Protostack has a winner on its hands with the ATmega32A Development Kit. The microcontroller featured in this kit has ample program memory for even the most code-heavy DIY projects. With all of the extra prototyping space and stackability, only the sky is the limit to what you can put together with this board. The extra I/O that you gain from the 40-pin chip will definitely come in handy in some of my upcoming projects as well.
The fact that Protostack includes a power supply on this board is a major plus for me as I have yet to dive in and purchase a proper bench-top power supply. My only drawback to this board and Protostack's other projects is the lack of an on-board USB to UART converter. This could be solved by adding solder pads for a FTDI FT232RL USB -UART chip as well as pads and holes for the supporting circuitry. That said, I do fully understand why Protostack chose to leave these components out. The FTDI chip is only available in surface-mount packages, and for some customers that may be a tough soldering task. Someone like me would have no issues soldering on one, and I feel that those who may feel that it is too tough of a task could continue to use the 10-pin ISP header as they normally would.
All in all I am quite pleased with the kit, and I already have plans to use it in an upcoming project that involves Halloween animatronics for next year. Daniel and Protostack have done an excellent job designing a development kit around the ATmega 32U microcontroller, and have gone above and beyond in extra features. With the kit retailing for just $22.85 there is no reason for any maker not to own at least one of these kits. The lack of on-board USB to UART conversion will set you back another $18 for a USBASP programmer, but I see that as an investment in which I will use over and over throughout the years.
Some images used in this review have been provided by Protostack.com.
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