BIVBlog #42: Leaving the Pre-built Microcontroller Target Boards Behind

As useful as the various pre-made evaluation target boards were to get our microcontroller development toolchain up and running, they are starting to become a burden. Dropping them now, and dealing with everything they have taken care of for ourselves so far, makes a lot of sense in the long run: It gives us more options with regard to microcontroller models and peripherals we can connect. Aside from that, bare components and a breadboard are usually cheaper than the equivalent evaluation board, so this may even save us a couple bucks.

The price we have to pay for this is that we need to take care of a few more things ourselves: First we need to research some more details about our microcontrollers, and the programmers we use, then we need to get bare microcontrollers plus various external components, and finally we need to hook everything up.

Table of Contents

00:00:30 Why evaluation boards eventually become a liability
00:01:00 Going breadboard, or stripboard/perfboard, with raw microcontroller chips
00:01:40 Information we need
00:02:30 The cheat sheets I’ve prepared
00:03:05 Soldering vs. solderless-only approaches
00:04:15 Connecting the programmers to breadboard
00:04:15 Programmer pinouts, and why I like to stick labels on my programmers
00:04:20     The Microchip PICkit2 header
00:05:10     The MSP430 14 pin boxed header vs. the TI LaunchPad
00:08:45     Atmel AVR: 6 and 10 pin ISP, 10 pin JTAG, with the various programmers
00:11:35 Pin numbering convention on boxed headers
00:12:25 Putting labels with the pinouts on the programmers
00:14:00 Connecting the programmers to breadboard
00:14:20     The PICkit2, and using an angled double row male pin header
00:17:00     The TI LaunchPad, using separate jumper wires
00:18:35     Using boxed header to breadboard adapters—basic soldering required
00:21:30     Connecting AVR ISP programmers to breadboard
00:23:15 Connecting ribbon cable to breadboard without soldering
00:25:20 Liberating the Microcontrollers
00:25:40 Things to find out
00:25:50     Voltage ranges and maximum currents
00:27:20     External components and connections
00:27:25     external bypass (decoupling) capacitors
00:27:45 Going breadboard
00:27:45     The PIC 16F887
00:30:30     Breadboard power and power indicator LEDs
00:31:30     Using battery packs as a (preliminary) power source
00:36:05     The MSP430 G2553
00:41:20     The ATmega 328P
00:44:50 External quartzes and clock sources
00:51:55 Next steps


bivblog-cheatsheets.pdf: The cheat sheets I’ve used in the video.


Long term IPv6 evangelist/book author/trainer/consultant and generic Unix guy (*BSD, Linux, Solaris, and about a dozen more).

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