$3 Arduino? Possible! Holly Molly Chinese AVR clones are coming – meet LGT8F88A MAVR core processor


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Yesteday I read interesting blog post at CNX-Soft blog about new Arduino clone which sells for $8, so far nothing new, you can’t beat Chinese in prices or post shipping rates.

What was really interesting for me though is that it uses Chinese AVR clone instead of ATMega32U4 or ATMega328.

The company behind this clone is called Logic Green and it uses MAVR (hahaha) processor core for these chips.

The features are humble 8K Flash, 1K RAM, 504B EEPROM, they say it works from 1.8 to 5.0V and supports up to 32Mhz clock which beats normal AVRs, but with the Chinese specs there is always catch, you can never believe them until you test as normal AVRs can be also overclocked to 50Mhz but it is not safe to use them at such frequencies and Atmel will never publish specs which are not throughly tested.

Reading the data on the web site I understand that with their aim to “improve” this chip they made some instructions to execute faster than in the normal AVR which will lead to software incompatibilities when your code depend on tight timings.

So Adruino based on this clone chip may or may not work completely as basically these chips run code with different timing. Of course it’s possible to go through all libraries and update timing etc but I doubt the Chinese Arduino vendor will bother to do this.

Brief check on the price of LGT8F88A through Chinese sources shows $0.60, so if they have used Monocleus bootloader as on Tiny85 instead of separate USB-RS232 bridge CP2102 they may came up with $3 Arduino made just with LGT8F88A🙂 of course the bootloader will probably not work out of the box due to the different timing.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michal
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:27:29

    Reply

  2. David
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 12:23:47

    Hmmm…The Iteaduino is using a 16MHz clock just like an Arduino Uno. I don’t understand how they could “improve” the Chinese AVR clone by “making instructions execute faster”. The AVR’s are RISC processors; all but a few instructions execute in one clock cycle.

    Reply

  3. funlw65
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 13:59:47

    I wouldn’t care about Arduino compatibility (AVR means more than a poor Arduino clone/ecosystem). If we have a compatible AVR alternative (supported by gcc) at lower prices, then is fantastic. I see fuses are simplified and beginner proof. Many of them are configured in software, like PICs.

    Only two pins for power is also a plus if that does not negatively affect the ADC peripheral. Being a 5V controller is also a big plus for me. I wish them success. As a big minus, no DIP capsule😦

    Reply

  4. dpa2007
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 14:06:49

    Reblogged this on dpa2007.

    Reply

  5. funlw65
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 14:12:46

    MAVR = Mandarin AVR ?😛

    Reply

  6. ast
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 14:50:17

    I don’t even care about AVR. If there’s a new controller with AVR’s programmability (usbasp, possibly also bootloaders) and chinese delivery and availability, that would be quite a thing.

    Funnily it’s AVR chips like MEGA8 that are available from chinese sellers while most other controllers are impossible to buy in small quantities without massive price/delivery premiums.

    Reply

  7. David
    May 11, 2014 @ 16:26:22

    Here is fuller documentation of differences, all sound good: http://www.lgtic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/migrating_from_atmega88_to_lgt8f88a_v1.0.pdf

    Reply

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