ATmega32U4 + Raspberry Pi Zero Form Factor = ATMegaZero!

Eddie Espinal's board boasts microSD, OLED display port, ESP8266 ESP-01 header for Wi-Fi, and more. Now on Hackster Launch!

Ish Ot Jr.
10 months ago

The Raspberry Pi Zero launched as the first computer ever given away for free on the front of a magazine, and its low cost and small size revolutionized the applications for which the platform could be used. Arduino themselves and other third parties have produced many small form factor Arduino-compatible boards, but most are stripped down to the point of just being a breakout for the microcontroller, and are not compatible with standard shields and other platform niceties. Eddie Espinal decided to meet both of these worlds half way, with his new ATMegaZero board.

The ATMegaZero gets its name from the fact that it is based around the 8-bit Microchip (née Atmel) ATmega32U4 microcontroller — the same chip used in the 2012 Arduino Leonardo board. Unlike the standard 32-pin Arduino headers found on shield-compatible boards, the ATMegaZero mimics the 40-pin header found on the Pi Zero and other modern Raspberry Pis. The pinout even mirrors that of the Pi as much as is feasible:

Similar to the Raspberry Pi Zero, a microSD card holder can be found near the lower pins of the large header, providing on-board storage. On the opposite end of the board, what may appear at first glance to be a camera connector, like that found in this area of a Pi Zero, is in fact a 32-pin OLED display port. Interestingly, the board includes an 8-pin header for mounting an ESP8266 ESP-01 module, adding Wi-Fi to the overall feature set. Although not listed in promotional materials, schematic analysis suggests a 6-pin ISP header, and a reset button.

A look at its key features:

  • ATmega32U4 microcontroller running at 16MHz with 32KB Flash, 2.5KB SRAM, 1KB EEPROM
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi-inspired GPIO header
  • ESP8266 ESP-01 header with GPIO access
  • UART/SPI/I2C
  • microSD card
  • 32-pin OLED display port (compatible with 30-pin SSD1306 and SSD1331)
  • 5V operating voltage
  • 2.6" x 1.2" (65mm x 30mm)
  • 1.5 oz
  • Works out of the box with the Arduino IDE (Windows/macOS/Linux)

The ATMegaZero is now available as part of the Hackster Launch program on GroupGets, priced at $24.99.

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