Metaboard is a DIY Arduino-clone which is pin-compatible with the original Arduino. For more information about what it is, check out the original article on the Metalab wiki.
While setting up a Metaboard seems straightforward, we had unexpected challanges while configuring the first Metaboards. The bootloader code that you can download needs to be tweaked in order to make it function. In
firmware/bootloaderconfig.hyou have to change the following #defines from the defaults (as described by a life-saving blog post):
#define HAVE_EEPROM_PAGED_ACCESS 0 #define HAVE_EEPROM_BYTE_ACCESS 0 #define BOOTLOADER_CAN_EXIT 0
To save yourself the hassle of configuring the Arduino IDE and your own already messed up operating system, we have an Ubuntu-based live CD available which also has VirtualBox drivers (and batteries) included. In theory, VirtualBox is capable of proxying USB devices from the host, but in practice it turned out to be much more useful when actually booted on your physical box because different operating systems handle the emulated USB programmer differently. At Hacktivity 2011 out of 2 Windows users and 1 Mac OS X users none could actually make his OS recognise the Metaboard (I guess some drivers were missing, but, well…), while all the Linux users managed to upload sketches successfully, and with relatively considerate amount of tweaking. With the live CD you get a clean environment where everything should work.
The original wiki page describes how you can use Metaboard with the Arduino IDE. To make the bootloader start, you have to pull the "Upload" pin to the ground (labeled on the PCB). In practice this involves setting a jumper on the existing pins. It doesn't matter whether if the board is just connected to the computer, you should reset it before you can upload a sketch.
When the bootloader has started, you should see the "USBasp" string in the output of dmesg (sorry, I don't know how OS X or Windows handles this, you should google around). If you've prepared your Arduino IDE, then selecting Metaboard from the list of boards and clicking on the "Upload" button should do magic. When the upload completed successfully, the "Upload" jumper on the board has to be removed so that the bootloader loads your sketch. Hooray!