Tag Archives: game controllers

Up close and personal with Atmel’s SAM4L Xplained Pro

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s SAM4L is quite the versatile microcontroller (MCU), as it can be used to power a wide range of devices including glucose meters, game controllers, thermostats and remote process control nodes.


“Essentially, Atmel’s SAM4L lineup of MCUs redefine the power benchmark for Cortex-M4 processor-based devices, delivering the lowest power in active mode (down to 90µA/MHz) as well as sleep mode with full RAM retention (1.5µA) with the shortest wake-up time (down to 1.5µs),” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“Embedding Atmel picoPower technology, the SAM4L family provides highly efficient signal processing, ease of use and high-speed communication peripherals – all ideal for power-sensitive designs in the industrial, healthcare and consumer application areas.”

To accelerate development with the SAM4L, Atmel offers the SAM4L Xplained Pro, a hardware-based platform that allows engineers to more easily evaluate the ARM-powered SAM4LC4 MCU. Supported by the Atmel Studio integrated development platform, the kit provides easy access to various SAM4L features and explains how to integrate the device in a customer design. Like other Atmel Xplained Pro evaluation kits, the SAM4L Xplained Pro is capable of significantly expanding its original functionality by linking to additional Xplained Pro extension kits.

For a complete and ready to go package, engineers can also check out the ATSAM4L-XSTK starter kit, which is packaged with Atmel’s I/O1 Xplained Pro, OLED1 Xplained Pro, PROTO1 Xplained Pro and SLCD1 Xplained Pro extension boards.

Key SAM4L Xplained Pro specs include:

  • SAM4LC4 microcontroller
  • One mechanical reset button
  • One mechanical user pushbutton (wake-up, bootloader entry or general purpose)
  • One QTouch button
  • One yellow user LED
  • USB interface, host and device function (shared physical interface)
  • 32.768kHz crystal
  • 12MHz crystal
  • 4 Xplained Pro extension headers
  • One custom extension header for segment LCD displays
  • LDO/Buck regulator mode selection
  • LCD cluster power configuration option
  • Embedded Debugger
  • Auto-ID for board identification in Atmel Studio 6.1
  • One yellow status LED
  • One green board power LED
  • Symbolic debug of complex data types including scope information
  • Programming
  • Data Gateway Interface: USART, TWI, 4 GPIOs
  • Virtual COM port (CDC)
  • USB powered
  • Supported with application examples in Atmel Software Framework

The SAM4L Xplained Pro can be purchased here from Atmel’s store.

Atmel-powered Arduinos in action!

In recent months, Bits & Pieces has introduced our readers to numerous technical books related to Atmel-powered Arduinos. So far, we’ve taken a closer look at “Arduino Robot Bonanza,”Arduino and Lego Projects,” “Arduino Workshop: A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects,” “Practical AVR Microcontrollers” and “Exploring Arduino: Tools and Techniques for Engineering Wizardry.”


And today we’re going to talking about “Arduino in Action,” a book written by Martin Evans, Joshua Noble and Jordan Hochenbaum. According to the tech trio, the title offers readers a hands-on guide to prototyping and building electronics with everyone’s favorite platform.

“Suitable for both beginners and advanced users, this easy-to-follow book begins with the basics and then systematically guides you through projects ranging from your first blinking LED through connecting Arduino to devices like game controllers or your [smart]phone,” Evans, Noble and Hochenbaum explained in an official Amazon synopsis.

“[The book] is a hands-on guide to prototyping and building DIY electronics. Progressively more complex projects [are presented] as you connect Arduino to motors, LCD displays, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. [For example], you’ll explore input/output sensors, including ultrasound, infrared, and light, and then use them for tasks like robotic obstacle avoidance.”

A full chapter breakdown is as follows:

  • Chapter 1 Hello Arduino
  • Chapter 2 Digital input and output
  • Chapter 3 Simple projects: input and output
  • Chapter 4 Extending Arduino
  • Chapter 5 Arduino in motion
  • Chapter 6 Object detection
  • Chapter 7 LCD displays
  • Chapter 8 Communications
  • Chapter 9 Game on
  • Chapter 10 Integrating the Arduino with iOS
  • Chapter 11 Making wearables
  • Chapter 12 Adding shields
  • Chapter 13 Software integration

It should be noted that purchase of the print book includes a free eBook in PDF, Kindle and ePub formats from Manning Publications.

“Arduino in Action,” written by Martin Evans, Joshua Noble and Jordan Hochenbaum, is currently available on Amazon (Prime) for $26.10.