Introduction: Bare Bones Breadboard Arduino Labels

This Instructable is really simple. I was inspired by tymm's uDuino bare bones interface for breadboarding an Arduino, but thought that one thing was missing. The Arduino pin descriptions, D0, D1, A0, A2, etc., don't match up directly with the ATMega168 or ATMega328's twenty-eight pins. The information for mapping the pins is easily available on the Arduino web site but I wanted something even simpler. My Instructable is a simple paper label that makes the translation of the pins simple.

Step 1: Make a Spreadsheet

The first step was to create a spreadsheet. I used Open Office since it's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and it's free for the downloading. Using Open Office, I created the spreadsheet ATMega168.ods.

The cells have to be really small. The rows are 0.1 inch high to match the 0.1 inch spacing of the ATMega 168 pins. By trial and error, I found that the smallest font I could use was 6 point Arial Narrow, and the column widths are 0.12 inches for the pin numbers (columns A, D; F, I; and K, N), and the pin labels can be 0.18 inches wide (columns B,C; G,H; and L,M). Once I made one chart, I just duplicated the chart several times so I didn't have to use one sheet of paper to print out one tiny label.

The asterisks by some of the pin labels, D3, D6, etc., indicate that these pins support pulse width modulation, PWM.

UPDATE: Users have reported trouble saving the Open Office .ods file.  It gets saved as a file with a .tmp file extention.  Instead, right click on the file and select Save File As, and enter the name you desire with a .ods file extension.

To save you the time of creating the chart, the Open Office spreadsheet, ATMega168.ods is attached. 

Step 2: Print the Labels

I used a laser printer, but an ink jet should work just as well.

Fold the labels for the legs of the chip before doing the final cut out. Those little labels for the pins are less that 1/8" wide and are hard to fold if the label has been cut to size before folding, but are easy if they are still connected.

Step 3: Glue the Label on the Chip

In this photo, I pulled back the label "tent" so that you can see the chip under the label. To prevent the label tent from slipping I used a dab of rubber cement to hold the label in place. When you're done creating your prototype circuit, the label is easily peeled off the chip leaving no residue. The rubber cement doesn't melt the chip either.

Step 4: The ATMega168 Label Is Complete

Prototype to your heart's content.


russ_hensel made it!(author)2015-03-15

Just a note to let you know I have added this ( a year ago ) to the instructable:

Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Breadboards: A Meta Instructable


Take a look at a bunch of ideas for using breadboards.

Tony+Gouveia made it!(author)2013-06-07

This is a great way to create labels. I can think of several ways i can use this. Thanks foe a great idea.

acheide made it!(author)2013-01-12

Thanks for the labels. I Changed the centre columns to .38 cm and the number columns to .30 cm and found they fit better for me. The number columns have a slight outward angle and are easier to see from above. Very useful.

nliwilson made it!(author)2012-04-17

Given the age of this article I'm probably not the first to do this but I used OpenOffice to save the document to PDF in order to make it easier and uploaded it, it should be attached to this comment. :)

Lakes57 made it!(author)2012-04-20

I tried this with open office (portable) to modify it to eight labels across, but the numbers on the sides display and print out as hashes, same thing happens if I export it a PDF.

Am I doing something wrong?

nliwilson made it!(author)2012-04-20

Sounds like you don't have the appropriate font installed and you're getting hashes because OpenOffice is replacing characters it doesn't have. The original font used was Arial Narrow 6 point. :)

Lakes57 made it!(author)2012-04-20

I downloaded the font from here

Had to drop the font size for the pin numbers to 5pt to fit into the 012" cell size.

The font in your pdf looks different which is maybe why it fits better.

Pin Overlay.pdf
shaadmahmud made it!(author)2010-08-11

here is how u can make an usbasp..

zmemw16 made it!(author)2012-03-20

link shows pornographic advert page, select the earlier blog entries
for link to programmer info link

lyweilian made it!(author)2011-08-05

A good place to convert the ODS file to XLS for those that don't have Open Office installed.

sf_hombre made it!(author)2010-03-01

What am I doing wrong?  When I go to download the file "atmega168.ods" I get FLLJZ8TFT7PLVL6.tmp instead.

bhunter736 made it!(author)2010-09-26

I got the same thing, however I tried renaming the .tmp file to atmega168.ods and it opened without a problem.

xl97 made it!(author)2010-05-20

Dont feel bad..I get the same as you...  can some PLEASE post the correct file in the CORRECT format? and maybe even in .xls?


sf_hombre made it!(author)2010-03-24

OK.  Just changed the extension on the file to .ods and opened it with Calc.  However it looks like I'll have to futz with the side number size as they are not printing.

sf_hombre made it!(author)2010-03-21

Hmmmm.  Here we are 3 weeks after my question below and no reply and no comments, and, as far as I can figure out, no way to contact the author of the original article.

CalcProgrammer1 made it!(author)2010-02-25

Great Idea!  I have a growing collection of chips that I just use for breadboard stuff and don't plan on building into permanent designs, this would be a good way to speed up design (no constant looking at pin diagrams).  It's easy enough that you could make one for other common chips too (MAX232, shift registers, timers, other microcontrollers, etc).

TOCO made it!(author)2010-02-19

is the atmega168 label the same as the atmega328?

dnhoshor made it!(author)2010-02-20

Yes, The label is the same.  The 328 just has more memory.

David Hoshor

TOCO made it!(author)2010-02-21

thanks alot. that was what I thought but I wasnt shure.

icecreamterror made it!(author)2009-08-25

Cunning! p.s use 0.1 mfd bypass capacitors to ground on the AVCC and VCC pins, that gives better noise filtering for the chip.

jadler made it!(author)2009-06-01


I found a similar, designed as a label to stick on top of the chip at Tod E. Kurt's site. He left out pin numbering, as I would too, but your spreadsheet approach is much easier to do from scratch or modify to personal needs.

My installation of OOo 3.0 on Ubuntu 9.04 AMD64 did not have the font you use, I had to change to Times New Roman 4.5 points in order to fit, but it is very hard to read after printing.

dnhoshor made it!(author)2009-06-02

Thank you Jadler for the information. Tod E. Kurt did a nice job with his label. It looks good. Try using any sans serif font. Fonts with serifs like Times Roman are hard to read in small sizes.

helloworld1 made it!(author)2009-05-26

if you do this to all your chips, how will you know which one is which?

erio made it!(author)2009-04-12

Very nice idea! It could be used for any chip... I love it.

Bitty made it!(author)2009-04-08

Very nice. It's one of those things that's so obvious you kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner.

inventivefiend made it!(author)2009-04-08

Rather ingenious. But could heat dissipation be a problem?

dnhoshor made it!(author)2009-04-08

So far, the chip hasn't been warmer than room temperature, but if smell smoke, I won't hesitate to remove the label.

zaketus made it!(author)2009-04-08

Temp. of the chip shouldn't vary, in normal use. So that label shouldn't affect on chip.

GhostWolf made it!(author)2009-04-07

Oh, Nice one. Very clever. Me like. *thumbs up*

Bongmaster made it!(author)2009-04-07

nice and informative :)

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