Arduino MEGA


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories spotted one of the first images of the Arduino MEGA. The board is based on the ATmega1280 microcontroller, which has 128KB of flash,4KB of RAM, and 4KB of EEPROM. We haven’t seen any official specs yet, but the silkscreen shows 12 PWM connections, 36 Digital I/O, and 16 analog inputs. The post mentions 4 hardware UARTs and an I2C bus as well. No release date yet, but we can assume it’s soon since the hardware was already demoed at ETech.

Related: We added an Arduino category.

53 thoughts on “Arduino MEGA

  1. man… when they will get rid of that 160 mil space between pins 7 and 8?
    i just hate it!

    anyway, this will be a great board. some of my projects are already pushing the limits of my diecimila…

  2. So this is original wiring with arduino compatible pins ? Too expensive if you ask me. It will be too expensive mostly due too bad pricing of atmega128. you can get a decent 32 bit cortex m3 for far less than mega…

  3. Arduino’s are great for quick prototyping and just playing around with electronics!

    It is a great platform for people who don’t know much about electronics to pick it up and run. That in itself may be why there is so much support and “mad love”.

    Thanks for the Arduino category! 84 posts, wow! Keep them coming!

  4. @darren

    Being a mechanical engineer I’ve never taken a CS class. I’ve been getting into robotics and I have not found anything easier for me to use than the Arduino. I tried a propeller board but found the programming to be way to difficult. THAT is why I think it deserves fanfare… for people like me. ;)

  5. @Jason, that is kinda funny. I am coming from the opposite side of the fence.

    I am currently majoring in Computer Science and have always been kinda interested in how to create a program that can interact with the physical world. However, I don’t know that much about building circuits from scratch. I got an arduino as a gateway into writing programs for hardware. I wanted something that was well documented that had lots of examples floating around the web.

    So far, the arduino has been a lot of fun to use.

  6. Interesting, depends on the price. The atmega they picked seems pretty expensive in singles, but is $6 more than a 328 in quantity. Otherwise, similar board with more headers.. The current official arduino is $30 now, I’d say this board should be about $50 tops unless I’ve forgotten something.

  7. > why the mad love for arduino
    It’s not the hardware, which is relatively trivial. It’s the environment, libraries, and COMMUNITY that lend excitement to the subject. Previously, the only thing that came close was Parallax’s “basic stamps” (which are also rather un-exciting HW wise.) The new board is especially interesting since it shows the “official” arduino team direction for bigger (more pins, more memory) boards.

  8. you can usually tell you are on to something when people begin to mysteriously hate it.

    the arduino hardware, community and libraries combine to be an interface that sits between programmers and electronics, or between engineers and programming. yes, there may be vastly superior hardware out there, but who learns to drive in a porsche 911?

  9. Until someone creates an API for this in ActionScript, I’m happy with my Duemillanove.
    [Hates writing in C with a burning passion, and has no reason to keep the Arduino independent of my PC]

  10. I’m starting to hate this, Wiring has been around since BEFORE Arduino. It’s basically an ATMega128 with the same IDE as Arduino, the code is pretty much identical and yet it always gets ignored.

    The only way for this to be redeemed is if Wiring gets folded into the ArduinoMega.

    Now don’t get me wrong I love Arduino, but it seems like Arduino’s clouding people’s minds, sure it’s awesome, but it’s not alone, and by no means the best.

  11. I also dont see why arduino is so loved…
    I started with uCs just two years ago and now I see its not that hard. OK if you are not into electronics you need such an evaluationboard (also you have to get into electronics if you’d like to develope a usable device out of the prototype cause you usually won’t take the arduino for the actual application, would you?)
    But for the arrduino libs and language:
    Why learn again another language that is as far not as strong as c is. Also lots of people dont like C (me too). Its not that much harder to do if you learned some important design patterns.
    And when I just looked at the Arduino language its not that different from C. So why bind yourself to this special contribution if you can do it the everybody does in professional embedded system developemnet…

  12. Some like it red others like it blue. Some wear shoes other wear sandals. Personal preferences and the application make the difference for the decision to take an Arduino or anything similar. Maybe a professional embedded system development is to break a fly on the wheel if you just want play around and light your Christmas tree. If you have to develop something commercial then an Arduino board might not be the right choice, I fully agree. Personally I believe the Arduino is a great and relatively cheap tool for learning the basics about microprocessors and the different sample projects around help to develop your own ideas (and the language isn’t difficult too, compared to Assembler). :-)

  13. Even when both languages (C and Arduino) look similar, the learning curve is steeper with pure C. With a pure MCU, you need to know the inner details of the processor, and you are using C to assign value to registers, mapped to pins, etc. Just try to write your first program using C and WINAVR trying to use UART… it is not easy. With Arduino, you just begin using the class Serial and write and read from it. It hides all the inner details of the MCU.

    The language syntax is similar… but Arduino is a level higher in abstraction.

    I guess 90% of Arduino users know almost nothing about basic electronics. They are artists. It is a complete different target.

  14. Yeah, I to disagree with some of what’s being said.

    First of all, the arduino IDE is shit. The editor is terrible – spaces are about two pixels wide and tabs don’t behave correctly. When compiling it randomly fails to give the size of the binary. The UI is just not very good. They would have done much better to use a premade editor widget (e.g. scintilla) with Qt.

