|Product Performed to Expectations:||8|
|Specifications were sufficient to design with:||10|
|Demo Software was of good quality:||10|
|Product was easy to use:||10|
|Support materials were available:||10|
|The price to performance ratio was good:||7|
|TotalScore:||55 / 60|
I just received the package in a good condition as usual, couldn't resist myself from opening it up.
That's our new baby, a Arduino Mega 2560 in a nice fancy box!
We have a note of thanks, some fancy stickers and the Mega.
What would make me happier than a piece of shiny new hardware, literally the board was shining, it was like a piece of art than a hardware.
The board is RoHS compliant and also has Zero Carbon footprint which is pretty awesome.
They are a provide you with a nice plastic back plate to protect your GPIOs from short circuits also it doesn't makes any scratches on your work table.
The Board has a USB Type B connector for Powering and Programming the board and a DC barrel Socket for powering a board, Arduino recommends a supply of 7 to 12V.
Apart from the bright board i like the markings over the headers,great from someone like me who mostly work in low light.
The MCU reset button has been moved near the USB Port which is great since resetting the board with shield on top was difficult over the older versions and you get one user definable Led connected to pin 13.
Diving into the board, it has two MCUs an atmega16u2 loaded with a firmware for USB to serial, you can upgrade the firmware using Atmel flip or the ISP header next to it.
The main MCU is the Atmega2560 an 8bit AVR running at a 16MHz, with a 256kb Flash memory(8kb utilized by the arduino bootloader) , 8kb SRAM and 4kb EEPROM.
Whats so special with this board?
This board is a killer not just with performance but with number of GPIOs you get for the same price, tho board has whopping 54 Digital IOs out of which you get one I2C, 4 Serial , and 15 8bit PWMs (Pin 44, 45, 46 are also PWM pins), not just with Digital IOs you also get 16, 10bit Analog inputs (Although I wasn't impressed where you could get chearper ARMs with 12bit ADC).
All GPIOs are 5V tolerant and would supply about 20mA. The MCU also has a 1 MIPS per MHz.
Also any UNO compatible shield can also be used over the board.
How to Program the board?
Installl the Arduino IDE
Well just plug in the board and start coding using the Arduino IDE, the Arduino bootloader takes care of the rest.
I loved the Arduino IDE and programming language although it was difficult at beginning I found a lot of examples preloaded into the IDE which gave a clear idea on the Routines.
Another added advantage is the community support all over the internet and those libraries and example which makes life easier even for a very uncommon component I could find a library written by someone.
On the other hand one program just works on any arduino supported boards. This might be contrast in some cases where libraries are written only for AVRs. You also have a Serial Monitor and a Serial Plotter which is again a great feature for debugging and analysis.
I tried a few simple projects to test the board.
Tried a breathing LED chased to test both GPIO's and PWM, it was running for a few minutes the MCU got heated than expected.
The Digital Pins were fast enough to run addressable LEDs
Used an I2C pulse sensor and OLED module
To be frank i barely wrote the codes, I found libraries for the components and modified them to my purpose, I could find libraries for almost 95% of the components around.
All those library out there actually saves a lot of time on your development process.
The board also supports "Software Serial" allowing us to create Additional Serial pins.
I accidentally dropped the board couple of times still it was intact. I see Arduino have changed the usual with 8pin headers with single straight row headers
Well its a great board, the programming language is really a great and simple one if you are not into coding stuffs. A basing programming skill is enough to program the chip.
Although I had memory issues while making a DAQ project where cheaper ARM boards were outperforming the Arduino Mega, but still something has to be lost to keep the balance, the huge number of GPIOs, simple programming language and a well developed community support is definitely worth the price and everything is clearly documented, from the IDE to the bootloader is open source
On my opinion I would spend a few more bucks to get a much powerful ARM based "Arduino Due" over the Mega, probably the only restriction will be the 3V3 Logic of the Due.
But still the Arduino Mega is great board for bigger projects! I actually fell in love with the hardware.