Instructables
Picture of Standalone Arduino / ATMega chip on breadboard
If you're like me, after I got my Arduino and performed a final programming on my first chip, I wanted to pull it off my Arduino Duemilanove and put it on my own circuit. This would also free up my Arduino for future projects. 

The problem was that I'm such an electronics newbie that I didn't know where to start. After reading through many web pages and forums, I was able to put together this Instructable. I wanted to have the information I learned all in one place, and easy to follow.

Comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated as I'm still trying to learn all this stuff.

Edit:
Fellow Instructable member, Janw mentioned to me that it's always a good idea to add a capacitor or 2 near your power. He mentioned using a couple of 100nF capacitors should work. I'm very grateful he pointed this out to me, because my first production circuit that I'm building upon this circuit, was having a little bit of strange behavior. So I hooked up one 10uF capacitor near my power, and it started behaving correctly! I don't know why it didn't affect my 'blinking LED' test, but I do know that I'm grateful for Janw for pointing this out to me. Thanks Janw.

Edit2:
Building upon the previous edit, I wanted to mention that Instructable member, kz1o brought out some more information regarding the capacitors. Please see his comment below, dated February 14th, 2010 @ 10:52 am.

Update - This Instructable is on Hack a Day!

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 98Next »
C0UTZ6 months ago

Just wanted to say you've made an excellent Instructable here! I do have one question though; my script randomly resets partway through and I was wondering if this behaviour could be a result of using differently valued ceramic capacitors at the crystal. I am currently using 33pf, since this is just what I had available at home. It makes sense to me that this would be causing it, but just wanted a second opinion before I make the 1hr trip into town. Thanks, and once again, nice work!

smurfi1989 C0UTZ5 months ago

The 22pf capacitors are actual recommended by the datasheet of the 16Mhz crystal so this is actually a standard..

domiflichi (author)  C0UTZ6 months ago

Thank you for the kind comments. To be honest, I am no Arduino/electronic expert. What you could do is post your question to the Arduino forums -

http://forum.arduino.cc

They're really great and knowledgeable over there.

jatinbatra8 months ago
How do you program the board ?
domiflichi (author)  jatinbatra8 months ago
Hello. This is Instructable is meant to show you how to build a minimal Arduino circuit that you can use after you've programmed the chip. In order for you to program the chip on this breadboard, you would have to add some more components. Maybe someone else may want to chime in...
What if I want to use Serial communication on breadboard, do I need a breakout board ?
yhdesai9 months ago
m a beginner to arduino and atmega
what is use of Standalone Arduino / ATMega chip on breadboard
jeffrey_stjean10 months ago
First of all: Great instructable! Very clear and precise instructions!

Second of all: I've ordered all the parts and I want to begin making this project to replace my Arduino in a project that I'm currently working on. Only problem is, the project uses the Adafruit WiFi Shield (CC3000). How would I go about adding this onto the ATMega 328 chip?
domiflichi (author)  jeffrey_stjean10 months ago
Thank you for the kind words. I'm sorry but I've never worked with the WiFi shield before. However, if you look at this page:
http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-cc3000-wifi/connections
It looks like it tells you what connects to what. So you can just use jumper wires from the WiFi shield to your breadboarded Arduino (connecting them to the appropriate ATMega328 chip's pins on the breadboard). Check out Step 4 of my Instructable - the bottom right picture (pulled from Arduino's website) in particular - it shows you which physical ATMega328 pin correspond to the 'Arduino' pin name. Hope this helps.
Okay thanks a lot. That's what I was going to try doing but I wasn't sure if, in this project, all the pins that are on the arduino are also available when you re-create the arduino with the chip. What I mean is, since the wifi shield plugs into every port on the arduino, is there still every port when I make it using your instructable?
domiflichi (author)  jeffrey_stjean10 months ago
Yes all the same pins are still available (except for the ones that the wi-fi shield uses to talk to the Arduino/chip, although there may be exceptions to that) to you when you have the ATMega on the breadboard.
Okay thanks a lot :)
tiggman934 years ago
I believe that pin 13 has a built in resistor, but that may be on the p.c.b. itself.
Correct, it's on the PCB next to the onboard LED.
TxPilot2 years ago
This is a fantastic Instructable! Very nicely put together! I do have one question though that is related to the capacitors for the power. You mentioned above "So I hooked up one 10uF capacitor near my power" . Could you elaborate on that a little bit? Was the 10uF capacitor placed across the VCC and GND (Physical Pins 7 and 8 on the ATMega328)? If not where exactly did you place this cap? Also, do you need a cap for the AVCC (Physical Pin 20 on the ATMega328) as well?
A polarized capacitor is commonly used on any power source, often an Electrolytic such as the 10uf. On a positive supply such as Vcc place the negative lead to ground and the positive to Vcc. This dampens ring and other fluctuations in the voltage which can cause instability in the function of the device. Also a smaller one such as a .1uf or .01uf ceramic may be added as they tend to act to dampen higher frequency spikes "noise" on the supply voltage. A clean power supply always has good filtering.
domiflichi (author)  TxPilot2 years ago
Sure, I'm not even sure if I hooked this up properly, but what I did was place the negative lead of the cap right after the negative lead of the jack so it's basically 'between' the jack and the power rail of the breadboard that's connecting to the ATMega328. And the same goes for the positive lead of the cap - it's lead goes between the jack and the power rail.
If this isn't clear enough, I could probably take a photo and post it here.
And if I have this hooked up wrong, I would greatly appreciate it if someone with more knowledge would point it out and guide us to the proper way of hooking it up.
Thank you everyone for looking at my Instructable and thank you for leaving comments. I apologize for not really answering questions here. I feel that I am not qualified to do so, so I've been standing back and leaving it to the experts. ;)
Thank you for the reply. I did a little more research on this as well and thought I would post it here as well so anyone that runs across this would see the information. It sounds like two caps are recommended. These are being referred to as "Decoupling" or "Bypass" Caps. One across the VCC and GND (Pins 7 and 8) and another across the AVCC and GND (Pins 20 and 22) and it sounds like it is recommended that they be mounted as close to the pins on the ATMega328 as possible. (Make sure the the polarity is correct if you are using a polarized cap!) One of the explanations that I read about it says that this basically is was to pass any AC noise voltage to ground so that you are getting a clean DC voltage input. So getting the caps as close as possible to the pins makes sense in that you are basically cleaning up the noise at that point. .1uF caps are what is being used. A larger cap (10uF range) can also be used in the same way you did at the point where the voltage enters the breadboard or PC board. Hope this helps. :-) Cheers!

