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The Orangutan X2 has two microcontrollers: an Atmel ATmega644 AVR for the main application, and an auxiliary ATmega168 that interfaces to most of the dedicated hardware on the X2 and serves as a programmer for the main processor. The two-microcontroller design simplifies multitasking by relieving the main processor of common tasks such as motor control and melody generation, and the approach also leaves the mega644 completely unencumbered, allowing the mega644 hardware, such as timers and interrupts, and most of the mega644 I/O lines to be used for your higher-level design. It also means you do not need an external programmer to use the Orangutan X2.
i would recommend instead building a very simple MCU board and have a choice of add-on shields for additional features.if you plan the layouts well you could use the same shield for different MCU board versions.
Agreed. Now if everyone agreed on hole spacing for stacking
Just be aware that sometimes it's cheaper to buy something mass manufactured than to make it yourself from scratch
They both have professionally manufactured PCBs, so no matter how hard I try, a DIY version will still suck at looks.