Having read the countless articles, websites and hearing about it from friends, I’ve decided to jump on the Arduino bandwagon.  I bought one of the new ArduinoMega boards with a very nice shield and some other things.

 ArduinoMega Shield

The ArduinoMega is an Arduino compatible board with an ATmega1280 controller that has 128KB flash, 8KB SRAM and 4KB EEPROM.  It has 54 digital IO pins (of which 14 can provide PWM output), 16 10bit analogue inputs, I2C and a bunch of other ones.

The idea is to use the ArduinoMega as a (very) smart sensor/I2C slave for the NXT.  I am not sure what I’ll do with it, yet.  I have a Wiznet WIZ810MJ Ethernet module in a drawer somewhere, perhaps I can use that.  So far I have managed to upload a “blink” program and it works.  The only bad thing about the Arduino programming environment is that it is very, very slow on my Windows 7 64bit laptop.  I have it running on a Vista 64bit VM without any issues, though.  Perhaps they have fixed this in the upcoming 0017 release.  For now I will just use the VM-based solution.

I ordered the stuff from an online shop in Germany called Watterrot.  I was really impressed with how quickly my order was processed and shipped.  I ordered it on Wednesday lunch time, it shipped out on Thursday afternoon and by Friday afternoon I had all my items.  Their packages are traceable, so you can hit F5 (refresh) in your browser until the lettering wears off.  They also stock a very wide variety of SparkFun items (117 of them @ 25/07/09), which is great.  To top it all off, they have very good prices and only charge €10 euro for shipping and handling for orders within the EU!  That’s less than a 1/3 than what some of the shops in the Netherlands charge for a similar order.  I will definitely order from them the next time.