Tag Archives: ATMega16

ATmega16 MCU powers Oktopod dev platform

Oktopod Studio is an open source development platform for mechatronics, robotics and automation.

The platform – which is powered by Atmel’s ATmega16 micrcontroller (MCU) – allows Makers to more easily create low voltage electronic devices, models and home applications.

“We designed Oktopod Studio to be as user friendly as possible, [as it] features plug-and-play analog outputs, digital inputs, DC and Servo motor drivers [as well as a] graphical user interface for PC and Andriod devices,” an Oktopod rep explained.

“You don’t need to be a programmer or an electronic expert to use Oktopod Studio and make your own robotic projects.”

The Oktopod platform consists of two primary components linked via Bluetooth or USB:

  • Hardware – Oktopod Board
  • Software – Oktopod Control App

The Oktopod Board offers Makers a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), along with plug and play inputs and outputs for connecting a wide range of low voltage electronic devices, including LED lights, DC/servo motors, buzzers, electromagnets, switches, as well as photo-, thermo- and magnetic sensors.

Aside from Atmel’s ATmega16 MCU, key hardware specs include:


8x Analog output (up to 3A)
  • 2x DC motor driver
  • 3x Servo motor driver
  • 4x Digital inputs
  • USB/Bluetooth communication module
  • Power supply input 6-12 V (reverse polarity protected), on-board 3A fuse

In terms of software, the Oktopod Control app (PC and Android) allows Makers to assume manual control of the hardware via sliders and buttons.


Meanwhile, the board is programmed by creating a so-called “wishList” of output operations using an intuitive virtual dashboard.

Interested in learning more about the ATmega16-powered Oktopod? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Video: ATmega16 powers this floppy disk jukebox

The earliest floppy disks – developed in the late 1960s – measured 8 inches (200 mm) in diameter and first became commercially available in 1971.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

However, it wasn’t long before the 5¼ inch format displaced its 8-inch one predecessor for most applications, before itself being supplanted by 31⁄2-inch disks. 

According to Wikipedia, the advantages of the ubiquitous 3 1⁄2-inch disk were its smaller size and plastic case which provided improved protection from dust and other environmental risks.

Granted, it’s been quite a while since most of us have seen a floppy disc, especially in an age when DVDs and CDs are already perceived as quite dated. Yet, one can’t help being overcome by a wave of nostalgia when coming across a project utilizing the retired medium. 

Kiu’s (Simon Schoar) RumbleRail is one such example. As HackADay’s Brian Benchoff notes, the engineering and design quality that went into the build puts the device in a class by itself.

“Instead of the usual assemblage of wires, power cords and circuits that accompany most musical floppy drive builds, Kiu‘s is an exercise in precision and modularity,” he explained. “Each of the eight floppy drives are connected to its own driver with Atmel’s ATmega16 microcontroller (MCU) on board.”

More specifically, each floppy is driven by an ATmega16A-AU, while the “heavy lifting” of decoding MIDI files and driving the display is executed by an ATmega1284P-AU.

“The microcontrollers in these driver boards receive orders from the command board over an I2C bus,” Benchoff continued. “Since everything on the RumbleRail is modular, and the fact Kiu is using DIP switches to set the I2C address of each board, this build could theoretically be expanded to 127 voices, or 127 individual floppy drives each playing their part of a MIDI file.”

The RumbleRail is more than capable of operating in standalone mode without a PC. Indeed, MIDI files are loaded from an SD card and decoded by the main controller board.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Atmel’s ATMega16 powers this hard disk clock

A Maker by the name of Martin Stromer has designed a slick Atmel-powered (ATMega16) Hard Disk Clock.

Mad props to Martin for sharing this nostalgic project with the HackADay crew and the rest of the wider world. Some of us still can’t get over the massive size of the hard drive, which appears to be well over 20 years old with a limited capacity of only a few dozen megabytes. This definitely takes us back to the golden years of ASCII art, bulletin boards (Renegade & Wildcat), door games like Solar Realms Elite, CRTs and headache-inducing CGA displays.

So how does the clock work? Well, according to HackADay’s James Hobson, the platter reads the time by rotating 30 degrees at once, per hour.

“The read-write head inches across the disc to display the minutes. Each of the black lines represents a quarter hour,” writes Hobson.

“The whole thing is controlled by an ATMega16, which maintains almost all of the original hardware. Did we mention it’s also easy to set the time? Simply rotate the disc by hand and slide the read-write head into place, then press the reset button.”

As Hobson notes, the ATMega16-powered hard disk clock illustrates how old electronic equipment such as retired HDDs can be transformed into something useful. Additional examples covered by HackADay include hard disk grinders, hard disk DJ scratch pads and even a cotton candy spinner.

Interested in learning more about the HDD clock? You can check out the project’s page here.