Introduction: Gduino-No Programmer Required!! for 5$,Programs Multiple AVRs

Picture of Gduino-No Programmer Required!! for 5$,Programs Multiple AVRs

Arduino is familiar to anyone who loves to build tech.It is very common in project makers.But why 25$ For this board!! We can make our own!! In this instructable I am going to show you how to build an arduino at home that doesn't need any external programmers like USBASP or serial communicators.USBASP is already embedded inside this circuit!! I was impressed by bjkayani's instructable Beeduino ,the tutorial is well detailed and also Thomas Fischl's USBASP.I decided to make both these circuits on one board.Not by soldering a perfboard or on breadboard but on our very own built PCB!! Yes we can make it at home!! I will show two ways of etching PCBs and also tell which one would be better!! The other interesting thing is that I made it in just 5$ 5 times less than that of original arduino. And also we can program many other programmable ICs like ATtiny45/85 etc.Enjoy!!

Step 1: How It Works??

Picture of How It Works??
  1. The atmega 8 converts the usb to serial,part of usbasp.
  2. Usbasp can be of two types 6-pin or 10-pin nothing different!
  3. Here an external simple MCU circuit has been made.
  4. Most arduinos operate at 5v of usb but using a voltage regulator i.e 7805 we regulate any voltage upto 12 volts.
  5. We had used 16 Mhz crystal oscillator,internally the IC contains 8 Mhz clock but needs external one for faster processing.
  6. The push-button changes from 5V to 0V (or vice-versa) only when it is being pressed down, which is for a few milliseconds usually.

This is a little introduction of what we are making.

Step 2: Things We Need

Picture of Things We Need

For Circuit:-

  • Atmega 328
  • Atmega 8/48
  • 22 pf capacitor (4X written 22 on them)
  • 28-pin narrow IC base(2X)
  • 10/100 uf capacitor
  • 4.7 uf capcitor
  • LM 7805 voltage regulator IC
  • Connecting wire
  • 220 ohms resistor (2X Red-Red-Brown-Golden/Silver)
  • 10 Kilo ohms resistor (3X Brown-Black-Orange-Golden/Silver)
  • 2.2 Kilo ohms resistor (2X Red-Red-Red-Golden/Silver)
  • 68 ohms resistor (2X Blue-Grey-Black-Golden/Silver)
  • Green L.E.Ds (2X)
  • Red L.E.Ds (2X)
  • 100 nf capacitor (104 written on them)
  • Push button
  • DC jack
  • Male headers
  • Female headers
  • USB -B type port
  • 3.6 volt zener diode (2X 3V6 written on them)
  • 12 Mhz crystal oscillator
  • 16 Mhz crystal oscillator

For PCB etching :-

  • Ferric chloride/HCl and hydrogen peroxide (Ferric chloride from school lab and HCl from hardware store,Hydrogen peroxide from medicine store)
  • Single-sided copper clad board
  • Photo laser sheets
  • Electric Iron
  • Laser Printer
  • Rotary tool with needle like usually 0.8 mm drill bit
  • Plastic container
  • Cutter
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Safety for eyes

General tools :-

  • Soldering iron
  • Nipper

Misc. :-

  • USB cable from B-type to Ordinary
  • Acetone

Step 3: Printing Circuit

Picture of Printing Circuit

Here are some eagle and express pcb files.Print hem on Glossy paper side and cut out the printed portion.The MCU circuit itself was desined by bjkayani.I used the same.Here is the cirucit of USBASP as well as MCU. Here is a video complete video of pcb etching tutorial by Make.

Step 4: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

Using scrubber or sand paper rub the whole copper clad board to remove any oxidization or stains.

Step 5: Printing

Picture of Printing

Set the iron to maximum heat and then place the sheet on glossy paper and iron the sheet smoothly for about 15 minutes,then you will get proper print.In the picture this one is failed print,if this happens scrub it again using scrubber or sand paper.Try again!!Cut off the extra copper clad board.If you are using ferric chloride as etchant then no need to retry the toner transferring,shade the left lines using permanent marker.

