Robotic microcontroller programmer (with video)

Automated robotic microcontroller programmer
Anyone who’s read this blog for any amount of time knows that I love microcontrollers and projects made with them. Well, here’s a microcontroller project that creates more microcontrollers. Is this the beginning of a Terminator-esque future?

I’m a sucker for cool electro-mechanical projects (if you have one you’d like me to post about, use the Contact link) so when I saw this, I got excited. A guy in Hungary has created a “robot” which utilizes an old printer mechanism with a few standard radio-control servos to program microcontrollers in bulk.

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The printer slide is used to provide the horizontal movement while a special mechanism moves a vacuum attachment vertically to grab the chips from the supply rail on the right. The blank microcontroller is dropped into a ZIF socket and a servo closes the latch. After the programming is complete, the arm removed the chip from the socket and transfers it to the output rail.

I’ve spent a quite few years in the semiconductor manufacturing field, including several in the production areas and I can say that this guy’s project is actually remarkably similar to what’s used by the professionals — just much slower. I’ll bet that he could ramp the horizontal movement significantly but other than that, it’s a pretty sweet project!

Check the video out below. The first half shows the overall process and the second half shows each step in detail.

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For more info, check the site of the automated robotic microcontroller programmer.

[Thanks to Hacked Gadgets, one of my favorite DIY sites!]

Automated robotic microcontroller programmer Automated robotic microcontroller programmer

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