The A-Star 32U4 Mini SV is a programmable module based on the ATmega32U4 from Atmel. Unlike competing products, it has an onboard switching step-down regulator that allows it to be powered efficiently from a 5 V to 36 V supply. This compact 1.9″ × 0.7″ board breaks out all 26 of the microcontroller’s I/O pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), and loading programs is made easier by a Micro-USB interface and a preloaded Arduino-compatible bootloader.
The Pololu A-Star 32U4 Mini boards are general-purpose programmable modules based on Atmel’s ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller, which has 32 KB of flash program memory, 2.5 KB of RAM, and built-in USB functionality. The A-Star (abbreviated A*) adds a number of onboard features to support the microcontroller and make it easier to work with, including a 16 MHz crystal, a USB Micro-B connector, an in-system programming (ISP) header, a reset button, and three indicator LEDs.
Each A-Star 32U4 Mini contains a switching regulator that efficiently produces 5 V from an external voltage source to power the microcontroller.
A robust power selection circuit enables seamless transitions between regulator power and USB power, and overcurrent and reverse-voltage protection help safeguard the board against accidental damage.
All 26 general-purpose I/O lines on the ATmega32U4 are accessible on the A* 32U4 Mini; 7 of these are usable as PWM outputs and 12 are usable as analog inputs. The board measures 1.9″ × 0.7″, the same size as an Arduino Micro, and features a pair of mounting holes sized for #2 or M2 screws (not included). Its 0.1″ pin spacing makes the A* easy to use with solderless breadboards, perfboards, and 0.1″-pitch connectors.
Our comprehensive user’s guide provides the basics you need to get started with the A-Star as well as detailed technical information for advanced users.
- Dimensions: 1.9″ × 0.7″ (1.95″ × 0.7″ including USB Micro-B connector)
- Programmable 16 MHz Atmel ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller
- 32 KB flash (4 KB used by bootloader, leaving 28 KB available for user program by default)
- 2.5 KB SRAM
- 1 KB EEPROM
- Native full-speed USB (12 Mbps)
- Preloaded with Arduino-compatible bootloader (no external programmer required)
- All I/O lines from the ATmega32U4 broken out in a compact package
- 26 general-purpose I/O pins available along the sides of the board
- 7 pins can be configured as hardware PWM outputs
- 12 pins can be configured as analog inputs
- 3 user-controllable LEDs
- Reset button
- Can be powered from USB or from an external source:
- ULV: 0.5 V to 5.5 V
- LV: 2.7 V to 11.8 V
- SV: 5 V to 36 V
- Switching regulator enables efficient low-power operation
- Power selection circuit with seamless switching between power sources and overcurrent protection
- Reverse-voltage protection on external power inputs
- Precision 16 MHz crystal
- 6-pin ISP header for use with an external programmer
- Comprehensive user’s guide
The A-Star’s components, including the microcontroller and LEDs, draw 30 mA to 40 mA in typical applications. The rest of the regulator’s achievable output current, which depends on input voltage as well as ambient conditions, can be used to power other devices. The right graph above shows output currents at which the voltage regulator’s over-temperature protection typically kicks in after a few seconds. These currents represent the limit of the regulator’s capability and cannot be sustained for long periods; a good estimate for the maximum continuous regulator output current is 60% to 70% of the values shown in the graph or 500 mA, whichever is lower (the regulator is not rated for operation above 500 mA).
The A-Star 32U4 ships with a preloaded Arduino-compatible bootloader (which uses 4 KB of flash memory, leaving 28 KB available for the user program). We provide a software add-on that enables the board to be easily programmed from the Arduino environment.
The A-Star 32U4 Mini boards use the same microcontroller as the Arduino Leonardo and Arduino Micro and run at the same frequency, and they are the same size as the Arduino Micro, but they offer a number of advantages over these other ATmega32U4-based boards. Most notably, their efficient switching regulators cover a wide range of input voltages, opening up new possibilities for powering projects built around Arduino-compatible microcontroller boards. Another advantage is the power selection circuit based on the TPS2113A power multiplexer from Texas Instruments, which allows safe, seamless power switching between USB and an external source without losses from passive components like fuses or diodes along with the ability to monitor and control the selected power source. Additionally, the A* 32U4 Mini breaks out a few additional pins from the ATmega32U4 microcontroller that are not exposed on the Arduino Micro or Leonardo, and it features larger, more convenient mounting holes than the Arduino Micro.
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