Step 6: Safety!!

Picture of Safety!!

Safety is must while doing etching HCl and ferric chloride both can stain anything that comes in its way and also choose a well ventilated place for etching the PCB.

Step 7: For HCl

Picture of For HCl

If you choose HCl and hydrogen peroxide then it would be safe to apply a coating over the print like that of marker or polish.Dip it into 50-50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and HCl the solution would turn green the green salt is copper chloride which can be used again for etching PCb by dissolving it in HCl !! It would take about 1 hour if you are using HCl with 30% concentration.

Step 8: Ferric Chloride

Picture of Ferric Chloride

Ferric chloride is better choice because it etches faster and more perfectly than the previous method.Take about 40 grams of ferric chloride and dissolve it in about 100 ml water.The solution must appear brown without board and when we dip it appears somewhat yellowish in color.Not a chemical reaction only reflection of copper!! Dip in it for about 15-20 minutes till the full PCB etches!!

Step 9: Congratulations!!

Picture of Congratulations!!

Take out the copper clad board from the solution and then wash it under water and pour some acetone on board removing the toner,you would see a beautifully etched PCB.

Step 10: Drilling

Picture of Drilling

Use a needle like drill bit between 0.8 mm to 1.2 mm and you would require 3 mm drill for drilling the holes for dc jack and dc ports as well as voltage regulator.Drill carefully a small mistake can break lines of your hand-crafted PCB.

Step 11: Start Soldering

Picture of Start Soldering

Switch on your soldering iron and solder all the components as directed in schematics and PCB layouts.First of all solder resistors and then other components.

Step 12: Soldering Tips

Picture of Soldering Tips

Don't apply too much solder all little quantity enough to make the pin and line in contact would be enough!!

Step 13: Soldering Other Components

Picture of Soldering Other Components

Bend the voltage regulator IC and also check the stability of every component.Check again if any component is left to be soldered.

Step 14: Done Soldering!!

Picture of Done Soldering!!

Cut off extra pins of components and insert the ICs now and it is the time to test our device!!

Step 15: Installing Drivers

Picture of Installing Drivers

Go to this website and download drivers for your os and install them after inserting the board.Select browse from my computer while installing drivers and then browse the folder where the drivers were downloaded.This installs the drivers.

Step 16: Connections

Picture of Connections

See the picture which shows the connections between the USBASP and the arduino board.The picture credit goes to bjkayani.Open arduino IDE select arduino/genuino uno and in tools select the programmer to USBASP.Make the physical connections and then in IDE press shift while the shift key is pressed then click on upload.The upload command changes to upload via programmer if shift key is presses.The lights would glow now see if your board works then congratulations.If it doesn't work then recheck the connections,it would work surely!!

Step 17: Checking

Picture of Checking

Check if dc jack works,press reset button for refreshing.Congratulations!!

Step 18: Done!!

Picture of Done!!

Thanks for seeing my instructable!! This is a very cheap and home made solution for those costly arduinos.I have 5 arduinos but I love this one as it has been made by me!!I hope you like it!! You can ask if you have any questions!!

Please vote if you like this!!

Thank you!!



grassmt (author)2016-02-05

I know it's fun to build your own, but you can buy the Uno

<$5, Nano <$3, and Pro mini <$2. What is your time worth?

Ya but here I have to face shipping charges with import duties!! :-)

UNO costs around 350 rupees you dont need to think of duty and secondly using two mega is not a good idea.

geekrex (author)geekrex2016-07-18

those are not uno

_Boltz_ (author)geekrex2016-07-18

i got mine for 150 INRs from chandni chowk , i bought 3 from there.. :D

If you order from AliExpress the shipping is usually free. What would the import duty be on a $2.00 item? I'm fortunate that they don't worry about the little items that come in from China. It's not worth their time/effort to keep track of them. What country do live in?
I made my own stripped down board for Arduino, but then the prices of the Arduino dropped. So, I don't bother building them. Question: If something is shipped to you that is a gift/free, what is the import duty on it?

