On the second-to-last weekend, our member @dop3j0e combined the wonders of Atmel microcontrollers, USB and surface-mount soldering in a workshop where participants could assemble their own development board based on Atmel’s ATmega32U4 microcontroller: 32K flash, 2.5K RAM, 1K EEPROM, 16MHz and an integrated USB controller.
Over the weekend, two groups of four participants each, who had never before soldered SMD, tried their luck under @dop3j0e’s watchful eyes after a detailed introduction into the basic methods and tricks.
Sadly, the number of participants had to be reduced because @dop3j0e had less parts in stock than expected, but that turned out to be a blessing since the workshop took more than twice the alotted time on both days. Hard-to-solder copper surfaces (note to self: don’t use that old chemical tinning next time), lifted pads and traces, accidental shorts and several wrongly placed parts all took their toll on time, but with patience and persistence, @dop3j0e helped all participants find and fix the problems with their individual boards, so that everyone could walk home with a working Atmel development platform. One participant had to leave before his board could be fully fixed, but hope is not lost on him — he’ll be back =)
With the overwhelming demand for this workshop and all the experience made during this first iteration, there will be a second iteration soon, this time with professionally manufactured PCBs and definitely enough parts for everyone