Monthly Archives: august 2012

Arduino Leonardo

Just got my hands on an Arduino Leonardo from I’m a little excited about it,and ill tell you why.
if you have no idea what an arduino is then look at this first.
The first thing i noticed when i opened its box was the size. here is what the old Arduino Uno looked like from the side:

And this is the new Leonardo:

Most of the size difference comes from leaving out the DC power socket (on the right) and replacing the big clunky USB plug with a tiny micro USB connector. But another factor (and perhaps a bit more important) is the fact that they switched the old Atmega328 chip:

with the relatively tiny surface-mount ATmega32U4:

And this new chip is the part that is more exciting to me. The old Arduinos used to have 2 microcontrollers on the board. One Atmega328 witch is the one tou programmed, and a second microcontroller that took care of the USB communication with a computer. The Leonardo as you can see below has only one microcontroller as you can see:

The same chip that runs all the code you write, is also responsable the USB communication. This means that you can change the way that the Arduino talks to the Computer and make it appear as a keyboard or a mouse or even a MIDI device!

Not only is the new Leonardo better in most respects but its actually cheaper too. This is because the people behind the arduino arent out to get stinking rich at your expence and production of the new board is of course cheaper now that they dont need the second microcontroller.

the only drawback is that the tiny surface mounted microcontroller is a little harder to solder by yourself when you want to build something from scratch. That being said i’ve seen alot of people doing it, and making it look easy, so i have ordered a few extra ATmega32U chips and i’ll try my hand at it myself.

ill make something gnarly soon, in the meantime i honestly think you should check out ROBONOR who sendt me this. They are the kind of shop that sells the kind of the people like me kind of like. And it’s definately a breath of fresh air to have a shop like this in norway.