Protostack ATmega168A kit + USBasp programmer giveaway

Protostack gave us an ATmega168A development board and USBasp programmer to give away.  This is the latest version of the AVR through-hole development board, it has with a flexible power supply and huge prototyping area.

We’ve watched the Protostack board evolve over several years, and it just keeps getting more refined. The introductory tutorials are really good too, and cover a lot of basic microcontroller concepts that apply to any platform. Check out some of the tutorials:

Have an idea for this board? Leave it in the comments. On Thursday we’ll give away the board to a commenter on this thread.

Get the Protostack ATmega168A kit for $19.80, and the USBasp programmer for $16.

More photos below the fold.

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62 Comments

  1. Because of the huge prototyping area available use the protostack to dive muxes and connect multiple arduino shields to an arduino. Use the arduino to control the protostack as to which shield to connect to.

  2. Header to use Nokia LCDs. Either the 3310 or the 6610.
    Also since there’s so much 0.1″ prototyping area, some of it can be converted into SOIC/SSOP/1206/0805 prototype area.

  3. Looks like a great base for a home automation system. Lots of room to integrate measurement components (power monitoring, pump usage, heat usage, ambient/outside temps, etc) and control components (relays or wireless links).

    Combine with an xbee to record data or control via computer.

  4. I’m not interested in the giveaway, but I just wanted to say how much I love the flexibility of the layout with the power connectors, optional components, and so forth. I’m working on a similar (but far smaller, and somewhat simpler) AVR development board, and I have learned first hand the price you pay in complexity (and PCB design difficulty) in exchange for such flexibility. Good work, peops.

  5. There’s plenty of room there.

    I’d add memory and try to make it into a (toy) computer. I’d make the AVR be like the SYSCON chip of the PSP – managing the power, some basic switches, remembering some settings and so on. Of course, battery backup for that chip. Sony had some great ideas there.

    The CPU heart of the thing could be another AVR, but I’m also thinking about going with dsPIC33. If I’d go with the PIC, I’d have to work around the Harvard architecture. I always wanted to play with Huffman threaded code, and that might be a good time to do so.

    A yet another chip to act as a DAC, if I don’t go with the resistor DAC. Not sure how much pins would be left to work with… Might be another dsPIC here, to consolidate the display controller with the DAC. There are some dsPICs with 4 DACs, so that is a doable option.

    And I’d have it playing tetris for starters. :)

    But that’s a really big project, so no idea if I ever could actually finish it. Ah well, that’s at least what I’d try to do with the kit.

  6. I’d really love it to use as the mainboard for an open-source robotics system I’ve been wishing to start. The project would include open hardware schematics and open software to interface with the hardware. The additional prototyping area comes handy, and the price is really good.

  7. thats a lot of land on the pcb, how about fill it with as many blinkm led’s and drivers you can and then add a synaptics touchpad and turn it into a changeable mood light and a i2c temp sensor it could also ‘show’ temp.

  8. A stabilization board for my RC planes or multicopter. With help of accelerometers and gyros extracted from a Wii motion plus and a nunchuk.
    I also have some radio chips to transmit some feedback to my transmitter.

  9. Rigtht now I’m developing some external devices for Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR. There are 8 GPIO lines on the TRAKR’s mainboard that can be used to control external devices.

    So far I’ve built a grabber arm out of Lego and can cotrol the arm through software I’ve written for the TRAKR.

    Here’s a video of the grabber arm in action:

    http://vimeo.com/24143672

    I plan use the Protostack ATmega168A kit to process commands from the GPIO lines on the TRAKR and control not only the grabber arm, but also a number of other applications for the TRAKR such as bluetooth remote control, Global Positioning System (GPS), digital compass, and so on.

  10. RGB Led cube… Huh, that’s it ?
    Off course not.

    Add a lightsensor so that the color changes depending on the light available.
    Add a connection to the house doorbell so that it starts flashing when someone rings the bell.
    Add an LCD to display various quotes from a database (changes every hour), the category of the quotes depends on the color of the RGB led.

    So yes, an RGB cube :)

  11. I’d like to create a programmable intervalometer (for photography). I’d add an LCD, an RTC module, some switches and some sensors (eg. for measuring light) maybe.

  12. I would try to add a large LED matrix to the prototype area (at least 12 by 12, maybe even larger), and build a small scope with it.

  13. I have an idea for an interactive Cylon eyes display with RGB LEDs that will follow the occupant of an area and change color based on information from a weather station or weather information from the internet.

  14. I’d make a mp3 stream server with it.
    SD card+RTC+Mp3 Decoder+Ethernet Shield = simple mp3 stream server,

    This is a good idea for this board,since each of these systems can each be on one rectangular proto area of the board,making it a clean,modular layout.

