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When you need a small arduino with an good amount of I/O pins, the Arduino Mini is for you. This is one of my favorite microcontrollers for wearable tech projects because of its size.

Step 1: Materials

Arduino Mini

FTDI Basic

Male headers

Jumper cables or solid hook-up wire

Breadboard

Male A to Mini B USB cable

LED

Soldering Iron

Solder

Step 2: Prep Arduino

You only need to connect to four pins of the Mini in order to program it. To make it breadboard friendly solder 4 male headers to the TX, RX, 5V and ground pin. The ground pin is annotated with the schematic symbol. It looks like a little tree.

Step 3: Connect

The connections to make from the FTDI board and the Mini are:

GND >> GND

5V >> 5V

RX >> TX

TX >> RX

After the connections are made, take the USB cord, plug into the FTDI, then to a free port on your computer.

Step 4: Upload Sketch

Open the Arduino environment, go to:

File > Examples > Basics > Blink

Ok, so here's the trick, once you press the upload button it will say "Compiling sketch..." at the bottom of the sketch window. As it says this and right after you press upload, press the reset button on the Mini.

A quick way to check if the program is loading is to glance over to those glorious TX and RX lights on the FTDI, they will be flashing very fast if all is well. Meaning that the board and your computer are talking to each other.

Pick up the LED, connect the positive side to pin 13 (default in example sketch) and the ground to a ground pin. If it blinks, that means success!

If it doesn't, try the timing of hitting reset and check all of your connections.

Step 5: Test

<p>I have one of these and no pressing is required at all. However I have 6 connectors on my ftdi gnd tx rx vcc and a green and black wire not otherwise identified on the board </p>
<p>&quot;As it says this and right after you press upload, press the reset button on the Mini.&quot;</p><p>use the DTR line will ya?</p>
<p>In some situations the reset button needs to be manually pushed in order to program the Mini, but not in all. Based on your comment, it seems best to also include a circuit that uses the autoreset in addition to the alternative explained above. </p>
<p>I was initially thinking the same thing, but apparently it is slightly trickier to use the auto reset on upload on the new arduino mini 05 .</p><p>http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/ArduinoMini</p>
<p>the autoreset always works, no fail. pushing the reset button is more like an art one has to master</p>
<p>I've been using the auto reset on my arduino pro mini for ages. never has problem with it.</p>
<p>If i may add: the FTDI basic costs 14.95 USD, puhlease Way to expensive. can be had for around 1.20 USD at e.g. Aliexpress</p>

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Bio: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California ... More »
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