Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)
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Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by lyratron on Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:50 pm

Hey All!

It's been awhile since I've posted in here. I hope everyone is doing well.

On a personal note, I want to thank you, Limor - you've been an awesome role model for me as I've struggled to find my career path. Looking at your amazing career and entrepreneurial success, I came to see that it is actually possible for a rebellious and subversive person such as myself to work within the system and achieve a dream job. You were a big part of my decision to go back to school for Electrical Engineering, which I am now doing! :D

On that note, being a full-time student changed my financial situation considerably, and I realized that without the cushy but unfulfilling job I once held, I couldn't afford to buy Arduinos in quantity anymore. I needed a cheaper solution.

What I came up with is the Lira. It is, as you will see, little more than a breakout board for the ATmega328, but it provides all the bare necessities like voltage regulation, basic power conditioning and an FTDI programming interface. It's the smallest, simplest, cheapest design I could come up with that still uses through-hole components for ease of construction.

http://www.lira.cc

Certainly, your Boarduino has more features, better power conditioning and all of that. But then the Lira is significantly smaller at 2.15x0.85" (vs. 3.0x0.8", per the Boarduino page). So perhaps it will find an audience among those in search of the smallest, most bare-bones microcontroller they can build themselves.

Some of the things it does NOT have:

* USB.
* LEDs for power or D13.
* 3.3v regulator.
* Reset button (instead, it has 2 adjacent reset "pins" that can be shorted with anything conductive to force a reset).
* DC power jack.

But omitting these things allowed for a smaller, cheaper board, and in the case of LEDs, I'm not personally a fan of things that suck power involuntarily or disallow me to use certain pins as inputs (as is the case with D13 on most Arduinos).

I hope everyone enjoys the Lira, and I'm certainly receptive to suggestions for improving it. I developed it mostly for my own use, but in the spirit of the open source movement I thought I would put it out there and see if anyone else enjoys working with it as much as I do.

Since my company isn't selling the Lira just yet, I open sourced the board on BatchPCB so anyone can just order it directly from them:

https://batchpcb.com/pcbs/102749

Thanks for leading the way in open source electronics. I am honored to follow in your footsteps.

Cheers!
~ Peter
Attachments
Lira1and2.jpg
Lira 1 vs. Lira 2
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Lyratron ~ Engineering Elegance
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Re: Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by knuckles on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:23 pm

good idea how about some with attinys on board?
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Re: Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by lyratron on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:20 pm

Thanks! I've never worked with an ATtiny, but it sounds like fun. Perhaps I will investigate that line of research...
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Re: Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by Chuckz on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:11 pm

lyratron wrote:What I came up with is the Lira. It is, as you will see, little more than a breakout board for the ATmega328, but it provides all the bare necessities like voltage regulation, basic power conditioning and an FTDI programming interface. It's the smallest, simplest, cheapest design I could come up with that still uses through-hole components for ease of construction.

http://www.lira.cc


I think this board's appeal is to education because anytime you can bring cost down, I think more school teachers and parents are willing to give it a chance.

Instead of paying for USB to be on every board, students can share a FTDI cable and if they break the cable, it isn't a big loss.

I like the board you made.
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Re: Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by knuckles on Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:09 pm

theres always room for lower priced kits that you build yourself ,so cut the size and price ,maybe the vregs could be reduced in size .so far the minis arent that cheap really .
you could sell them in packs of 2 or 4
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Re: Lira (Arduino-compatible microcontroller)

by lyratron on Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:44 am

Thanks for all the kind words! Selling them in batches is a great idea and something I hadn't even considered for some reason. It would certainty make it more viable to sell these things for a reasonable price and still turn a slim profit.

Until we offer them for sale (and hell, even after then) - please just go ahead and order the boards direct from BatchPCB! We have a handful of boards on hand that we could sell if you really, really wanted one directly from us, but we'd have to charge $8.30/board (+S&H), whereas BatchPCB only charges $5/board (+$10 order fee + S&H). I'm looking into cheaper PCB solutions including milling them directly on my CNC. This is supposed to be the cheapest Arduino-compatible around, so naturally I want to keep the board cost to a bare minimum.

Cheers!
~ Peter
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