I'll try but last time when I received my arduino kit I had to pay 20$ while receiving even after I paid import duties because the package was from china!! For liitle things I had even paid more than the product costs,safety glasses,arduino due etc.In india I pay these if anything arrives from other countries!! It was just an idea to make own production version arduino,I still use arduino uno r3 for my projects!! I am working on a project that has a whole circuit assembled in two parts.I can use these circuits not the programmer inly MCU.:-)

IanB40 (author)2016-02-04

If you don't like using acids and etchants, building it on perf board using wire-wrapping tool and wire would be an alternative. I used to build prototype circuits this way, when I worked in an electronics factory. You might have to solder some connections if the tags are too short for the number of turns used for a wire wrap joint. DIL sockets are available with pins suitable for wire-wrapping, or pairs of SIL connectors, suitably cut to length could be used. Cheap Arduino boards from China would probably be cheaper, but building one yourself, even if on breadboard, will definitely improve your understanding of the circuit.

tags are too short

Right!! Good approach!! Ya i'll try it in its v2.0

hey, very great project ,very intersting :D | 1 problem ,how to open the .pcb file ?

kedwa30 (author)2016-03-24

Great 'ible! I was just wondering if anyone has ever tried making this as compact as possible by not using a board at all and what it would look like. Also, do you know about the ESP?

rjawale (author)kedwa302016-04-27

It is possible to make the board more compact by using SMD devices. But sometimes the SMD packages are difficult to solder by hand.
ESP8266 is already compact but it is difficult to solder pins. You can make your custom adapter for ESP.

Check my ible on SMD soldering

Also check my other instructables and do vote for the IoT based one if you like it.

RobertH230 (author)2016-02-27

18 steps to make a light light up?

rpotts2 (author)RobertH2302016-03-07

@RobertH230, 18 steps to create an AVR circuit that doesn't require a dragon or ISP. Dude, it's a good circuit.

Thank you!! Glad you liked it !! :-)

daniels351 (author)2016-02-04

Looks like a very fun project that I may do in the distant future, but for all my control projects I would rather just buy a bunch of $2 mini atmega328 Chinese clones and 1 $3 programmer on ebay and use them instead.

However, this would be a fun project just to do by itself, except the pcb etching, being a mechanical engineer I would rather design and build a small pcb cnc with cd drives than use caustic chemicals (a pcb cnc is my next project after I finish my laser etcher and my aluminum/wood cnc).

Glad you liked it!! :-)

BernyM1 (author)2016-02-07

Impressive. Thanks.


Glad you liked it

pachytrance (author)2016-02-16

thanks for share

Glad you liked it!! :-)

YLBright (author)2016-02-04

Dude, I am a novice, novice. E.g., I have never made an arduino project before. This looked interesting because of the 5$, but I have no idea what this is. I have been collecting parts, but yours is not a "first project". Thanks, I'll get to it one day, I guess

TruckerGeek (author)YLBright2016-02-04

I followed the instructions from the Arduino site on how to build my own Arduino. I skip the programming step. I purchased a full blown Arduino, program the chips in there, then put them into the Arduino circuits on my breadboard or solder them into a prebuild PCB (with all the holes and traces around the wholes). I ordered all of my parts from Amazon (most shipped from China) and, including a small breadboard (smaller than the one in the photo), I have about $5 into my "Arduino Circuits" (no power supply and no USB, etc.).

I am very appreciative for the information on etching your own circuit board. It has been over 3 decades since I last looked into that (high school electronics class). Hats off to you for going through that process. I am guessing that once you get used to it, you can make it look pretty easy.

Thanks for sharing your experience. After 3 decades I have forgotten everything I knew about electronics, so I appreciate information like this!

Thank you soo much!!!!!!! :-)

askjerry (author)YLBright2016-02-05

I don't want to knock this instructable... it is a GREAT job! I do want to offer an alternative for people who find this still a bit perplexing... so please, Gursimran... do not be upset.