Redgerr1 year ago
I don't know if it's been said but this is the new link for the arduino chip... the ATmega328 with Arduino Optiboot (Uno)

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10524

Great guide, am going to use it as soon as some more chips arrive!
fotokid3 years ago
This is exactly the tutorial I was looking but the ATmega chip is so large that I can't use it on smaller projects. Do you know if I can program a smaller chip using my arduino?
There are plenty of different arduino compatible chips with varying amounts of outputs and features (and thus, size) You can get several of the common types with the bootloader preloaded from sparkfun's website or similar
You mean this?
http://hlt.media.mit.edu/?p=1229

It's a smaller avr chip, runs Arduino boot loader. Less capabilities of course..
This is what I have been looking for also. I have taken my setup Arduino 3 steps further. (It has not been with out a lot of difficulty, due to lack of feed back, as this has been an ongoing project for 3 months.) 1. Programming from the Serial I/O port of my desktop & laptop; 2 USB Programming via USBtinyISP Pocket Programmer from Adafruit from my desktop & laptop; 3. Interface board for the 8 pin dip chips ATtiny series using the USB Programmer from step 2. I hope to have my first instructable on these items posted shortly. I will answer questions as best I can until then.
Thanks!! set it up today and worked perfectly. Had to add the capacitor across the power otherwise it freaked out. well done

elzurdo862 years ago
You could also set up the internal clock and eliminate the crystal from the setup :D . I have recently programmed an Atmega48 using Arduino as an ISP. I will make an instructable about it.
unixtippse4 years ago
Great howto! Looks like a perfect way to cut much of the price for an arduino pro in a permanent installation by just using the bare-bones microcontroller. I didn't know that it's possible to buy the Atmega with pre-installed arduino bootloader. Sounds nice.
If it says arduino compatible it will come to you with the arduino boot loader all ready on it.
cblizza13 years ago
Could someone clarify this line:

"make sure you place it between the capacitors and the chip/microcontroller"

It was my understanding that each row of the bread board was a node in a circuit and it didn't matter what order (left to right) the leads are placed into it. Is this a correct understanding of nodes and rows on bread boards?

If so is there another reason the crystal needs to be between the capacitors and the chip?
I think he just means that you need to make sure that one cap is connected to each leg of the crystal rather than connecting both cpas to one leg
adam159 adam1593 years ago
*caps
Jimmacle3 years ago
Wonderful 'Ible. Easy to understand, and complete. I just recieved the parts from Sparkfun.com, and am about to try it out!
It worked perfectly.
Awesome instructions, Thank you SO much for sharing! It hasn't been very long that I started playing with arduino and this definitely cleared up some questions I was having regarding multiple arduino projects with just one board.

I'd like to know, can this board be used with any chip or does it have to be an Atmega chip? Also, would you happen to know how to modify this board to so that batteries are used instead of power jack? I have a few projects in mind that require the use of batteries so it would help me a lot.

Thanks again for sharing!
Mahox3 years ago
Does this also work with 20pF capacitors? Can't get 22pF over here...
johnpoole3 years ago
1ST reply here.. this is the best i've seen, not because others miss points but you're just getting started. you had to learn and document the steps as you went.. the results are great.. if you want to read a little on that cap you added to the power side, google pie filter.. old school to take the ripple out of any dc power supply.. your hardware side build is clear and precise.. thanks, keep playing with this and one day bill gates will work for you.. lol
purpulhaze3 years ago
Hey, what about the serial input? Where and how would you connect it?
At a guess.. You don't. This is for when you have done the programming, and built the project, and now you are ready to let it fly free with the smallest component count you can manage as a standalone boxed finished project.

All the pins are direct connections from the chip it's self anyway, so all you add are the external "non Arduino" components.
bhunter7363 years ago
I could re-iterate the previous comments, I agree completely. I would like to add that your use of photos is fantastic. You have included enough quality visual information that someone could simply mimic what you have done and have success! Very nice. :)
noik3 years ago
You made my day!, thanks, great information!
ZombieDUG3 years ago
This is really great, and was exactly what I was looking for today! Opens up a LOT of possibilities for hobby micro-controllers and custom boards. Can't wait to play around with this! Keep up the great work!
1-40 of 98Next »