Dev Board From An AVR Programmer

[jethomson] sent in a build he’s been working on that turns an inexpensive AVR programmer into a development board. The build is based on the very affordable USBasp programmer that’s based on an ATmega8. With hundreds of these boards available from China for less than a Hamilton, we’re wondering how soon it will be before we see these boards end up in other projects.

After fiddling with the AVR fuse settings, [jethomson] managed to burn some code to the microcontroller. After that, all that was required to upload software to the programmer is a bit of solder, a push button, and an external programmer. [jethomson] also managed to make this little AVR programmer compatible with the Arduino environment with a small addition to the boards.txt file.

[jethomson] included a few bits of software as an example – he ported the haunted USB cable and adapted the USB business card to print out, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Nice work, and we can’t wait to see it in future projects.

High Voltage Hacks: A 1000 Watt Tube Amp

Normally when we hear of a Champ guitar amp, we think of a sweet-sounding rig that puts out 6 Watts through an 8-inch speaker. [John Chambers] of Champ Electronics wanted to build a true champion for the field of battle and came up with The Champ 1000 Watt Tube Amp, an amplifier that probably puts out enough heat to keep an igloo warm.

The amp is based on 807 valves. With some clever engineering [John] managed to coax 100 watts out of a pair of 807s, so the entire amp “only” requires 20 power tubes. The build log shows some pretty impressive examples of electrical prowess. We can’t recall the last time we featured a build with point-to-point wiring on tagboard, and [John]’s work is some of the best we’ve ever seen.

[John] has been working on this amp off and on for a few years now, but he should be wrapping up the build sometime soon. We haven’t seen this amp in action, but we imagine it would look something like this 36×10 monstrosity. Send us a message or post a comment if you can find a video and we’ll put it up.

Raspberry Pi Might Not Be Vaporware

When we first covered the Raspberry Pi, we secretly wondered if the project might become vaporware. It looks like the tiny, full-fledged computer might actually be produced with the announcement of alpha boards in the Raspberry Pi HQ.

In the announcement of the Raspberry Pi last May, the board was about the size of a USB thumb drive and would cost $25. It looks like the board will be a little larger in the final revision – about the size of a business card – and production of the alpha boards were a bit over cost. That being said, these boards seem a lot more capable than what we’ve seen before. The Raspberry Pi now has 10/100 ethernet, and analog audio and video while keeping the HDMI, USB, and SD card support we saw in the original.

The Raspberry Pi team already has Debian running on these boards, so right now we’re wondering when gumstix boards will come down in price. Of course, this project is intended for use in education, but we can’t wait to see what can be done with this hardware. If you already know what you would do with this, tell us in the comments.