protostack AVR 28 pin board

You may recall, almost a year ago we did a review of Protostack’s ATmega8 development kit. You can read the original review here. Well it turns out that they have been busily churning out new versions of this board, with version 1.4 being released, just the other week. This version has got many improvements over the one we reviewed. Some of the recent improvements include a power supply block for L7805 and the like, a 23 pin ISP port and a section for dual row headers or IDC connectors. The board still retains the same great features that we saw in version 1, like the large breadboard style prototyping area and the power busses that are routed throughout. It is available by itself or as part of an ATmega8 or ATMega168 development kit. With both kits being under $20 and the board itself under $10, it is still quite affordable.

August 25th, 2009

AVR J1850 VPW Interface

AVR J1850 VPW Interface

Yet another car related project, this is the AVR J1850 VPW Interface which was designed as an On Board Diagnostic tool for car monitoring. The brain of the device is again the ATmega8 AVR microcontroller from Atmel, with 8KB of flash memory (this is more than enough for all kinds of features, since the basic source code is only 3KB).

The device supports serial RS232 for connection with the automobile, different baud rates (varying from 9600 to 115200 Baud), 4 different bus monitor functions and can handle header messages of 1 and 3 Bytes long. The circuit was designed for a single layer PCB and, starting with firmware 1.04, the device has a crystal 7.3728MHz. The controller is programmed using the ISP connector.

The interface has been tested with various ODB software, including, wOBD, Scanmaster and many more. A .pdf file containing the schematic, parts list, bill of material and other information regarding this project is available in the link below, as well as the source code, released under GPL.

AVR J1850 VPW Interface: [Link]

August 24th, 2009

Becker Unilink

Becker Unilink

Yesterday I wrote an article about an Atmel based Sony Unilink interface and today it’s another Unilink project, this time based on Becker car radios. For those who do not know, Becker is an important manufacturer of car radios and car navigation devices and it’s based in the UK. Becker made the first car radio, the first microcontroller car radio and the first car radio with CD player and has quite a lot of other achievements.

Becker’s version of the Unilink protocol is very similar with Sony’s in terms of hardware, but different in software. The good thing about this is that you only need a different connector and source code with Becker support. The model presented here is a Becker Monza 7882, a European model, with two DIN-ISO connectors and a Mini-ISO connector field (the picture above illustrates the pinout for this model, you will also find the complete pin listing and additional information).

The MCU used is the ATmega8 from Atmel and the schematics are available for download. The source code was written in C and is also available in the link below (there is a logger only version, an interface version and a modified source code for Becker Mexico 2330). The files are released under GNU General Public License.

Becker Unilink: [Link]

August 22nd, 2009

Atmel based Sony Unilink

Atmel based Sony Unilink

The Sony Unilink protocol is usually meant to control the CD-player of an automobile and can also perform other various tasks. The Sony Unilink protocol can be used to connect other auxiliary devices to your car stereo (these devices vary from CD shuttles to iPods).

This project is an AVR Sony Unilink interface based on the Atmel ATmega8 microcontroller. The MCU runs at 7,3728MHz and the communication with the Unilink bus is made through Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) and the software supports RS232 input and output. The source code was written in C and the files as well as schematics are available for download under GNU General Public License in the link below.

(Another Unilink interface project entitled GNUnilink, based on the PIC16F628 running at 10MHz is also presented under GNU License).

Atmel based Sony Unilink: [Link]

August 19th, 2009

USB Joystick

USB Joystick

This is a AVR based joystick that connects to the PC via the USB port. The device utilizes the ATmega8, the 8-bit microcontroller from Atmel and is capable of movement on 8 axis with its analog inputs. The joystick also has 28 buttons for various uses and is fully plug and play, being immediately recognized when connected (no driver is needed).

This project is based on the Mjoy16, designed by Mindaugas Milasauskas, with a few adjustments. It is open source, both hardware and software, and the schematics, Gerber files, parts list and source code are all available for free, just follow the link below.

USB Joystick: [Link]

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