Tag Archives: ATxmega32A4U

This may be the most elegant e-bike ever

Faraday Cortland is the ultimate electric bike to power your commute in style.

Biking to work has its perks. It helps reduce gas emissions in the environment, sometimes it’s faster than public transportation and it’s cost effective. The only downside is arriving to the office dripping in sweat. A small San Francisco-based team has created a solution to your commute with a bike that lets you ride in style and with ease — sweat-free.


All familiar to the hills of San Francisco, Adam Vollmer and his team wanted to build a bike that is fast and easy to ride in dense urban areas without riders breaking a sweat. With that in mind, they created Faraday Cortland, an elegant electric bicycle that doesn’t sacrifice the looks, feel and experience of bike riding.

The Faraday Cortland builds on the team’s award-winning design of the classic Porteur. This step-through bike has a higher capacity battery for 25 miles of assisted riding, updated software and a more efficient motor. Despite it being an electric bike, the Cortland maintains the look of a classically designed bike and weighs only 40 pounds, making it easy to mount and dismount. Cortland has a built-in LED headlight and taillight, perfect for riding at night especially after a long day at work. This bike is great for leisure riding on the weekends and is family-friendly with its child-seat compatible rear rack and front rack for groceries.


Like its namesake Michael Faraday, inventor of the electric motor, the Faraday Cortland operates on a powerful 250W motor, with a 350W peak. With an ATxmega32A4U at its heart, this set of wheels runs on a custom 43V, 290Wh removable Panasonic lithium-ion battery pack and the handle bar has a display to show battery life. It boasts a maintenance free drive train, consisting of a Shimano Alfine internally eight-speed geared hub and Gates carbon fiber belt drive, eliminating the possibility of getting grease stains on your clothes. The Cortland is an elegant bike, but tough. The body is a durable steel frame and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes for a smooth ride and bamboo fenders to keep the rider dry.

The Faraday team is also offering add-ons such as an auxiliary battery pack to double the Cortland’s range to over 40 miles, a GPS tracking device and an app for ride track and route mapping.


Ready to conquer your commute sweat-free? Head over to the Faraday Cortland’s Kickstarter page, where Adam and his crew are well above their $100,000 goal. In making things even more simple, bikes will be delivered fully assembled, no bike mechanic needed. Shipments are slated for July 2016, just in time for summer.

A device that lets you work on your fitness while gaming

Great news, gamers! You no longer need to sacrifice your health and fitness during all-night gaming binges. Thanks to Daniel Åkesson, you can level up all while staying fit! Though we’ve seen recent innovations that have let you bleed every time your character bleeds, this Maker has introduced a much less invasive way to immerse yourself in a game.


Aptly dubbed TreadGaming, the mini device transforms your treadmill (or exercise bike) into a real-time gamepad and joystick over USB connection.


Powered by an ATXmega32A4U MCU, TreadGaming features 32KB flash memory, 4K SRAM 1KB EEPROM, an ADNS 9500/9800 laser sensor, four LEDs (red, green, blue and yellow), three buttons (flash firmware, reset and miscellaneous), a Nordic Semiconductor nRF24L01 as well as a mini USB. Each of these parts are housed in a 3D-printed case.


The Maker reveals that updating its firmware is as simple as pressing two buttons. In addition, the device features two slots for a pair of Wii nunchucks, which enable a user to take total control of the game without any other necessary components.


“I put extra effort making the games completely playable with this setup by utilizing everything on the Wii Nunchuck and updating the firmware with additional functionality where needed. For example, trigger a button when I walk faster than what my calibrated max speed on the treadmill is,” Åkesson writes.


In order to calibrate the game, users simply need to place the unit on a moving surface and briskly walk at the pace that the game should interpret as the maximum speed. Once done, you’re ready to play!

Interested in learning more? Hurry on over to its official Kickstarter page, where Åkesson is currently seeking kr22,500.

ATxmega32A4U powers heatsink tester

Bogdan Raducanu – aka Electro Bob – recently completed a “heatsink tester” built around Atmel’s versatile ATxmega32A4U microcontroller (MCU).

“The device works in a simple way: a specific power is dissipated on a transistor while a DS18s20 temperature sensor measures the temperature on the heatsink as close as possible to the transistor,” Raducanu explained in a recent blog post.

 “The circuit uses a serial connection and is controlled via the terminal. A few preset values are available for the power to be dissipated.”

As noted above, the MCU at the center of the project is Atmel’s  ATxmega32A4U, which calculates the thermal resistance of the heatsink, assuming it is hovering at ambient temperature. Meaning, the circuit needs to run until the temperature of the heatsink stabilizes to a new value.

“I am using a small board I designed for another project and another proto board which contains a current sensing resistor and a voltage divider to measure the supply,” he continued. 

”A TL431 is used as a 2.5V reference. The circuit uses two supplies, one for the micro which also contains a 3.3V LDO and one for the dissipating transistor.”

According to Raducanu, an IRL540 transistor was chosen as the dissipating element due to its low threshold value.

“This is necessary to allow driving from a 3.3V DAC, considering the voltage drop on the current sensing resistor as well. This was chosen as 0.1 ohm, which corresponds to about 0.25V of drop while dissipating 50W from a 19V supply,” he added.

Raducanu says his open source software package is fairly basic – allowing for a few very simple functions. More specifically, data is relayed via the serial port and can be viewed in a terminal. Generated information includes the supply voltage, current, calculated power, DAC set, temperature and thermal resistance.

So what’s next for the heatsink tester? Well, Raducanu wants a dedicated PCB for the subsequent iteration, along with an LCD, PC app and a case.

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