Introduction: How to Burn a Bootloader to Clone Arduino Nano 3.0

Picture of How to Burn a Bootloader to Clone Arduino Nano 3.0

Hello everybody..

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I have recently purchased an Arduino Nano 3.0 Clone which came without a bootloader. I am sure there are many other people who are in the same situation as me, and may have freaked out a little bit at first ! Don't worry, in this instructable I will show you how to easily install a bootloader to your new clone.


let's see how it's done..>

ATTENTION - some clones are different. they don't have an ftdi chip, which may cause your computer to not see the arduino once plugged in with the usb. if this is the case, please follow these steps; thanks to author Gegec for his help on noticing the problem and solving it as well :)

Step 1: Get a Clone

Picture of Get a Clone

It is very easy to find a clone of any board on the internet. Or you can at worst make yourself one...


They are extremely cheap, I have seen pinless nano boards as low as $5 online. You just have to do some work on your end, which is a very fair give and take if you ask me.


I don't want to advertise any names here, if you just search the board that you want with the word clone next to it, you will find some. Mine is called Funduino Nano, which is an open source company apparently just making amazing products at real fair prices..


Look how small an arduino nano is, it's the size of my pinky finger. This will help me tremendously in my new projects, huge improvements on size!

Step 2: Test It First !

Picture of Test It First !

Plug it to the computer with the USB cable.


Make sure it turns on, and yes it did.! So far we are safe.


Now try to upload the blink sketch to it using the Arduino software on your computer. (file>examples>basics>blink)


You will most likely get the error in the second picture. This has nothing to do with the code being right/wrong. It just simply means that your computer and the board aren't communicating correctly, in our case the lack of the bootloader prevents us from doing so.


If your clone did work with the sketch upload, then even better.! you found one that is pre-installed. just start using it...

If you get the error message, keep on reading..>

Step 3: Simple Few Steps

Picture of Simple Few Steps

Now you need to find a working arduino board, doesn't matter if it is a nano or not, I have used my "real" uno r3 and worked perfectly. If you don't already have one, try borrowing it from a friend.


If you have any grab your female - male breadboard jumpers. These will make the process even faster and easier. BUT I didn't have any so, instead of waiting 2 weeks for them to arrive online as well, I had to take some extreme measures!


First we need to locate and get familiar with the ICSP pins. On mine just one of them was marked with a number, top right as 1. Here is what they look like in the schematics. So right under 1 had to be 2 and next to one was 3 and so on...


Now that you are ready lets begin - do the following steps in order;

STEP 1 - Upload ISP

-Connect the working arduino to your computer.

- Open the arduino software on the computer

- Go to Tools>Serial Port>COM (and make sure that the correct COM port is chosen - ask me if you don't what this means)

- Go to Tools>Board>Arduino Uno (in my case uno, this is the arduino that is already working not yet the other one)

- Go to File>Examples>Arduino ISP (a new sketch screen will open with the ISP code written in it)

- Verify then Upload (your board will start blinking for a bit, it means it is loading, wait until done uploading)

- Unplug the arduino. Now it has the ISP code in it, all we have left to do is connect them together and run a few commands again...

STEP 2 - Connect 2 arduinos together

- Now connect the two arduinos together, to do this without female-male jumper cables was time consuming, you have to be VERY CAREFUL and take your time bending the wires, other wise you may short your circuits. ask me first ! In the second picture you can see that first I put the ICSP pins through a piece of paper and then carefully wrapped around them the corresponding wires. Make sure they grab on very tightly, use a small flat head screw driver to bend them. Take your time, don't be rough.

- Connect them this way;

pin 1 on clone to D12 on working arduino

pin 2 on clone to 5V on working arduino

pin 3 on clone to D13 on working arduino

pin 4 on clone to D11 on working arduino

pin 5 on clone to D10 on working arduino

pin 6 on clone to GND on working arduino

STEP 3 - Burn Bootloader

- Keeping all the wires intact and unmoved in step 2, connect the working arduino back to the computer with the USB

- Go to Tools>Serial Port>COM (and make sure again that the correct COM port is chosen - ask me if you don't what this means)

- Go to Tools>Board>Arduino Nano w/Atmega 328 (this time we choose the non working arduino, in my case nano atmega 328)

- Go to Tools>Programmer>Arduino as ISP

- Go to Tools>Burn Bootloader (this is it, after the LEDs stop flashing your board is ready to use !!!)


Do all of the above steps in ORDER !!! no skipping steps

Always make sure that the correct COMM port and correct board are chosen before uploading a sketch to avoid errors...

if you want to learn more or get a second opinion you can check this post (it's amazing) or just search on google " how to install a bootloader to arduino clone " and you will see many articles on this very topic.


Remember to check out my other posts and subscribe to stay in the loop..!

love & peace



ChrisG464 (author)2017-12-04

Thanks for this very helpful tip/procedure. I struggled for the day thinking I had somehow destroyed my NANO clone. After reading others like issues, I found this article.

