Magic Blue Demons and Testing a SMD ATmega in a breadboard

I apologize if this is getting too technical too quickly; but it’s what I’ve got for you (and, if you’ve managed to find this post it means you probably need it). I promise it’s a quickie.

Recently I acquired one of these awesome things:

It allows you to temporarily use a tiny square 44-pin surface mount microchip (qfp ATmega32U4 in my case) in use it in a breadboard to make sure you have everything like the multiple Vcc’s properly decoupled, etc. Also, I mean, just look at that:


Isn’t it just cool!? (It also makes a pretty satisfying *click* 😀)

But, I digress. Full of excitement, I wired up a simple regulated power and ISP circuit – nothing can go wrong! – plug in the 12V source and *POOF*

The magic blue demons got out. 😦

AS IT TURNS OUT, my assumption that “pin 1” marked on board would correspond with “pin 1” on the chip was absolutely ludicrous.
After googling around for a while, I couldn’t come up with a datasheet that showed the proper pin-mapping; so, I broke out the old multimeter continuity probe and made one!

1020160051As it turns out, in the aligned orientation, “pin 1” on the chip corresponds to the much more sensical “pin 7” and “pin 1” on the package (the pin on the top left corner) corresponds to a pin on the middle of an edge on the chip (“pin 39”) -exactly where no manufacturers begin their numbering scheme. Brilliant, I say!

Hopefully this was helpful to you if you, like me, were looking around for a drawing of how the pin map for this test-socket actually worked. If not, maybe you’ve learned something to lookout for in the future. And if nothing else, maybe I’ve helped you proscrastinate successfully 😀




while(i<2){ "Hello World"; } i++

First off, let’s begin with the casual: “Hello”. My name’s Connor. It’s nice to have you as a reader on this blog that is yet to realize its true form.

This blog is a project I have been wanting to start up (and, in fact, have begun to) for many years now. Going forward, I’m not sure what form it will take, but I hope I can make it a good one. Looking back at the various attempts I have made at this in the past, in the form of a few public posts and many unpublished drafts, one thing seems clear, I wanted this to be a structured yet free dumping ground of anything I make that someone might find useful. (How anyone could find use in a 3D-printer spool holder made from a water bottle and duct-tape, described in my linguistically creative but nonetheless broken English I do not know.)

My previous attempts have all failed because I either wanted absolutely no shackles (or proof-reading, or good-judgement for that matter, as can be seen in my first post which I leave up as a form of terribly self deprecating humor) OR wanted to create such high-quality lessons that there was never a chance I would finish the posts to my satisfaction in my spare time.

So! What should you expect to see here, dear single reader, who is most probably reading this post, half-asleep, late at night, so far in the future that you have a much better grasp on what my content will be than I. Well I’ll tell you!

  1. I encounter a lot of potentially useful lessons [read: “failures”] in a week, and I’m going to endeavor to post at least one of them every week.
  2. In addition to being enrolled in university and running a start-up, I have quite a number of side projects, details of which I will post here on the regular. I believe heavily in the open-source community and it’s time I start pulling my weight!
  3. Also, I’m involved in some research on prostheses, I hope to post quick notes any developments therein to this blog so that others (in communities such as eNABLE) may make use of them before I get around to publishing.
  4. Remember that company I mentioned wayyy back in #2. We’re currently working on developing a hardware product (premiering at CES 2017!) and all of it will be made open source. In addition, the start-up scene can be a tense one at times, especially with legal and economical considerations (everyone’s favorite!) looming overhead all the time. So, any lessons from the launch process will be shared!
  5. I am quite prone to musings of the linguistic and astrophysical variety but often lack anyone to share it with; so, perhaps they will end up here.

As you can probably tell from the above, I have my hand in a lot of different fields and am  not quite sure who I am in terms any one interest; but what I do know is that I enjoy -nay love- learning anything I can, no matter how practically useless it may seem (racking up them skill points!). If this seems like you, and you could use a topping up of some knowledge

XP, then join me as I journey into ever fleeing polymathy*!



*also memes, lots of crispy memes.