AVR Butterfly

The AVR Butterfly [ [http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/tools_card.asp?tool_id=3146 ATMEL AVR Butterfly Product Description] ] is a self-contained, battery-powered demonstration board running the ATMEL AVR ATmega169PV Microcontroller. The board includes a liquid crystal display (LCD), joystick, speaker, serial port, real-time clock (RTC), internal flash memory, and sensors for temperature and voltage. The board is the size of a name tag and with the pin on back it can be worn as such after the user enters their name onto the LCD.

The AVR Butterfly comes preloaded with software that demonstrates many of the capabilities of the AVR microcontrollers. Factory firmware can scroll your name, display the sensor readings, and show the time. The AVR Butterfly also has a piezo speaker that can reproduce sounds and music.

AVR Butterfly


The AVRButterfly demonstrates LCD driving by running a 14 segment, six alpha-numeric character display. However, the LCD interface consumes many of the I/O pins.

CPU & Speed

The Butterfly's ATmega 169 CPU is capable of speeds up to 8 MHz, however it is factory set by software to 2 MHz to preserve the button battery life. There are free replacement bootloaders available that will launch programs at higher speeds. Alternatively, this may be accomplished by changing the CPU prescaler in the application code.


* ATmega169V AVR 8-bit CPU, including 16 Kbyte of Flash memory for code storage and 512 bytes of EEPROM for data storage
* 100-segment LCD (without backlight)
* 4-Mbit (512-Kbyte) AT45 flash memory
* 4-way Mini-Joystick with center push-button
* Light, temperature, and voltage (0-5 V range) sensors (light sensor no longer included due to the RoHS directive)
* Piezo speaker
* Solder pads for user-supplied connectors: 2 8-bit I/O ports, ISP, USI, JTAG
* RS232 level converter & interface (Cable and connector provided by end user)
* 3 V battery holder (CR2450 battery included)


The Butterfly comes preloaded with software that demonstrates many features of the ATmega169, including reading of the ambient light level and temperature and playback of musical notes. The device has a clothing-pin attached to the back, so it may be worn as a nametag — the "name" may be entered via the joystick or over the RS232 port, and will scroll across the LCD.


Software may be written for the Butterfly using the Atmel AVR assembly language or C. A pre-installed bootloader program allows the board to be re-programmed with a standard RS-232 serial port (requiring no special hardware). The board also has ISP and JTAG ports for in-system programming and debugging.


The Butterfly is popular among hobbyists for its low price of about $20 USD, its flexibility, the availability of free development software and the ability to reprogram it without using special hardware.

Butterfly projects

Many fully-usable projects have been built using the Butterfly as a base platform, often with few or no additional parts. There's an award-winning educational robot based around the Butterfly called the FlutterBot. There are free plans to convert the Butterfly into a portable AVR-ISP device (see Buttload) for programming a whole family of AVR devices. Several plans available on the web to convert a Butterfly into an MP3 player. There is also a popular book available from Smiley Micros for learning to program AVRs using C that is based around the Butterfly Board.


External links

* [http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/tools_card.asp?tool_id=3146 Atmel's product page]
* [http://www.dwelch.com/avr/ Getting Started Guide]
* [http://bluebat.dnsalias.org/howto/butterfly/ Atmel AVR Butterfly Mini-FAQ for Linux]
* [http://www.smileymicros.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=7&MMN_position=2:2 C Programming for Microcontrollers] with Butterfly & Free WinAVR Compiler
* [http://www.siwawi.arubi.uni-kl.de/avr_projects/#bf_app Port of the AVRButterfly demo firmware to the AVR-GCC compiler]
* [http://www.flutterbot.com/ FlutterBot ] - An educational robot based on the AVR Butterfly.
* [http://butterflymp3.sourceforge.net Butterfly MP3] - An open source MP3 player based on the AVR Butterfly.
* [http://butterflylogger.sourceforge.net Butterfly Logger] - An open source datalogger project based on the AVR Butterfly.
* [http://www.fourwalledcubicle.com/ButtLoad.php ButtLoad] - Open source firmware-only solution to transform the Butterfly into an AVRStudio-compatible AVRISP programmer clone.
* [http://www.ipnas.org/garnir/avr AVR Flasher] - Flasher for Mac OS X (& Linux) written in Java

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