Picture of Assembling the Dragon Rider 500 for use with the AVR Dragon
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.
dav1dr4y5 years ago
I think it would  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.
dav1dr4y5 years ago
Great! Thanks. I followed along your instructions as I built my rider.
GLOPRO6 years ago
Hi, what do you do when the circuit board does not have pinthrough holes and you have to solder a header on?
adje GLOPRO5 years ago
You mean when your board did not have a hole properly drilled and plated?  You can either send the board back and get another or try to address the problem yourself.  The former is probably the best solution.
thowardtf16 years ago
A SPDT switch will alleviate the problem of both sw1 and sw2 on at the same time.
phutton116 years ago
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.
ndegwa6 years ago
can a buy one that is fully assembled
tzoom847 years ago
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)."
barney_1 (author)  tzoom846 years ago
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
barney_1 (author)  wilkolunenburg6 years ago
I'm glad this was of use for you. Thanks for pointing out the reset button issue. I have added that to the instructable.
emmjul6 years ago
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)
rpierri7 years ago
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.
Sprongll7 years ago
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.
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Nice! I still haven't gotten around to using microcontrollers.
Woah-- awesome.
Greatly detailed and informative Instructable.
The photos were amazing, the detail and use of bold and stuff were just awesome.

Great job. +1 rating.
estab7 years ago
what is it????
barney_1 (author)  estab7 years ago
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.

Can't believe I forgot to reference AVRfreaks: http://www.avrfreaks.net
DjProToJeeX7 years ago
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
barney_1 (author)  DjProToJeeX7 years ago
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.
rockyt7 years ago
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.
barney_1 (author)  rockyt7 years ago
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.
gmoon barney_17 years ago
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.)