Level 2 : Acroboard

Tech Specs

Type: Station
Short Description: Data Logging - Storage of data GPRS - Communication of data


Main Feature Data Logging Storage of data GPRS Communication of data
Main Components datalogger ATXMega256A3BU by Atmel GPRS SIM900 module by SIMCOM


The ACROboard STATION v01 r11 is the upgrade of the previous v01 r10. The main difference with it is the autoswitch for hard-reset of the board.

The board is mainly based on the MIC, with datalogging function, ATXMEGA256A3BU procudec by Atmel and on the GPRS module, aimed at communicating data to the infrastructure (in standard mode: ACRONETWORK).

The board is characterized by great versatility and ability to receive input signals from several types of sensors. It is equipped with numerous ports IN / OUT (see "Detailed Characteristics") and port for the solar panel power or household power grid.

Detailed Characteristics

Tensione di operatività: da 5V a 19V.

Corrente richiesta per il funzionamento: da 2mA a 100mA a seconda delle operazioni richieste.

Operational Voltage: 5 to 9V

Required Current: 2 to 100 mA depending on the requested elaborations

# 1 MIC Atmel ATxmega256A3BU

# 1 GSM/GPRS SIMCom SIM900 module

# 2 inputs for pulse signals

# 2 A/D converters (till to 6 single inputs or max. 3 differential inputs, for each)

# up to 4 I/O multiprotocol (RS232/RS485/RS422 half/full duplex)

# 1 I2C port

# 1 UART

# 1 USB port

# 1 Switch port

# 1 autoswitch for hard-reset

512kB EEPROM memory

Programming the Board

The board ACROboard Station v01 r11 have a PDI port suitable for the programming function that can be interfaced with any programmer compatible with this stardard.

Any PDI programmer can be selected by the user. In case of non-expert users, the ACRONET Team suggests to use the ATMEL JTAG ICE MK II (not furnished within the DIY KITS!): it can be used to modify a new firmware and to debug it before loading it in the AWS board. The selected Jtag has the characteristics here described (source: debugger datasheet):

-       Fully compatible with Atmel Studio, AVR32 Studio and AVR Studio 4 and later;

-       Supports debugging of all Atmel AVR 8- and 32-bit microcontrollers with OCD;

-       Supports programming of all 8- and 32-bit AVR devices with OCD;

-       Exact Electrical Characteristics;

-       Emulates Digital and Analog On-Chip Functions;

-       Software Breakpoints (*not ATmega128[A]);

-       Program Memory Breakpoints;

-       Supports Assembler and HLL Source Level Debugging;

-       Programming Interface to flash, eeprom, fuses and lockbits (not debugWIRE);

-       USB 1.1 and RS232 Interface to PC for Programming and Control;

-       Regulated Power Supply for 9-15V DC Power;

-       Can be powered from the USB bus;

-       Target operating voltage range of 1.65V to 5.5V.

Instructions - Preparation and Debug

All boards must be supplied with electric power. Once powered, the ACROboard Station v01 r11 must then be connected to the programmer by using the PDI port. By using the ATMEL STUDIO SOFTWARE programming interface, the firmware (available at the bottom of this page) has to be transferred to the microcontroller flash memory of the board.

Only then will the board be ready for use in the field.

However, if the user wants to customize the firmware and then to debug before installing it in the board, the ATMEL JTAG ICE MK II described in the previous can be used.

Instructions - Configuration

The ASF file system starts.

In /src/ASF/common/boards/user_board/ the two files init.c and user_board.h can be found.

The function “void board_init” (void) is implemented in init.c and it will be called by the main function during the board start-up.

Instruction - Software

In the following, the procedure will be described.

The Atmel Development Studio software can be found at the following link:


Once on this page, it is possible to select between “Atmel Studio Installer” and the installer full. The first one must be downloaded and, by double clicking, it is possible to select the default installation procedure.

Then, it is necessary to update the libraries already available with the installer. To do this, open the following url: http://asf.atmel.com and select the link “download”.

It is also possible to compile manually the firmware, instead of downloading the Atmel Studio software. To do this, it is necessary to download the ASF library at the following link: http://www.atmel.com/tools/AVRSOFTWAREFRAMEWORK.aspx.

However, it must be pointed out that the this guide is written considering the application of the IDE of the Atmel Studio.The Atmel programmer is accessible from the “Tools” menu in ATMEL Studio (Device Programming). Here, it is possible to select the ATMEL JTAG ICE MK II from the “tool combo-box” and the program compose the other combo-boxes with the possibilities/options corresponding to the previous selection.

Then, the ATXMEGA256A3BU (ATxmega256A3BU) device must be selected in the corresponding combo-box. The mask is now filled with the commands coupled with the programmer. The last step is the selection of the interface which, in this case, is the PDI. Then click “Apply”.

The voice “Memories” in the left-side submenu must be selected. Then, the path where the programmer can find the file to save into the flash memory has to be chosen and, finally, when the button “Program” is clicked, the flash memory is upgraded with the last available release of the firmware.

The procedure ends when the same is done with the configuration file to be saved in the EEPROM memory.

At this point, the AWS board is ready and the station can be installed in the field.

Instructions - Firmware

The firmware is written using the ASF library, freely available from the ATMEL website.

It is released as source in the shape of a so-called “Solution” (which is a term used to indicate an archive containing one or more projects, eventually with cross-dependencies, in the IDE respencting the nomenclature proposed by Microsoft) of ATMEL Studio.

The Solution can be opened by clicking in ATMEL Studio on “File”, then “Open Solution”, and selecting the file with the .sln extension.

The “Solution Explorer” will appear and it is then possible to navigate in the structure of the selected Solution. The Solution utilized for our firmware contains 5 projects. By default, the “Simple_Logger” Solution is selected.

The acrostation library contains all the “objects” common to all applications contained in the Solution.

The functionalities of all the devices contained in the controller are configured in the library.

For further information, do not hesitate to contact us.


The ACROboard Station v01 r11 is featured by smart dimensions (8x8 cm.) and a dual layer structure.

Download Box

This area includes both the firmware dedicated to this specific board and the artifacts useful to realize it. Regarding the firmware, you can easily download it or find it in the GitHub repository. You can directly download the artifacts from the box.


The Firmware is the program (sequence of instructions) that has to be integrated directly into the microcontroller placed on the ACROBoard. Its main purpose is to start the MIC as well as to interact with any other electronic items. Here you can find the .7z, the .zip folders and the link to the GitHub repository.


The artifacts include each step of the project regarding the board. Hence, it is possible to find the electronic schematics, as well as the mounting plan and the KiCad files. Everything can be directly downloaded from the box.