Version 2.2 includes
- Preinstalled 16MHz crystal
- FTDI "Bit-Bang" interface pins
- Battery-friendly power routing (FTDI powers-down by default)
There is no better open-source way for a BEAM enthusiast to get into microcontrollers.
Based on the open-source project from Italy, this Atmel ATMega168 microcontroller is nested into an easy-to-talk-to cocoon o' technology! The development language is very "C"-like, and runs in a Java-based all-in-one environment supported on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Since it's open-source it has a huge support community, with many, many tutorials and reference code you can draw from. If you've want to see how to do...something, it's most likely that somebody has already started writing some similar code that will put you on the right path!
The Freeduino SB is Solarbotics own special port of the Arduino project's Deicimila reference design. Solarbotics didn't like the color, so being an open source design Solarbotics decided they'd take the excellent idea of Arduino, and make a pink version.
Then Solarbotics discovered it was too hard to make pink. Oh well - so they made it red. At least they got some cool enhancements made on their version. So what did Solarbotics do to the Freeduino SB that differs from the Arduino Deicimila?
- This is a cost-saving mini-kit. We've done all the hard soldering of the tiny surface-mount components. You just take care of the large sockets, pins, and connectors, and save a few dollars!
- Uses a Regular USB-B or Mini-B jack (USB Mini jack included as default)
- Added a power switch(yes, this is a new improvement to the design!)
- Added an location for an optional ARef trimpot
Seriously, the Arduino is an excellent microcontroller development platform, especially if you're not that well versed in using C on a plain Atmel platform.
The Arduino team also created a hardware design for their software to talk to. Using a built-in USB chip, all you have to do is plug your Freeduino SB into a USB port, turn it on, and you're ready to download code!
Surely you may have questions, right?
But what's an Arduino?
It's an open source electronics prototyping system using popular proven tools and hardware. It's designed to be easy to interface with sensors and actuators, and inexpensive enough you can use many in your projects!
Is that all there is about it?
Not at all! A large part of the appeal of Freeduino/Arduino is the frequently updated software used for programming the hardware. The Arduino programming language is based on a very easy-to-learn open-source language called Wiring, which is similar to C/C++, but streamlined for quicker development!
What is this "Open-Source"?
Good question! In short, it is a set of principles given to a project by the project's creator that lets everyone use it, and have access to the source design. The creators of the Arduino project allow anybody to use their hardware designs and software, as long as everybody shares back in return! (It's a big topic - do an Internet search!)
What are the hardware specifics?
An Atmel ATmega168 running at 16MHz, connected through an FTDI232R USB-to-serial converter (just plug it into a USB port, and go!).13 digital I/O pins (6 with PWM) and 6 analog inputs. Power comes from your USB port, or external 6-20VDC power supply. Your PC is protected by a 500mA resettable fuse. LEDs for power, Rx/Tx activity and pin 13 "test" are all pre-installed!
What can I do with it?
LOTS! There's a great many projects documented online. When people use open source software, they seem to like to share what they've done! As of this writing, searching Google for "Arduino Projects" results with 285,000 pages!
Can I build this?
If you can do basic soldering, you bet! We've taken care of the hardest stuff. You just finish it, then download and install the latest Arduino programming software!
As this is a Open Source project, we're obliged to tell you the following: "Arduino" is a trademark of the Arduino Team (www.arduino.cc). The Freeduino SB is based off reference designs by the Arduino Team, and is licensed under the Creative Commons A-SA 2.5 license