Arduino uses a form of C language... and it is quite popular. There is another simple way to program the AVR microprocessor as well... You can use the USBASP to load directly into the AVR... and I have purchased these programmers for as little as $2 on eBay. I program in a language called BASCOM... a version of BASIC.

I won't get into the which-language-is-best argument... both have advantages... but if you want to try your hand at programming an AVR on a very low budget... and with minimal components... get a USBASP and look at an instructable I put out awhile back...

JimC70 (author)YLBright2016-02-04

You are right, not a good first project and the cost is certainly not $5. The best thing starting out is a pre-made board and learning how to hook things up and program.

nax (author)2016-01-25

Some people ask "why build your own when there are cheap clones out there?"

I think, since the Arduino is intended as a prototyping system, that knowing how to build one is extremely useful!

If I were to build something great with an Arduino, and then decide to make a permanent or production version, I'd use this as a basis, and instead of the final version being "an Arduino with some stuff hanging off of it" it would be a clean design with the added parts mounted directly on the board (if appropriate) and PCB traces instead of wires. In such a case, I might find that some components of the Arduino are not needed and can be skipped. The result would really only be good for the one application, but it would probably be stronger and look better and (since it has only the needed parts) be cheaper and more efficient.

So, yeah - AWESOME!

whiteboardwarriors2 (author)nax2016-02-05

I agree. And it's always nice to see another twist on the Arduino design. I prototype on an Arduino Uno and then, when I have it like I want, I build it clean using a "bareduino" design with just the necessary components just as you say. I probably don't save much, if any, money but it very satisfying and, sometimes very important, it can greatly decrease power consumption. This is link to some great work on lowering power consumption by Nick Gammon.

BigbobM (author)nax2016-02-04

I whole-heatedly agree: though financially it makes more sense to just buy a "Pro Mini" or other variant of Arduino clone, the technical knowledge gained from rolling your own board is invaluable! I have absolutely no background in EE or Comp Sci however through playing with my Raspberry Pi and subsequent Arduino (THROUGH the RPi), I've learned so much! I can now take "broken" electronics from the side of the road, desolder bits that I need and make something new!

diy_bloke (author)nax2016-01-28

I can go along a long way with that, except maybe for the last sentence: "it would be cheaper"
Even if you want to build a tailored design with all the necessary components on it (which I have done several times), the compelte promini is currently available for less money (Euro 1.10) than an unprogrammed Atmega328 chip. So, for a final design I most likely would just use a pro mini to stick in some headers rather than an Atmmega328.
That is a pity, I wish the bare 328 was a bit cheaper

Gursimran Singh 425 (author)nax2016-01-27

Thanx !! You're right in my other project yet to be published I am going to use you idea!! Yeah! It would be production version!! Thanx a lot!!

KurtRoesener (author)2016-02-04

While this is a great idea, I do not see how if I start with none of your parts list, that this would cost $5.

Now I do have a soldering iron and tools, but I don't have a Laser printer, the chemicals, photo laser sheets, Single-sided copper clad board, and others stuff.

Plus all the electrical components seem to add up to more than the $5 total as well.

Can you please explain how you arrived at the $5 total?

Gaige Kerns (author)KurtRoesener2016-02-04

Cost less for me.... You can get the parts by ordering samples, I can get etching stuff from my chemistry teacher who is also the robotics club supervisor who loves my interest. A printer is easy to come by, the clothes iron, easy, If your looking at this project you SHOULD have a soldering iron copper boards, Like .30 cents from China on Alibaba. Message me if you need any help with this fun project. I just finished building an arduino nano of my own!!! its awesome!!!!.

KurtRoesener (author)Gaige Kerns2016-02-05

Well, Gaige, I am almost 50 and don't have school access to the chemicals and while laser printers are 'easy to come by' they're not less than $5.

I have some 328P ICs that I got for $1.54 a piece, but that's a good chunk of this "$5" budget!

I still would like a breakdown form the author, about the prices he got these electronics components for.

