The ATXMega32E5 is the next step up for those experienced with the AVR series of microcontrollers from Microchip (formerly Atmel). They use the same compilers and libraries as the rest of the AVR 8- and 16-bit families, but they can run at 32 MHz and have an amazingly powerful set of internal peripherals that can take your projects to the next level and beyond.
For prototyping, however, the disadvantage is that the XMega chips are not available as through-hole parts. That's where this breakout board comes into play.
Instead of simply being a generic breakout for a TQFP-32 chip, this breakout board is specially designed for this particular part. The port pins are broken out in order, which makes it easy to count pins down the side. In addition, the pin layout is marked on the bottom silkscreen. Ports A, C and D are broken out fully, along with a single pin each for power and ground (there are bypass caps on the board for the two Vcc pins on the chip) and the two PDI programming pins. Also, there is a footprint on the board for the standard 2x3 PDI interface. The two pins for port R are not broken out, however, there is a 32.768 kHz crystal and loading caps on the board allowing you to use the RTC unit or discipline the 32 MHz oscillator with the crystal as an external reference.
The board is the same size as a standard 28 pin DIP - .7" x 1.4" with .1" pin spacing BSC (0.6" pin width pin spacing BSC). The board comes with the two 14 pin SIP headers for each side, but they're unattached so you can choose which way you want them to go (if you mount the board upside down, you can see the silkscreen pin IDs, but the PDI footprint will be backwards). The PDI header is unpopulated - you can use a pogo pin adapter or mount your own 2x3 header (or leave it unpopulated and use the broken-out PDI pins instead).
The chip comes with a test program loaded that toggles C0 at 1 Hz. You must use a PDI programmer to load other code into the chip. Note also that the XMega chips are not 5 volt tolerant - 3.3 volts is the maximum supply or I/O voltage.
The XMega series of chips is an amazingly powerful upgrade from their ATMega predecessors. I wanted to make it easy for people to get started with them.
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I design and build small, useful electronic things. I started in 2013 after leasing an electric car and deciding that I could build my own charging station. Since then, I've gone on to design lots of things to fill particular needs.
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