Converting several Adafruit kits to USB
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Converting several Adafruit kits to USB

by mondalaci on Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:11 pm

Hi Adafruit,

I've just tweet
@adafruit has cool kits but I wish they upgraded them to be USB capable instead of using ISP / serial programmer. No DIPs in this case.
for which you answered
@mondalaci which kits? please post up in the forums - adafruit.com/forums/ thanks!
so here I am.

By now I've built several of your kits such as the SpokePOV, the MiniPOV and TV-B-Gone.

MiniPOV is the most annoying one because it uses a serial port for reprogramming. I mean c'mon, it's not the 90s anymore. :) I do understand that this is probably an old kit that hasn't been upgraded but if it ever gets updated then this should be the #1 improvement to make. Althought USB to serial adapters are inexpensive, I'm not thrilled by the idea of buying yet another gadget just for MiniPOV.

As for some your other kits like SpokePOV and TV-B-Gone it'd be nice to make them reprogrammable directly through USB, but not having USB capable AVRs in DIP packages could make this a bad idea for starters since SOIC is the friendliest package for USB capable AVRs.

Thanks and keep it up!

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Re: Converting several Adafruit kits to USB

by adafruit on Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:19 pm

we have some ideas for how to USB-ify the minipov kit but for the spokepov kit, the usb adapter works pretty well. for TVBgone, nearly everyone just uses it as is and is quite happy

the aim of our kits is to teach soldering and basic electronics. that means we use THM parts when possible

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Re: Converting several Adafruit kits to USB

by tastewar on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:19 am

Specifically for the MiniPOV, I came across the http://mightyohm.com/ICSPOV which if you have bought the USBtinyISP is a great solution. I tried and tried with the USB->Serial dongle I already had, but the forum is rife with examples of how trying it can be to get those to work.

I can understand not wanting to complicate simple kits with the additional circuitry (& cost!) needed for USB connectivity, but it would be worthwhile IMO to standardize on connectivity via USBtinyISP or similar. Or given that most all of your kits come with socketed uC's, perhaps there's a simple programmer with a ZIF socket that could be made? Is the pinout on all the AVR's similar enough to allow such a thing? Or is it better to just build in the programming circuitry and ISP header? I dunno...

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