Gaige Kerns (author)2016-02-04

Also a tip! If the Ink from the paper doesn't transfer completely, use sharpie and go over it. AND instead of Ferric Chloride(stains harshly) You can use Hydrochloric acid or as they call it Muriatic acid. You can get it from hardware store. But Do this in a PLASTIC CONTAINER WITH PLASTIC GLOVES. THIS ACID IS THE SAME ACID IN YOUR STOMACH IT CAN BURN YOU. USE WITH CAUTION!!!!!!!! NEVER ADD WATER TO ACID. ADD ACID TO WATER. AFTER THE USE OF THE PLASTIC CONTAINER DON'T USE IT FOR FOOD OR ANYTHING THAT YOU CONSUME.



personally i, would recommend ammonium per-sulfate rather than deal with toxic hydrochloric acid fumes. and it is, colorless and odorless in solution until if forms the blue copper ammonium sulfate solution. and is a lot less corrosive, to the flesh and clothing. it and bi-sodium sulfate, are as safe as ferric chloride. i have safely used ammonium per-sulfate, for etching pc boards for about 40 years in my bubble and spray etchers.

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2016-02-04

Speaking of Seeeduino, here is one I picked up, the price seems to have gone up a bit since I got it, and this one is not popular for it's price. but for the extended functionality of the board. Seeeduino Stalker V3 Arduino Compatible Microcontroller | eBay

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2016-02-04

Do some general searching on Ebay, you needen't purchase that way, but you can discover products, then search online through Google for sellers.

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2016-02-04

A nice thing about the ones from China, many of them come drilled for male plugs, so you have a choice when wiring them up, I like the male headers so I usually solder those on right away, they seem less prone to falling off. Also you can not solder on the male headers and solder wire directly to the board if the Uno is going to stay in the product for ever. I like the micro for that reason as well. The market is always changing with these type of boards, and it seems every month or two a new developement comes along with a small change, such as the USB input port and so forth. If you wish an Arduino Uno had a different layout, just look around there are dozens of people making them just a bit different for a different market. For example the SEEEDUINO line has custom boards for a good price: Seeeduino Ethernet MEGA328P Chip and A WIZ5100 DIY Maker Seeed Booole | eBay

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2016-02-04

Cool, I love the look of the little guy. That said, I think I will stick with my Chinese clones that I get for 3 bucks each with free shipping. Guess it's the lazyness in me. I did make one once on a breadboard and that worked out well, just for an experement. as you say, it was fun and I did like it but then that was so much larger then an uno.

and..where do you get your 3.00 clone ? please share the link

New ATMEGA328P CH340G Uno R3 Board USB Cable for Arduino DIY UL | eBay

Thats one, I have come across them for 2 bucks as well depends, just do a search arduino and uno on Ebay, they come from China, of course and are clones but I have yet to get one that didn't work, also the same for the mini, and other arduino clones. THe only one I have paid near retail for was a due but I wanted to buy one real one just to support the folks in Italy where they are designed and built. I think I have over a dozen of them at home now, I have also purchased some specialty ones that I paid a great deal more for because the project design needed the size, or special design.

DannyB33 (author)jerry.ericsson22016-02-04

Where do you buy your arduino clones??

aramperez (author)DannyB332016-02-04

I haven't seen them for $3 but here's one for $5: You can also get them on eBay and Alibaba.

Giovanni Preda (author)aramperez2016-02-04

Here you go! 2.57$ free shipping
AliExpress FTW

lapenta (author)DannyB332016-02-04

if you can work with a tinyspark clone (which is basically an arduino with less ports), you can buy them at eBay, from chinese seller, with prices starting at $0.99

magkopian made it! (author)2016-01-28

I made one a couple of years ago, but for the USB connectivity I used an MCP2200 USB-to-UART converter instead. Since the MCP2200 doesn't come on a DIP package and I was too lazy to design a PCB I had to put in on a small SOIC to DIP adapter board, but I think in the end it came up pretty well.

KennethC11 (author)magkopian2016-02-04

Beautiful board, nice work!!!

About This Instructable




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