Not long ago the Atmel company came out with a great tool for use with the AVR line of microcontrollers called the AVR Dragon. This small USB device provides professionals and hobbyists alike the ability to use: In System Programming (ISP), JTAG, Debug Wire, and High Voltage Programming. Unfortunately the device itself doesn't include all the components necessary, nor a reasonable amount of space for development using these functionalities. This is where the Dragon Rider 500 comes in.

The Dragon Rider 500 is a development system produced by Ecros Technology. It provides a means of interfacing 8, 20, 28, and 40 pin microcontrollers with the Dragon's programming functions and includes development opportunities such as RS232, LED, Button, and LCD prototyping through its add-on packages. This creates a marriage of the functionality of the STK500 with features of the AVR Dragon.

My fiancee gave me this kit as a birthday present and I think it's a great gift! Stay away fellas, she's spoken for.

Update: I had sent several inquires to Graham Davies of Ecros Technology while I was working on this project. He was extremely helpful and once he saw this instructable, offered to send me a complimentary LCD and Ribbon Cable Add-on Kit as these were the only two that I didn't have. Those kits are detailed in steps 14 and 15. Thank you Ecros Technology!

It should be noted that during this instructable components of all Add-on kits will be installed concurrently. These packages are not necessarily designed to be installed one at a time.

Step 1: The parts and where to get them.

  • Dragon Rider 500
  • AVR Dragon
  • AVR Microcontroller

  • Dragon Rider Add-on Kits

  • Extra shunts
  • Extra pin header sockets
  • Extra pin headers (I had enough left over from the Basic Parts kit)
  • Plexi-glass for bottom protector
  • 4-40 machine screws for bottom protector

The Dragon Rider 500 kit is produced by Ecros Technology and can be purchased in several different configurations from just the PCB to the PCB all of the hundreds of parts that make up the various Add-On packages. Assembly of this kit is the focus of this instructable. Purchase the kit directly from the manufacturer:

The AVR Dragon is produced by the Atmel corporation. Features and documentation can be found at the Atmel website. The Dragon itself can be purchased from various electronics suppliers such as Digikey and Mouser. For this instructable it is assumed that you already own an AVR Dragon.

AVR Microcontrollers can be purchased from many electronics suppliers. Popular chips include the ATmega8, the ATtiny2313, and the ATtiny13. You will need at least one of these chips to do anything with the AVR Dragon or the Dragon Rider 500. Ecros Tech has at least one type of AVR available for purchase (ATmega88).
I think it would&nbsp; be good to put a diode in the sub. regulator spot instead of a wire. This is discussed in the Ecros User's Guide. Then you don't have to worry about frying the dragon it you forget and turn on both S1 and S2. I plan to go back and do that.<br />
Great! Thanks. I followed along your instructions as I built my rider.<br />
Hi, what do you do when the circuit board does not have pinthrough holes and you have to solder a header on?
You mean when your board did not have a hole properly drilled and plated?&nbsp; You can either send the board back and get another or try to address the problem yourself.&nbsp; The former is probably the best solution.
A SPDT switch will alleviate the problem of both sw1 and sw2 on at the same time.
Caution....My kit included a 10 ohm resistor for R4. I replaced it with a 100 ohm resistor from my parts box. Went through the docs to make sure I was right.
can a buy one that is fully assembled
SUGGESTION: Hey Barney I think you are missing a step in this. A jumper needs to be soldered in the top two holes of the LM1117 footprint, next to the main switch SW2. Without this, if you are powering from the Dragon (USB), you can't get a target/reference voltage. This isn't mentioned in the instructables, but its in your last picture. Reference: User Manual - "Just to the right of this switch, there is a footprint for the sub-regulator, U6, that few people will use. If you are not using a sub-regulator, that is if your target is powered directly from the AVR Dragon, install a wire jumper between the top two holes of the U6 footprint (closer to the IC U4)."
Actually that jumper wire is mentioned in step 10. Thanks though!
The reset is never mentioned, but it is installed in this step. You can see it mounted on the board in the next step. I followed this Instructable last evening and I now have a fully functional Dragon Rider. Thanks a lot! Wilko
I'm glad this was of use for you. Thanks for pointing out the reset button issue. I have added that to the instructable.
Maybe someone can help me, I'm using AVRstudio 4, when I connect the Dragon attached to the Rider to the Computer it says that it couldn't connect to the reset line. I'm using a tiny2313, I checked the reset line with a multimeter it's fine, i'm a bit unsure about what AVRs troubleshootingpage says, that the problem could be caused by an too small pull up resistor, they say you should use at least 10K but the Rider only uses 1K. If someone has the same Problem or can tell me what I'm doing wrong. that would be cool! Thanks
does anyone here know how to use this kind of controller to make an automated targeting system? I want it to locate a moving object, track it, and activate a relay once it locks on. You can guess what I'm doing with it.
I have the same idea. Sweet!
I'm going to use it to control servos which will control an airsoft machine gun.....when someone enters my room, they will be put through severe pain by airsoft pellets.
You took my idea... Meany!!! just kidding, I have this same idea,
I'm gonna use heat sensors to track a person I think.
I would use a special cammera that looks at the face and see if its "you" or not, if not it would activate the gun.
I was going to use a keypad at the bottom of my stairs to deactivate it.
Ahh.Thats cool, maybe we should work on this...some how...?
('cept me)
Very Nice! it is an excellent how to and it is also an excellent kit from Ecrostech. I have finished to assembly that kit following these your instructions. They were very useful to me. Thank you Barney. If possible, please, also extend this congratulation to Mr. Davies (Ecrostech) by his compromise with the quality.
Quality. Just went and ordered one with the works from Ecros, cant wait for it to arrive. Thank you for the well presented instructable that is going to get me through the assembly.
Nice! I still haven't gotten around to using microcontrollers.
Woah-- awesome.<br/>Greatly detailed and informative Instructable.<br/>The photos were amazing, the detail and use of bold and stuff were just awesome.<br/><br/><pre>Great job. +1 rating.</pre>
what is it????
It's a prototyping and programming system for AVR microcontrollers. The Dragon Rider interfaces with another device called the AVR Dragon enhancing and simplifying the use of the AVR Dragon's features.<br/><br/>Can't believe I forgot to reference AVRfreaks: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.avrfreaks.net">http://www.avrfreaks.net</a><br/>
A+ instructable. ive seen these brought up before on a different website. It was all very well laid out and the lcd screen is probably the coolest part
Yes, LCD screens are pretty cool. I must say I think the ability to easily patch in the In System Programming, Jtag, Debug wire, and High Voltage programming constitute the coolest features. These are all things the AVR Dragon CAN do by itself but not unless you really know what you're doing it's pretty tough to make happen. The Dragon Rider makes that very easy. I also like that a lot of thought was put into how the prototyping components are involved (ie: use of a crystal, how you patch into LEDs and Buttons). Lot's of functionality there too.
I bought one of those avr dragons and it is still sitting in my project pile awaiting assembly. I'm intimidated by the complexity of its construction.
The dragon is a great tool but I agree, it's complicated. I needed to use High Voltage programming to resurrect one of my AVR chips but didn't want to try and figure out the connections by myself. The Dragon Rider really "breaks out" the functionality of the dragon. I was able to get HV programming to work quite easily once I had the kit put together.
I've got both a Dragon and an STK500--but I still use my old DAPA parport interface for 99% of my projects! Maybe one of these will get me motivated to setup and use the Dragon.... (I've also got an ATmega8 I hope to salvage via HV programming. But I don't really need it, so it hasn't been enough incentive.)

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