Thursday, August 18, 2016

Atmel-ICE Durability Upgrade

I have bought Atmel-ICE for playing with AVR chips at home. I am using the same device at work for two years. Works flawlessly, but there are two big problems with this device, both mechanical:
  1.  It has 2x5 1.27mm pitch connectors for AVR and SAM chips. Atmel supplies connector cables if you buy full package but those are too fragile for my taste. Also they are lacking standard 2x3 and 2x5 2.57mm connectors found on most Arduinos.
  2. The USB connector is simply soldered on the board. No additional mechanical strengthening. Connector on my device at work has been broken off after an year of careful use.
So I bought a plain Atmel-ICE PCB, without useless cables and case and made a little durability upgrade from the very beginning. 

The 1.27mm pitch connector cables are relatively expensive. So I have bought 2x5 1.27mm female connector and made an adapter out of old IDE connector cable from PC and plain 2.57mm 2x5 female connector. 

The adapter is connected to a standard 2x3 SPI/PDI/dWire connector and 2x5 JTAG connectors.

The USB part is also made from spare USB connectors and old IDE cable from PC. I found Type-B cables more durable, so I have made micro to Type-B connector and soldered the latter directly on the prototype board. Hopefully I will not need to unplug the fragile micro-USB from the PCB.

Works fine meanwhile. 

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