Breakbout board suggestions?

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Breakbout board suggestions?

Postby BristolGarry » November 28th, 2012, 1:59 pm

Hi everyone -

My son and I are hoping/trying to follow along with the ECE4760 classes and labwork that were posted on Hackaday a few weeks ago, but have run into a breakout board problem, and thought I would ask the community for suggestions.

The class uses a custom printed PCB board (which can be seen here for the AtmelMega1284 chip. These boards are not commercially available, and neither Cornell nor Dr. Land sell/provide them to non-Cornell students (I asked Dr. Land directly). He has these boards printed in bulk from ExpressPCB for his classes, but scale of economy comes into play when trying to only order one board. I don't mean to sound cheap, but I cannot justify $81.15 for a single non-populated board. :/ There are a lot of components I can purchase for that cost. One possible solution is to build the circuit on a protoboard, but for simplicity and neatness sake, I prefer the idea of using a proper PCB board.

Is anyone else following along with the course? If so, what breakout board are you using? I am considering purchasing the Atmel Mega1284P Explained board directly from Atmel, but I am not sure if it would work for what the course requires.

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Re: Breakbout board suggestions?

Postby Osgeld » November 28th, 2012, 6:57 pm

the mega should be about the same thing, but I didnt see on the doc linked if they are using a P model chip theres a difference tween the 644 and a 644P (or a 1284) Mainly dealing with the pico-power features (like brownout and whatnot) but then again I the 644P gets an extra hardware UART when compared with the 644.

Just glancing at the schematic, the chip shown only has one UART, so that leads me to think that he is using the 644 non P, and aside from chip signature ID, and fuse settings a P model chip like the 1284P (same as a 644P but with more ram/rom) would probably work just fine (just be sure to set the fuses correctly for the part or it may brick, needing a "high voltage" programmer)

for cheap PCB's you could check out itead studio ... yping.html

they are silly cheap, but I have no idea how speedy they are ... but for that price I am going to be sending them a design very shortly for a personal project.
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Re: Breakbout board suggestions?

Postby Cynar » November 28th, 2012, 11:06 pm

The 3rd option is to etch it yourself. It's not the best first board, but doable. The only issue might be drilling it, a drill press will be needed.

Basic method is:
Print out the design on glossy paper from a laser printer (mirrored).
Iron it on to the board.
Soak in water to remove paper.
Etch in pre brought chemicals.
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