The 990.023 Luigino328 is an Arduino-compatible board with some added features that's make easier the software development. With Luigino328 You can use same software, sketches and shield normally used with Arduino.
The Luigino328 has a secondary preprogrammed MCU on board (PIC12F675) that assolves some "dirty work" and makes Luigino328 easier to use. Let's see:
On Arduino, if you use both USB and an external power supply, the board will use power from USB. An USB port can't drive more than 500mA and the power here is not quite clean! This is also a trouble if you leave Arduino powered while is connected on USB with computer off: power will flow from external supply to the USB plug! On Luigino328 when an external power supply is connected, the USB power is detached: the results are that USB port is more protected, you can draw more current and the output from A/D conversions are more reliable!
Many Arduino users well know that they must unplug a shield that uses the UART before programming. This is very boring! Luigino328 is capable of detect the real usage of UART: external uart is automatically disconnected while programming! You must not unplug any shield now!
Some Arduino Duemilanove uses the MC33269D voltage regulator. On Luigino328 we've mounted an LM1117: it's more reliable and stronger since is a voltage regulator used for industrial purposes.
Luigino328 comes with Arduino Duemilanove Bootloader but if you want, you can replace the chip with an ATmega328 with Arduino UNO bootloader: Luigino still works with this! Arduino Duemilanove can't use Optiboot instead. Optiboot is lighter than Duemilanove bootloader (0.5Kb instead of 2Kb) and is faster: it operates at 115200bps against the 57600bps used by Arduino Duemilanove.
If you want to communicate with your Arduino-based application using the serial port, Arduino will reset. On Luigino328 the SmartReset™ feature gives the ability of make this difference: ATMega will reset only during a programming but will remain active if you open a serial communication with your application! More time saved!
You can get more informations on: http://www.droids.it/cmsvb4/content.php?279-990.023-Luigino328-User-Manual-EN You can buy a Luigino328 from Robot-Italy.com (world-wide shipping): http://www.robot-italy.com/product_info.php?products_id=1645