Introduction: The Ardweeny: the Little Friend of the Arduino (and How to Beef It Up)
Open-source hardware? Arduino(tm) is the first name to come to mind! As great as it is, sometimes we need a small microcontroller solution for a project, or a stripped-down version for cost-effectiveness.
The Ardweeny is the solution. These small kits are 100% compatible with the Arduino programming environment, are very small, (and unlike the regular Arduino) they can fit on a breadboard. Oh, and they're quite inexpensive too!
In the regular configuration, you build the backpack, and have it sit on top of the IC, soldering the leads to the legs of the Atmel microcontroller. Although convenient, it exposes the legs to unwanted bending.
This Instructable by Solarbotics Intern Rudy Bernard shows how you can build your Ardweeny with stiffer extra-long socket-headers that protect the fragile microcontroller legs and the topside programming pins.
Step 1: Parts You'll Need
- Ardweeny kit (Solarbotics part # : KARDW)
- 2x 6-Pin Header (HVWTech part #: FPin6L-413)
- 2x 8-Pin Header (HVWTech part #: FPin8L-413)
- Soldering equipment (soldering iron / solder / cleaning sponge) (HVW tech soldering tools)
- A pair of Needle-nose pliers (HVWTech part #: 43060 or 43061)
- A pair of Flush Cutters (HVWTech part #: 43040)
- Safety Glasses - VERY important when clipping and snipping! (Solarbotics part #: 5330)
Step 2: Soldering of the Capacitors
Start with the 0.01uF capacitors. They aren't polarized so you can position them in the way you want as long as you put one each into rectangle C1 and C2.
Snug them down, solder them in, and trim off the excess leads poking out from the bottom of the PCB.
Step 3: Soldering of the Resistors
You have 2 resistors with different values, so you will have to take care with them.
Let's start with the resistor R1 - 10k (brown / black / orange / gold). Bend it over with a pair of needle-nose pliers like the picture below and put it in the R1 rectangle. Solder it in place, and snip off the excess lead underneath
Do the same thing with the R2 - 470 ohm (yellow / purple / brown / gold).
Step 4: Soldering of the Resonator and LED
Put the 3-lead resonator in the "Xtl" rectangle. It is not polarity sensitive, so which-way-around does not matter. Solder and snip, like with the resistors & capacitors.
However the LED have a polarity so you will have to take care which way it is installed.Take a close look at it and find the flat side of the LED. The flat side is the cathode, which also has the shorter leg of the two (the other, longer lead is the anode). The flat-side goes to the square pad on pcb. You can also see a flat side on the silk screen.
Step 5: Soldering of the Push Button and the Programming Header
The push button is the reset switch of the Arweeny. This one is very simple to soldering. Stick it in and solder it down!
The header is use to program the Ardweeny. You can help yourself by using masking tape to hold it in place. Try to solder one leg first and look on the top if the header is sitting straight up and down, and in all the 6 holes. If not, you only have to heat one header and move the header at the right place.
Step 6: Cleaning of the Pcb Bottom
Let's check that the bottom of the PCB is nice and clean. To give the maximum possible space for the integrated chip (IC) you must cut all the legs of every components, nice and short.
Nothing should be poking out any more than 1mm (3/32"), as we want to snug the backpack PCB as close to the IC as we can!
Step 7: Customization 1: Soldering the Socket Headers
Let's make our Ardweeny stronger than stock! Instead of using the two sets of 6-pin and 8-pin strips, we are going to use the longer, stronger 6 & 8-pin socket headers!
An easy way to solder the socket headers is to put them all first, flip it over, and solder them. Again (like with the programming header), start by soldering only one pin per header to make sure they are all sitting nice and flat to the PCB, and in a straight line.
When you are sure they look nice and neat, solder the rest of the pins to the PCB.
Step 8: Prepare the Chip to Receive the Backpack
We normally wedge the regular PCB backpack onto the chip and start soldering, but as we're using the beefy socket-pin strips, we have some additional preparation to do.
Using your pliers, bend each pair of legs in flat against the IC. This will make it fit the spacing between the new legs much easier.
Step 9: Cutting the Legs Off the Atmel
Now we get nasty! Let's use the flush-cutters to snip off the narrow, weak, wimpy legs off the Atmel microcontroller.
This step lets us keep the side-to-side spacing of the Ardweeny at 300mil which will may it fully compatible with a breadboard or any 300mil DIP socket.
Step 10: Soldering of the Atmel to the PackPack PCB
Here the most critical part of this project. The soldering of the Ardweeny.
You must first put the chip on the right side. Don't solder it in backwards! It's a real chore trying to fix a chip soldered in the wrong-way around!
Look closely at the Atmel chip - it has a little notch or recess on one of the narrow ends. The Ardweeny pcb has a similar line drawn on the end of the PCB (the opposite side to the push button). Check out the picture below to confirm you have it right!
Once you are positive you have things lined up correctly, squeeze the Atmel chip between the leads under the Backpack PCB, so the top of the IC mates with the the bottom of the PCB.
If you are having some trouble lining things up, use a breadboard to hold the PCB upside-down and steady with the programming pins.
Again, use the "single-pin" soldering technique: After soldering the first leg of the chip, make sure the chip is correctly in place on both sides. All looks good? Excellent - finish soldering, using as little solder as you can. Too much solder can blob down the pins, and make it hard to use with a breadboard!
Step 11: Enjoy Your New Ardweeny :D
Now that have finished your super Ardweeny you are now able to do all your project. You can use an FTDI adapter (USB to Serial adapter) for programming your new Ardweeny!
Here are also a few other variations of how to use your Ardweeny.