Securing programmable IC chips

I've just started playing with Arduino boards and programming and I am curious about firmware or downloading a program to a chip upon completion so the project remains so I can keep it intact after I remove the Arduino interface. Can you buy inexpensive chips and download a program to the chip with all the instructions on it so I don't have to leave the Arduino board connected to it. I've heard there are inexpensive one time chips that you can download too and that's pretty much it. Once the program is in, its in and you can't reprogram it again so my questions are this 1) can this be done? 2) does anyone have an Instructable for a project that uses this, and finally, where can I get such programmable chips? Any assistance or advise is most appreciated.

frollard7 years ago
The arduino ships with (generally) an ATmega168. It's a 3-5 dollar chip you can buy blank or preloaded with the arduino bootloader (from somewhere like sparkfun or adafruit).
(atmega 328 upgrade chip preloaded) http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=123

The arduino has the atmega for a brain, but has all the handy pin headers for prototyping - not necessary to make it run. From there you don't need the arduino BOARD to run the chip - just regulated power, a 16mhz crystal, and a few decoupling caps. Use the board to program the chips, then take the chips out and install them in a custom setup for a cheaper 'multiple' setting. Search barebones arduino to see how to get this set up.
jeff-o frollard7 years ago
This is correct - you can just buy more ATMega168s (or 328s, whatever your Arduino uses) and load a new bootloader onto it. Once programmed, you can remove it from the socket and use it elsewhere. Note that you will have to either program the chip to use its internal oscillator, or make sure that whatever board it's installed on has a crystal that matches what's on the Arduino board.