This last wednesday, Jeff from Sparkfun came to Laboratory B and held a “train the trainer” workshop… I was lucky enough to participate. Jeff is a pretty chilled out dude, very very casual. The workshop was held at the lab, and the lab opened up for our fellow geeks from Vermont Makers.
We got to work making a Arduino-Compatible PTH Kit. Lots of fun. It was nice having my tool box around, I streamlined my process by losing a 16Mhz crystal and luckily I had ‘em in my box, plus someone had to rework some caps and they were toasted, but, dun dun dun! 22pF caps to the rescue. And I had a bunch of ATmegas already with bootloaders, so I just popped one of those in. The kit comes with an ATmega328 that’s got a nifty little sticker on it with the pinout. S’awesome.
The kit doesn’t have a USB-to-RS232 interface, naturally… It’s way the most expensive and difficult to deal with piece of an Arduino (at least I only know of SMD parts to do the job [and they're still expensive], I might be looking in all the wrong places). Soooo, yeah, I don’t have an FTDI cable, so I’ll just program it the way I’ve been programming it on a perfboard etc for now (e.g. jump Vcc/Vin,RX,TX,Ground & Reset). But now that I look at this way, maybe FTDI is cleaner than my funky little jumpers, I should probably get a FTDI cable.
Speaking of which — one of the best things out of the whole deal is that I really like the power circuit on the Arduino-compatible that Sparkfun makes. At least, it’s better than the simplified version I was using. Of course, that’s open-source hardware, so here’s the schematic I like. (In short, they’re using a fuse and a diode I wasn’t… much cleaner).
The workshop is kind of inspiring me to think about organizing a little series on electronics that I’m interested in. I’m sort of thinking… A retro technology series of sorts. First, a “Make your own synthesizer” (sorta) by making an Atari Punk Console (most expensive piece is literally the perfboard & a 9v battery). And then maybe a session showing tapeDuino, and combine that with a “learn to solve the Rubik’s cube” session. I also picked up a sweeeet piece of retro gear — but! I’m keeping the cover over it for a minute (while I learn more about it!) — look for it in a later blog post.
Many thanks to Jeff for holding the workshop! Definitely inspiring!