Now I can continue my exploration on the smaller scale boards..

carrera30 made it! (author)2017-09-30

Not only was I able to recover 2 Arduino Nanos with this method, I realized I can use this to burn sketches to a production run of nanos I'm using as I'm beta testing a new product. Super helpful. Thanks!!!!

Akin Yildiz (author)carrera302017-10-06

great to hear.. amazing stuff.!! good luck

ManuB19 (author)2017-09-17

many thanks, i bought a arduino nano clone from china, and they didn't burnt bootloader on it, and it was stuck on uploading, i followed your method and it worked for it.

PossumT (author)2017-08-24

Many thanks!

I just followed these instructions and they worked perfectly.

I was going to mention that you don't have to use the ICSP header because all of the pins on this header are connected in parallel with existing pins, but it seems MilosG7 beat me to it (by a about a year).

illumation_ (author)2017-08-13

Thanks for the tutorial, however, I got a faulty program loaded into the flash (Serial output in an interupt - Error is COM is busy, upload failed) that makes it unable to upload a new sketch. So I thought to follow your guidelines to reset the device with a fresh bootloader but get the following error:

avrdude: Expected signature for ATmega168 is 1E 94 06

Double check chip, or use -F to override this check.
Fout bij het branden van de bootloader.

What to do? Is this still a problem of the program that is still active? The selected chip is correct, the chip describes this. I use a Nano with the ArduinoISP program which is a ATmega328, is this a problem?

KevinF119 (author)2017-08-04

Thank you for the test it part! I just thought it would not work because its a clone but it actually had a bootloader.


philipzior (author)2017-06-21

Thank you so much, I have been struggling with this problem for weeks. The other tutorials were not working for me but this one turned my paperweight Arduino into a useful device.

adamyd.up (author)2017-05-10

Really amazing! Thanks! And I wonder if I can write code to the flash of Arduino NANO

prai753 (author)2017-02-28

My laptop is not showing serial port what to do

Akin Yildiz (author)prai7532017-03-05

did you install the driver correct.? use a different USB cable, a data transfer cable. Or you may have a faulty board :/

TiagoT10 (author)2016-07-12

i tried it but i get this error "

avrdude: Yikes! Invalid device signature.

Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override

this check.

Error burning bootloader"

i have checked my wiring countless times!!!

Help me

petesk8 (author)TiagoT102017-01-27

Belated reply to this post, I too had this problem.

It turned out in my case that my Nano clone ATmega168 had a differing signature to the one in the avrdude.conf file. (0x1e 0x94 0x06 when it should have been 0x1e 0x94 0x0b a subtle typo). I edited the conf file to suit , retried and it uploaded ok.

However , I suspect any other ATMega168 boards with the correct signature (assuming original conf is correct) will now fail until I reset the file.

FYI use file->preferences->settings tab to enable verbose mode when compiling or uploading sketches etc for more detailed messages.

aclertant (author)petesk82017-03-01

hi thanks for your help :)

But where is the avrdude.conf file ?


aschoots (author)TiagoT102016-08-02

I got the error too, but it worked anyways, try connecting it now!

Akin Yildiz (author)TiagoT102016-07-13

i've never seen this error before, might be a faulty board.. i suggest upgrading to nodemcu board, $5 onboard wifi;

Shivanng Puri (author)2017-02-24


i keep getting this errror

Arduino: 1.6.12 (Windows 7), Board: "Arduino/Genuino Uno"

avrdude: Error: Could not find USBtiny device (0x1781/0xc9f)

Error while burning bootloader.

This report would have more information with

"Show verbose output during compilation"

option enabled in File -> Preferences.

HarshK53 (author)2017-01-29

Hey I tried to do as you said but mine error says:

avrdude: verification error; content mismatch

Error while burning bootloader.

please help

Akin Yildiz (author)HarshK532017-01-31

sorry not familiar with this error, suggest doing a google research :/

PauloL15 (author)2017-01-14

Many thanks Akin. Your trick works very well. My arduino nano had
stopped working after an incorrect manipulation of an array size. After I have fixed the bootloader it works fine. Thank you again.

Akin Yildiz (author)PauloL152017-01-17

great news.!! and yes they do get confused sometimes and need a reboot :)

JahanR (author)2016-12-31

Thank you so much, Akin. I had been struggling with this problem for a long time (several years, in fact). Your tutorial helped me get the clone to work and I can continue to use this instead of the Uno (it's a lot cheaper and smaller). Once again, many thanks!

Akin Yildiz (author)JahanR2017-01-07

thank you very much, glad to hear it helped out.!!

ShehzadM2 made it! (author)2016-12-21

i recive this error while burning the boot loader to nano 3.0 i did every thing right i need help.

