ToyBrain Boards Arrived

The ToyBrain boards arrived. I have populated four of them with programming headers and microcontrollers. Two have ATMega8 chips, the other two have ATMega48 chips that I salvaged from some thermostats that I found.

I haven’t bothered fully populating the boards because I want to check that the ICSP headers are working by burning the Arduino bootloader to the chips, and that the serial headers are working by loading a program from the Arduino IDE.

Assuming that I haven’t miss-designed the circuit boards or baked the chips while soldering them, this will provide a smoke-test for the computer side of the boards. I still need to get a bunch of SN754410NE quad half-H-Bridge motor driver chips to handle the output side.

So far, I’ve come up with quite a few applications for the little boards:

  • Re-animating gutted toys with new programming
  • Controlling a single stepper motor with step/direction signals and limit switches
  • Driving up to 4 channels of medium-current LED lights (RGB plus white?)
  • Making loud noises by using the quad half H-bridges as push-pull speaker drivers
  • Solenoid drivers and control hardware for chimes

I’m very eager to get a few of the boards out to beta testers and see what other people come up with.