    And the board is red! i <3 red boards :)

  15. The board layout makes it perfect for a programmable power supply. I am contemplating of gathering some components and building a custom one. The 4 strips would be perfect for a DAC or a dc-ac switched circuit controlled from the atmega. Plenty of room for an LCD and a couple of buttons. Nice board , this is the first time I saw it .

  16. I’d like a shot at winning this. I’m in the process of exploring switching over from microchip processors & don’t have any atmel tools to speak of.

  17. The board has plenty room to place a LC Display, pushbuttons below and a row of connectors for sensors and some external circuits.
    Finally we have a home automation system with display and connected external sensors. The pcb can directly placed at the wall. On the top of the board I would place a transparent acrylic glass to protect the electronic.

  18. A SOIC prototyping area. Maybe a xQFP ?

    Maybe you should ask the dangerousPrototypes guys to help out :p

    You made one didn’t you ?

  19. Électronic potato launcher with integrated telemetry. This would be perfect to put all the component (LCD, push buttons, etc) and most of the sensors on one single board! I want it!!

  20. I have here an espresso machine that needs a new brain, this board would be the perfect fit :)

  21. Needs some smd/smt proto area. Replace the LED with an RGB LED so you can display different status color codes a-la BlinkM style, and add a wii connector or two to one edge :-)

  22. how about a robotic arm controller using a cheap usb toy arm to pick and place parts on new copies of the original board, Skynet .2b :-P
    Then another as a intervol meter taking eletronic nudies (digital playboy);
    and all if it’s lighting controlled by another board with a huge LED CUBE. low power lighting overkill :-)

    All protected by our eletronic potato canon T 0.100
    ?Last one too much ?

  23. One word… Awesome! I’ve wanted to begin experimenting for some time now, just been limited through cost, as I’ve been semi-unemployed for some time. Anyway, would love to receive one to begin experimentation.

  24. I would have two plans for this board. One would be to add a controller to the CNC laser I’m building. The atmega would process the gcode and run the steppers. The other project would be a controller for a draw bot. It would control two steppers and one servo and can draw anything you feed it with a number of different colored pens.

  25. A controller for a homemade audio amplifier.
    With a IR-sensor, several input channels, volume control and a big display to play information.

  26. I’d throw an xbee on there and use it for a remote controlled ‘On Air’ type light to signal pomodoros in progress.

  27. Nice for prototyping. Yet no real precise project, send the board, ideas will come later…

  28. Another vote for “home automation”… but I’d likely really just end up playing with it and whatever new part caught my eye for a few months before doing anything serious with it.

  29. I would burn an Arduino bootloader on there and use it to develop a Packet Radio TNC based off an MX614 chip.

  30. Clock radio with a 16×2 or 20×4 LCD, Si 473* radio IC, DS3232 RTC, rotary switch, small amp and speakers. ^_^

  31. I tried Arduino, but I think I’ll prefer to develop in C. Also, super nice that the whole prototype zone is for DIP components. Nowadays, manufacturers go SMT and don’t drill on their eval boards.

  32. Nice board to prototype my home server control system. Lots of spaces to add the power control electronics

  33. Hi,
    that’s the missing part of my electronic lab…
    I would be more than happy to own such a nice tool.
    It would allow me to develop my futur ads-b receiver in more than good conditions …
    Let ‘s keep the finger crossed ….
    Have a nice day
    Skappy

  34. I’d love to use it to build a greenhouse controller. I have a small hobby greenhouse and it’s a real pain to have to go out morning and night (and many times between) to open/close windows, turn on/off water, etc… With this, I could do it all automatically!!!

  35. I have no clue as to what I could/would do with this.
    I’d love to find out though.

  36. I do have a serious suggestion, open source Solar panel charger(different battery chemicals) and sun tracker? that boards real estate could hand the h-bridge for the sun tracker, charger, 7 seg idsplay/lcd and a few fat caps to supply itself. a 12v land rover wiper motor (very common here in africa, jeep too) and fishing line and pulleys to aling the panels, the rest of the parts from any common source.

  37. I’d like to win, but guess it’s late for participate.
    Anyways, if I could get the board, I’d utilize it as follows,
    1. There are lots of rails on the ports. I’m free to use it like breadboard for any experiment of LCD, LED, etc. I can also install a motor driver IC and use this board in robotics
    2. The ISP connector in the side is appreciated. With this, the connection to programmer stays at one side, unlike other some dev boards in which we have to remove some components such as LCD to access the beneath located ISp connector.
    3.I’d do a modification and install a heatsink in the 7805. Who knows when it heats :P
    4. My dream with such board: I’d make an selective task based something, for which with pushbuttons, I’ll select functions, as it is an OS. I’m unsure but I’d like to install an GLCD, and with text saving and loading option from an SD card using PS2 keyboard. –Totally my dream

  38. I beg your pardon !!! Do not tell whether you are fit if your programmer for ATMEGA168PA-PU

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