Introduction: Assembling the Really Bare Bones Board (RBBB) Arduino Clone - UPDATED
UPDATE 8/16/2008: added images of different board configurations in last step.
The RBBB from Modern Device Company is a wonderful little Arduino clone. If you have a Arduino project requiring a small footprint or an inexpensive dedicated board, this is a great solution.
I discovered the RBBB while looking for a cheaper alternative to the official Arduino board I used in developing my Northern Lights Indicator. On sale, buying 5 kits, these came out to about $9 each. That is a huge savings over the $35 Arduino Diecimila.
Step 1: The Kit
Here are all the parts of the RBBB kit. Included are:
2 10k resistors (Brown, Black, Orange)
2 .1ufd ceramic capacitors
2 47 ufd electrolytic capacitors
1 voltage regulator
1 3mm LED
1 Atmega168 preprogrammed with bootloader
1 16 MHZ ceramic resonator
male header pins
6 right-angle male-header pins
1 momentary switch
1 28 pin IC socket
Step 2: Let's Get Started!
Solder in the resistors. Orientation does not matter, here.
Step 3: First Capacitors
Next add in the ceramic capacitors. These can also be placed in any orientation.
Step 4: The LED
Orientation matters! The longer lead is the positive side. The picture shows the correct orientation. There is also a + sign on the board to show where the longer lead goes.
Step 5: The Switch and Power Regulator
Add in the switch and the power regulator.
The switch is rectangular and will snap in place with little effort. If it doesn't seem to fit, turn it 90 degrees and try again.
The power regulator is mounted with its flat side towards the edge of the board. See later steps for other power options.
Step 6: The Electrolytic Capacitors
Mount the two electrolytic capacitors as shown. As with the LED, the longer lead is the positive side.
Step 7: The IC Socket
In mounting the IC socket you may wish to space it off the board a bit. This makes the pin labels a bit easier to read. I used leads trimmed from previous components to lift the socket off the board slightly while I soldered. After, they slide out easily.
One end of the socket has a notch. Notice the image of the socket on the board also has a notch. Match the orientation and solder into place.
Step 8: Start on the Header Pins
Here you have lots of options. The kit supplies you with male header pins, but depending on your project you may not need any pins. You may also want to use female pins or even mount the pins pointing upward (reversed from what is shown.) For prototyping, having the male pins mounted as shown makes it easy to plug the board into a breadboard.
Start by snipping 4 pins off the end of one of the sets of headers. Solder the remainder of the section in the holes marked A5 -D9. This is the same side of the board as the LED.
Next, take the 4 pins you trimmed off and solder them in the D5-D8 holes.
Now trim the remaining set of headers in half. Take one of the halves and solder it into the RST - +5 holes.
Step 9: The Resonator
Mount the ceramic resonator. Orientation doesn't matter.
Step 10: The Diode
Be careful with the orientation of the diode. Mount as shown with the white stripe towards the board.
Step 11: Power Connector
Solder in the power socket. See later steps for other power supply options.
Step 12: The Programming Headers
You have some options here, also. The kit provides right angle male headers which can be mounted as shown. Another option is to use some of the straight male headers left over from previous steps. Without the right angle headers in place the RBBB fits neatly in a Altoids Chewing Gum tin.
Step 13: Washing the Board.
At this point it would be a good idea to give your board a good scubbing with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush. This will remove any solder flux from the board. Let the board dry or blow it dry before mounting the ATMEGA168 chip.
Step 14: Mount the IC
Notice the notch in one end of the ATMEG168 chip. Remember the notch in the socket? Orient the chip with the socket and gently press it into place. You may need to carefully bend the chip's pins inward a bit to get it to fit.
Step 15: That's It! or Is It?
Your board is now fully assembled and ready to be programmed!
Remember I mentioned some options for the power supply? If you wish to have an even smaller board you may remove the power socket from the board. You may wish to directly wire a 9v snap connector to the board or run wires to a remote power supply.
You can also cut the board down even smaller by removing the section used for power regulation. This can then be mounted some other place or eliminated altogether if your project can provide regulated 5v power.
Step 16: Update!
Here are examples of different board configurations. At the bottom is a board assembled in the original form. In the middle is a kit I will be using with a 9v battery snap (or a battery pack). At the top is a board in the smallest form. This one will require a regulated 5v power supply.
Note I have placed vertical male programming headers to further reduce the board length. The middle board has no I/O headers as I will be soldering leads directly to the board. The top board has female headers. This allows wires or male headers to be plugged in easily.