Picture of L.O.G. $10 Arduino

There are probably thousands of articles on making an Arduino. So who needs another Arduino? Well, this Lazy Old Geek(L.O.G.) needs one. Here’s the features I would like:

Low cost
More permanent than a breadboard
Not a custom PCB
More prototyping area than a RBBB or Anarduino or Boarduino
Easier prototyping than just perfboards
Compatible with USB-BUB and my Arduino USB


Step 1: Parts List:

Picture of Parts List:


Most of the electronic parts were purchased or can be purchased and are priced from:


 Radio Shack Multipurpose PC Board with 417 Holes $2.19

1 AtMega328 IC bootloader  $4.00 (ebay?)
1 28 pin IC socket                   $0.07
1 16MHz resonator                  $0.17
1 10K resistor                          $0.01
2 0.1uFd capacitors                $0.02
1 6pin male header                 $0.02

Optional LED:
1 1k resistor                            $0.01
1 LED                                      $0.01

Optional 3V Aref:
(Don't install these unless your script requires Aref to be set to 3 volts.)
1 3.2K resistor                       $0.01

My Arduino USB                   $3.99

My calculations says that's about $10.50 for a working Arduino clone with USB. I think that's a pretty good price.

rondacosta3 years ago
Hi LOG, great and enticing tutorials. I am pondering a jump into de Arduino pool, but I have a nagging question: The '168 has only 16KB, the '328 has 32KB flash. How one can quantify that figure related to length of a shield (program)?? I dream of setting/monitoring 8 out/in ports continuously,,, how do I "guess" that my program will fit in such speck of memory? Thanks.
msuzuki777 (author)  rondacosta3 years ago
I don't have any good way of estimating program size.
My guess would be that what you're trying to do isn't going to take very much flash. One thing you can do is get the Arduino software, write your program and compile it. the software will tell you how much memory is needed.

On the other hand, I don't think you are going to save much money by trying to use a 168 versus a 328. Which ever one you choose remember that you have to get the bootloader already on it or find a way to get the bootload on it.

While 16K doesn't seem like very much memory, the program is written in a modified C++ code which is very efficient.

could i use this technique to duplicate the arduino mega?
msuzuki777 (author)  samswiftglasman3 years ago
The Arduino Mega is based on the Atmega 1280 or 2560 IC. From the datasheet, these only come in a surface mount or BGA (ball grid array) package. So I don't see how you could duplicate this on prototype board.

They do sell Arduino Mega PCB boards on ebay for like $5-8. But the two problems are: can you solder surface mount components (I cannot) and can you find an Atmega Mega bootloader IC or be able to program the bootloader code.

I spent most of a week trying to program some blank Atmega 328 IC with a bootloader and couldn't do it.

So, I hope that answers your question. I know I couldn't do it.

Hmm, I tried progarmming an empty 328 with a bootloader through my nano tonight and kept getting the dreaded sync error 015 or something. My best solution was not to use my 22 vesrion of the IDE but the 1.0. Worked like a charm
msuzuki777 (author)  diy_bloke3 years ago
That's good to know. I only recently heard about 1.0 and haven't tried but will do so.

oops. Ofcourse I meant the options in 1.0
mind you that the menu options in 2.0 are a bit different. you have to choose the programmer under directly Tools-programmer instead of under 'Burn bootloader
diy_bloke3 years ago
10.50 is definitely not expensive for an arduino clone, if you can get the parts indeed as cheap as you could (not possible everywhere). Overhere e.g. a 328 will cost me 6 euro's and then it has no bootloader in it.

Though ofcourse nothing beats the satisfaction of self built (or the agony if it doesnot work), but for $16.90 (14.30 Euro) one can get a completely ready nano clone:
or for 10.70 euro a arduino mini:
msuzuki777 (author)  diy_bloke3 years ago
The Nano 3.0 looks like a pretty good deal and unlike mine it includes the USB adapter. Also you might not be aware of this but the surface-mount Atmega328 has two extra analog pins. Also it is much smaller than mine.
I guess the only advantage of mine would be room to add extra circuitry.
By the way, I found it for US$14.79 on ebay:

That's with free shipping in the US.
Thanks for the feedback

2 extra analogue pins? no did not know that. Have learned something. Tnx
Pizzapie5003 years ago
Where would you get $.01 LEDs?
msuzuki777 (author)  Pizzapie5003 years ago
I bought mine from Tayda electronics.

I just checked and they went up to $.02 @.
Actually they do have a minimum order and charge a small S&H fee.

Robot Lover4 years ago
Did you make it based on a schematic or did you free-hand it? I only ask because I need to make your project and was wondering if you had one that I could have. Thanks!
msuzuki777 (author)  Robot Lover4 years ago
I mostly did it freehand but it is almost exactly like the RBBB schematic:

The power supply is not included.
I do not have the Reset button in the Instructable though I added it later in my 'Battery Reconditioner' Instructable.
I added the 3.2K resistor to change the ARef voltage.

Hope this helps.

Wow! that totally helps! Thanks a bunch!
MrAlbatross4 years ago
Where did you get the Arduino USB board for only $3,99?
msuzuki777 (author)  MrAlbatross4 years ago
I made it. Here's the Instructable.

So far that's the cheapest version, I could get to work. I've made about four of them.

Robot Lover4 years ago
Whats the difference between a crystal and a resonator?
msuzuki777 (author)  Robot Lover4 years ago
They basically do the same thing. There are three main differences.
The crystal frequency is more accurate.
The crystal requires two capacitors to ground.
Resonators are cheaper.

For most applications with the Arduino, either one should work. Apparently about the only situation where you might have trouble is if you are doing a Real Time Clock in software. That would be like if you wanted to time something for exactly 24 hours.

I've used both without any problems.