Now that we have the board built, let's take a closer look at its features. Looking at the populated side of the board we will notice the power supply circuit as well as the reset region and programming ports. The power supply can receive input in several different ways, including a CR232 battery holder, JST connector, screw terminals, or a DC barrel jack that comes with the kit. Programming can be accomplished via the supplied 10-pin ISP port or via the 6-pin ISP ports that will need to be populated with header pins. In this section of the board we also see the AVCC Block, LED power indicator, and the External Timer.
Also located in this half of the board are the port headers that have not been broken out. The user is left to decide whether he would like to populate with male or female headers, or if they would like to straight wire to the prototyping area.
Moving over to the other half of the board we find what makes this board special. Protostack's development boards feature the largest prototyping areas of any development board I have ever seen. The area functions much like a breadboard does, in that strips of six holes are connected to each other, allowing up to five separate connections to the same component lead. The board features 80 of these strips that are surrounded by power and ground rails. The holes are drilled on a standard .100 pattern for compatibility with all DIP and most through-hole packages. You will notice that each of the board's microcontroller ports also features this strip design.
Around the edge of the board is the same power and ground rails that connect everything else, and also 3-hole strips. These holes are designed to be populated with board-to-board connectors which allow for efficient stacking of multiple boards. All of Protostack's development and prototyping boards feature these 3-hole strips for maximum compatibility. Additionally, you will notice six large holes spaced evenly on the edges of the PCB. These holes are designed to work with standard PCB stand-offs and provide both structural support and mounting points when stacking and placing the boards in projects.
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