    Secondly, it’s pretty badly documented. Most of the tutorials/examples only give you the code – no circuit diagrams. An example: The stepper constructor takes four ints as parameters – the pins which the stepper motor is connected to. But it doesn’t tell you which is which! You have to guess:

    Even worse, some of the library functions are buggy. The delay() function does weird random stuff when combined with PWM outputs in version 12, but not 11. It will also fail if the counter rolls over 0.

    Finally the hardware: It doesn’t seem like they’ll ever fix the gap in the sockets, and why they stick with giant USB is anyone’s guess. It’s the only thing I own that uses it. This isn’t too much of a problem as there are lots of good alternatives to the official arduinos.

    On the plus side, it is pretty cheap and easy to use (when it works)! And you can always use the hardware without the arduino software.

  15. @NKC Electronics:

    I think what you said and others have said is very true. I know pretty much nothing about electronics. To me, the arduino looks like a great way to learn.
    It’s also cheap enough that a student can afford it.

  16. I just like it becuase it’s open source. I’m switching from picbasic to arduino, for now anyways. I might switch back and dust off the old pic programmer and learn a flaovour of C later.

    picbasic has been horrible though, paying for updates was silly, and so I didn’t, and therefore I couldn’t do basic thing slike use long numbers. the idea of paying $300+ for software is just not viable if you’re an artist and this is just one component of what you do.
    add a drill press, molding rubber, sculpture tools, metal working tools, etc, and a chepo paltform like arduino is more and more attractive.

    if you’re a jack of all trades it’s clearly the cheap and appropriate choice unless your tool shelf is already fully populated

  17. I use the arduino every once in awhile. I got started on it, it was very easy to use but it has its limitations. I then move to PIC 16 reached a limit there so I moved to the PIC 18 they work well. I am know learning my first FPGA. would never been able to get here without the arduino. They make learning very easy, this new one is cool but for the price you could do better, but why move on if it does what you need.


  18. I hear a lot of people comparing the arduino to pic, and finding pic to be their favorite. Isn’t this an extension of the old vi/emacs war? Can’t have someone thinking your favorite is some how less capable than someone else’s.

    As a CS major and an artist, the arduino has come in handy. I don’t have the time yet to learn circuit design to the level I would like, so a board that has everything made, and can just be connected to sensors and communication devises is great. The arduino environment is helpful when I don’t want to get too close to the chip, and it handles inline assembly for when I do. And if you want AVR chips that aren’t loaded with the arduino bootloader and all that entails, it makes a passable circuit programmer.

  19. @eliot
    i’m considering this will be backwards compatible with previous arduino shields (the spacing looks to be pretty the same from my arduino board).
    the problem is that i always use some perf boards with 100mil spacing to make custom arduino shields, and that 160 mils space just get me mad (i have to bend the pins 0 to 7 in the shield to fit it in the arduino connector).

    i really don’t know why all that fuzz for arduino, but i got caught by the ‘arduino’s reality distortion field’ too.

  20. I’m hoping this will be cheap enough to control some of my robotics projects. I know it might be overkill. I hope it’s not a huge jump to learn ARM assembly after this. Some of my other projects will need something beefy like that.

  21. Arduino IDE is just avr-gcc with some pre-written libraries. That is to say, you program an Arduino in C, not in something like C.

    This is not overkill if you like to have on chip do all your robotics. A relatively simple hexapod has 18 servos (3 per leg). If you wanted to instead have direct feedback from those, you’d be needing 18 analouge (potentiometers) or 36 digital (rotary encoders) inputs. This thing would be very useful for any robot with a lot of degrees of freedom (especially with feedback).

    That said, it’s still overkill.

  22. I’m a photo editor who likes to dabble in hardware… That’s why I enjoy the little arduino. I’m far from a coding expert and don’t have the time to become one. I really appreciate that people have put so many examples out there. I can see where if I had the time to learn it the propeller platform is dam spiffy. My first afternoon playing with it I was able to pwm some leds and a motor and control it with a sliding resistor. Since I was a kid I always wanted to control real world objects with a computer but haven’t had an easy way to do it. That’s why I think the arduino is so spiffy.


  23. Awesome streamlined expand ability for a micro controller unit. I love it. Very nice, but I see where your coming from draeath, a compact as possible utilitarian design would be truly awesome. It needs to be smaller, because it can be.

  24. What compiler and programmer for the Arduino family that doesn’t rely on Java would you suggest?
    I’d like to write my code using vi, then flash it through a simple command that doesn’t require anything unnecessary to perform the flash. I have no need for a debugger as I’m used on other platforms to monitor proglam flow through spare IO pins and/or serial lines.

  25. I have never used an arduino., but this looks realy good. Unfortunatly it surpasses my requirements and budget.

    I read a post which was posted on teh 16:
    “Why not try PICAXE? It’s so much cheaper and extremely easy to use.”
    This post was more or less ignored by most on this forum.

    I find picaxe to be a very cheap and simple for a beginer or itermediate level. True picaxe has some big flaws. But different methods can be used to overcome them.

    Put simply:
    Your choice of board or chip depends on the requirements you need of it.

    So far i havent thought of many projects that surpass the picaxe chips.

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