? How sad! Here are instructions to use it on Mac: There is a toolchain supported for Linux, but no IDE: but I am more inclined to try Windows first.

Maybe I don't care, if the Arduino IDE works for me.

Arduino IDE

It starts up on Mac OS/X, more than I can say for Microchip's MPLAB X! (1-2017)

Arduino has a simple IDE that works. I did indeed write a little program using the Make: Getting Started With Arduino book while sitting at the patio table at California Flora Nursery in Fulton. What a lovely place it is.

Now I wonder if the Arduino IDE works with a plain vanilla ATmega328P. I think I have to install the bootloader first.

Loading programs into Arduino

Apparently the Arduino model is to put code into EEPROM and then use a bootloader in flash to load it?

I am used to working directly with Microchip PIC controllers, programming them with a PicKit3. Using an ICSP programmer is also possible with Arduino / Atmel.


I have an 8x8 Nulsom WS2812 board and a custom board from Signal that has Neopixels soldered onto it, 4 x 4 array.

8*8*RGB = 64*3 = 192 LEDs * 20mA = 3.8A If I light up every LED in WHITE then it's going to require at least a 4 amp 5V supply.

4*4*RGB = 48 LEDs * 20mA = less than 1 amp max, plus power for the Arduino of course. 2 amp 5V would be plenty.


XBee shield

I got three of these from MPJA mostly because they were a good price for proto boards. There is a 3.3 - 5 level shifter and a voltage regulator on there.

by Seeed Studio v2.1 2/08/2014

You plug Bees into it and then it adds various RF functions to the Arduino, see this Wikipedia XBee page. Seems like at least some of them include processors that behave like Arduinos so you don't really need this shield or an Arduino. :-)

Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFBee (900 MHz), LTE, WiFi, 802.15.4

XBee3 is multi-talented!


Sparkfun Arduino Protoshield V2

This is a (discontinued) blank board with a few components including a couple pushbuttons and a couple LEDs. It has an area for a bluetooth bluesmirf thingie that's expensive and kind of obsolete.

They make a newer version.

Multifunction shield

I bought this shield from MPJA. Here's a copy of the docs: File:Hacktronics multifunction shield.pdf

Code is here:


(Test program in parentheses.)

  • 4 digit 7 segment LED display (connected via two 74HC595 drivers. (led_display)
  • DS18B20 temperature sensor interface
  • LM35 temperature sensor interface (Temp_sensor) there is an interface but no sensor. Flat side of TO92 goes up.
  • 3296 precision adjustable potentiometer, analog input port
  • socket for infrared receiver
  • Three separate programmable buttons (Buttons)
  • Piezo buzzer (beeper)
  • Socket for a serial device, for example an APC220 RF module (420-450 MHz) or voice recognition module.
  • Servo interface (really?)
  • 4 LEDs (led_lights)

Serial port

The APC 220 ($40) is described here: The pinouts are

3 Power enable
8 NC
9 NC

Pin block

(I think this is the "servo interface".) This block of pins has 4 rows with gnd and +5v and an IO pin in each row. The IO pins are marked: ~5, ~6, ~9, A5. I believe 5 6 and 9 are PWM outputs.


In the "buttons" app, output is sent to the serial port. You can see it by running 'screen /dev/cu.usbmodem1411 9600' on the Mac. (Check "ls /dev/cu*" to find the right dev.)

Output looks like