A few years back Atmel announced a new line of chips, the XMega series. We see the name bouncing around here and there, but when [Michael Kleinigger] mentioned that he’s seen very few project using these chips we realized that not only is he right, but we know next to nothing about them. Just give his XMega review post a whirl and you’ll be up to speed in no time.
He compares an XMega128A1 side-by-side with an ATmega1280. For those that abhor reading paragraphs full of words, there’s a table that can give you the quick facts like how the XMega costs less and runs faster. But we know from past discussions (like the one on PWM) that [Mike] knows his stuff so the whole thing’s worth a read. He’ll lead you through the programming tool chain (which hasn’t changed), a bit about the new event system, and then finish with a demo program on the Xplained development board.
Here’s a nice hands-on overview of the Xprotolab, a development board based around the AVR ATxmega32A4 microcontroller. The tiny DIP package includes an OLED display, four tactile switches, and it can be powered via a micro USB connector. The device ships ready to use as a two-channel Oscilloscope, but check out how small it is in the video after the break to decide if this will actually be useful for you. It’s not that it doesn’t have a lot of features, in fact it’s packed with them, but that screen is quite small for meaningful work. Still, at $35 it’s an inexpensive way to get your hands on the hardware and acquaint yourself with this line of microprocessors. Not that in order to flash new firmware you will need a PDI capable programmer. Continue reading “Xprotolab: oscilloscope and Xmega development board”
[Ben Kokes] threw together a hardware package to capture data from a football. In the center of a Nerf football he made room for an accelerometer, gyroscope, and an electronic compass. All three can capture 3-axis data and, along with the LEDs ringing the circumference, they’ve controlled by an XMEGA192 microcontroller.
This makes us think back to a time when baseballs with a built-in speed sensor first hit the market… does this hack have mass marketing potential? Perhaps, but only if the $225 sensor price tag were greatly reduced. When we first started reading the description we hoped that [Ben] had coded an interpreter that would render 3D playback video from the data. He hasn’t done that, but from the data graphs he did assemble we don’t think that functionality is out of the question. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.