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.