Tag Archives: STK600

The first-ever Rad Tolerant megaAVR is out of this world!


With billions of AVR chips already deployed throughout the world, it’s now time to take them into space!


This news may come as one small step for boards, one giant leap for Maker-kind: the ATmegaS128 has launched! Not only does Atmel’s first uC Rad Tolerant device share the popular features of the megaAVR family, this out-of-the-world MCU delivers full wafer lot traceability, 64-lead ceramic package (CQFP), space screening, space qualification according to QML and ESCC flow and total ionizing dose up to 30 Krad (Si) for space applications. What’s more, the ATMegaS128 is “latch up” immune thanks to a dedicated silicon process: SEL LET > 62.5Mev at 125°C, 8MHz/3.3V. SEU to heavy ions is estimated to 10-3 error/device/day for low Earth orbit applications.

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With billions of commercial AVR chips widely deployed throughout the world, the new space-grade AVR family benefits from support of the Atmel Studio ecosystem and lets aerospace developers to the industrial-version of the ATmega to prototype their applications for a fraction of the cost. The latest board is available in a ceramic hermetic packaging and is pin-to-pin and drop-in compatible with existing ATmega128 MCUs, allowing flexibility between commercial and qualified devices, enabling faster-time-to-market and minimizing development costs. With this cost-effective approach and a plastic Hirel-qualified version, the ATmegaS128 can be also considered in more general aerospace applications including class A and B avionic critical cases where radiation tolerance is also a key requirement.

“With nearly three decades of aerospace experience, we are thrilled to bring one of our most popular MCU cores to space — the AVR MCU,” explained Patrick Sauvage, General Manager of Atmel’s Aerospace Business Unit. “By improving radiation performance with our proven Atmel AVR cores and ecosystem, the new ATmegaS128 provides developers targeting space applications a smaller footprint, lower power and full analog integration such as motor and sensor control along with data handling functions for payload and platform. We look forward to putting more Atmel solutions into space.”

Among its notable features, the space-ready MCU boasts high endurance and non-volatile memory, robust peripherals (including 8- and 16-bit timers/counters, six PWM channels, 8-channel, 10-bit ADC, TWI/USARTs/SPI serial interface, programmable watchdog timer and on-chip analog compactor), power-on reset and programmable brown-out detection, internal calibrated RC oscillator, external and internal interrupt sources, six sleep modes, as well as power-down, standby and extended standby.

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The STK600 starter kit and development system for the ATmegaS128 will provide users a quick start in developing code on the AVR with advanced features for prototyping and testing new designs. The recently-revealed AVRs are supported by the proven Atmel Studio IDP for developing and debugging Atmel | SMART ARM-based and AVR MCU applications, along with the Atmel Software Framework. Intrigued? Check out the uC Rad Tolerant device here.

Yes, dev kits (AVR STK600) are trending

A recent Electronics Weekly article penned by Chris Sullivan of Premier Farnell confirms that development kits such as Atmel’s stalwart STK600 are becoming more and more popular outside of the professional engineer’s workspace.

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“Development kits have expanded in terms of their function and range of application, as well as their price point,” Sullivan explained. “Many manufacturers are now developing lower cost base boards and allowing users to choose which type of product or additional functionality they need by adding on accessory boards that are designed to ‘plug’ into the baseboard.”

So let’s take a closer look at Atmel’s trusty STK600. This versatile kit development system for 8-bit and 32-bit AVR microcontrollers (MCU) boasts advanced features for prototyping, allowing engineers and Makers to quickly begin developing AVR-based products.

“The AVR device connects to the STK600 using a routing and socketcard sandwich system which routes the signals from the device to the appropriate hardware,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “The system consists of a generic socketcard, on which the AVR device is inserted, and a device specific signal routing card, which routes the signals from the socket pins to the different functions on the STK600 main board dependent on the device.”

According to the engineering rep, this design significantly simplifies hardware setup when switching from one AVR device to another, since all connections from the device to the motherboard are determined by the routing card – a custom board for each device.

“Meaning, the routing system is purely passive; no electronic components route the signals, so all I/O pins are directly accessible on the connectors with no altering of the electrical behavior,” the engineering rep continued.

In addition, the kit offers access to all device pins, along with several useful hardware functions such as pushbuttons, LEDs, and dataflash to create a complete system for prototyping and testing new designs. Plus, free AVR Studio/AVR32 Studio allows devs and Makers to write and compile firmware in either Assembly or C (downloading the code to the target AVR device).

Last, but certainly not least, the board is equipped with an adjustable voltage supply and adjustable clock. As such, the VCC level and clock frequency can be adjusted on the fly from AVR Studio/AVR32 Studio, offering users the ability to test the performance at different voltage levels and clock frequencies with just the click of a button.

Interested? The STK600 can be ordered from Atmel’s official store here.