Akin Yildiz (author)ShehzadM22017-01-07

do you check the correct COM port and Board from Tools menu.? this error usually suggests one of these options is selected wrong.

f4hmie (author)2016-10-19

many thanks Akin, I thought I had Bought broken arduino nano :D

Akin Yildiz (author)f4hmie2016-11-01

i should count how many times people say that :)
honestly its very hard to break arduinos, and if you think you did break it, just follow these steps again. most likely it will come back to life, unless you really did burn smtg electrical. thank you for the interest. please check out my main project & share;

cityboy2 (author)Akin Yildiz2016-12-31

I did it, thanks.

TimL63 (author)2016-11-25

I ran into a problem, getting error: avrdude: Error: Could not find USBtiny device (0x2341/0x49)

The problem was: : "ArduinoISP" versus "Arduino as ISP" for the programmer choice.

Akin Yildiz (author)TimL632016-12-04

thank you for sharing the solution!!

RaduS15 (author)2016-11-05


I tried this tutorial multiple timeson both windows and mac using an arduino uno and a custom PCB with an AtMega 328p microcontroller on it. I'm not able to burn the bootloader no matter what. I keep getting avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00 Any advice would be greatly apreciated

Akin Yildiz (author)RaduS152016-11-08

do you have the right port chosen.? sounds like there is no communication with the arduino and usb COM port on your computer..

baubusiukas made it! (author)2016-11-01

Thank you! It made my nano clones usable.

DarkEvERaider (author)2016-09-23

Thanks, this helped a lot with my nano clones.

great to hear that, hope you get some cool projects done :)

Half-Life (author)2016-08-22

@akin please update the tutorial with this image:

Akin Yildiz (author)Half-Life2016-09-01

done, thank you :)

BenjaminG64 (author)2016-08-28

massive thank you, got my nano up and running in minutes

Akin Yildiz (author)BenjaminG642016-09-01

great news.!! thank you for checking it out

JohnD184 (author)2016-08-05

I have been beating my head against the proverbial wall for a week trying to get this dumb arduino nano to work! most things I've found until now have just said to install a driver for the chinese knockoff but none of that worked. other places said to hit reset right before you hit download, but that didnt work either. Turned out it just didnt have a boot loader pre-installed! duh! so THANK YOU! THIS WAS A FANTASTIC TUTORIAL! solved all my issues... well.. at least the ones I was having with this board.. lol

Akin Yildiz (author)JohnD1842016-08-18

:) no head beating anymore.. glad it worked out for you.!!

Payoff (author)2016-08-18

wow thank you! This worked for my 3 Arduinos with an CH340G Chip. I followed also an Tutorial that use only the PWM Ports and the Reset Port, but that didn't worked for me. The ISCP way worked like a sharm!

Akin Yildiz (author)Payoff2016-08-18

nice, great to hear it worked out.!!

aschoots (author)2016-08-02

Thank you so much! Mine worked but stopped working for some reason, this fixed it!

marzsolt (author)2016-07-29

Ok, I've been fighting with this thing more than I wanted to. I tried downloading drivers for all my systems (El Cap, Win10, Debian) - none of them seemed to work. The board just wouldn't get recognized. Then I found this article - so I tried to burn the bootloader, with success! Though when it came to test it again through the USB port, the serial wouldn't show up.

TURNS OUT - the USB to mini USB cable I've been using is not good enough! I had this (working) cable that I used to charge a bunch of my gadgets, but aparently it's not good enough for the Arduino. So by switching to my (expensive) GoPro USB cable, lo and behold, it started working!

I got 3 nanos from China, but after I found out the cable was the problem, I tried all of them and they all had bootloaders and everything was working out of the box. I didn't even need to install a driver on my linux machine (Pine64), was working as is.

If you're having issues like me - just get a better cable!!

Akin Yildiz (author)marzsolt2016-07-31

yes very important issue.. you cable is not "bad" it just designed for charging.


there are two types of usb cables. ones just to charge devices and others that can charge & transfer data. if you want to buy online, you have to search for "usb data cable" and it will work :)

MilosG7 (author)2016-07-30

Thank you! It worked for me!
One little tip: It is not necesary to use the ICSP pins on the bricked Arduino!
You can juts connect it directly:
working arduino pin 13 to pin 13 of bricked arduino
working arduino pin 12 to pin 12 of bricked arduino
working arduino pin 11 to pin 11 of bricked arduino
working arduino pin 10 to pin RST of bricked arduino
GND to GND, and VCC to VCC

Akin Yildiz (author)MilosG72016-07-31

nice to hear that it worked. great tip about the ICSP pins :).

SamaraB2 (author)2016-07-03

Really work, but in the third step, I selected the arduino working, not the nano.

tobiass25 (author)2016-06-26

Everything works... except, when I connnect the 2 arduinos together and plug the working one in, the lights on it stop and im unable to select the port. It is basically like I connected it directly with the USB on the nano (unworking)

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