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Picture of The RRRRRRRRRRBBA, a $3 Arduino
Hey, we all LOVE the Arduino, and for my projects I make extra sure that I used the Arduino platform, so that everyone in the artist and hacker community could springboard off it for their own projects, and so that I can springboard off them. Its so universal and easy to learn!   But,  there are a few things THEY don't want you to know about the Arduino:

Starting with the SHOCKING REVELATION THAT....



Step 1: For a microcontroller, the Arduino is NOT CHEAP!

Picture of For a microcontroller, the Arduino is NOT CHEAP!
RRRRRRRRRBBA.png

1. the Arduino is NOT a cheap microcontroller!

When Arduino-lovers like me say "Wow, the Arduino is such a cheap microcontroller!" this is not strictly true -- it is very cheap for what it is, but type "microcontroller" into Mouser's search box and you will find microcontrollers that cost 30 cents, not 30 dollars.

thats because....

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stepdude5 months ago

Great guide!

For Caveat #4, how about taking this instructable one further and building your own RS232 adapter using another cheap microcontroller with a USB interface ;)

hi, i am using arduino with firmata skecth, is it possible to use firmata on an atmega?

blackcamo5 months ago
cool, OK, thanks for the effort
but just to clarify- arduino IS really cheap nowadays...
https://sites.google.com/site/arduinouk/ ?

When building a permanent circuit though, who wants to use a whole arduino to power it? Better to just use the programmed chip, which is what this is about.

What you are most likely doing when you throw the lilypad loader in is simply setting the fuse bits so that it will run off the internal clock.
Add an external crystal, and a couple capacitors for good measure, and you can take the ATmega328P off the Arduino and make a circuit just like yours, and it'll work - AT TWICE THE SPEED that yours does. If you set the fuse bits so that it uses the internal 8MHz clock, even with the Arduino bootloader, your circuit would work. It's about the clock, not the bootloader. If you want to make it much more friendly, add an ICSP header, and a header strip for the pins so you can still prototype, and then you have something really useful. If you have made a project on the Arduino you really like, use your circuit with a 16 MHz crystal across the XTAL pins, with a 22pF cap from each pin to ground, and you can take the chip off the Arduino board to make your project have it's own dedicated processor without taking up your expensive Arduino board.
Here's a couple boards I made - one with an Arduino, and one with an ATmega32A
CIMG1970.JPGCIMG1984.JPG
If you're asking "Where does the power go" - well, you can power it from your programmer which plugs into the 10 pin header, or you can just hook power into pins 2 (+Vcc) and any of 3, 4, 6, 8, or 10 (GND) of the ICSP header. If you are wondering about the 2 capacitors on the mini-duino, they are on the bottom. I developed these for my first prototype of the LED cube. Since ALL the drivers and transistors etc. were all on my prototype controller board, I made these so that I wouldn't be limited by only 1 kind of microcontroller. I eventually then made a single controller that allowed either of these chips on the same board. I kept these controller boards for prototyping though, and they work great! They are also great for pre-programming chips for people or fixing the fuse bits.

If you're now wondering what the heck the LED cube is, you can see it in action here.


CIMG2532.JPG
why don't just buy cheap arduino?
https://sites.google.com/site/arduinouk/
I mean, OK I get the idea, but it got really cheap...

Would you mind making an instructable on making one of these boards, please?

ipfone4 years ago
Whit a 16 k ressonator you don´t need the capacitors and you can run at normal speed.. so all your scripts will run with no problems. Don´t forget that all arduino ide uses 16 mhz and not 8 mhz....
bmlbytes ipfone4 years ago
The ATMega chip will run on a 8MHz crystal though, it will just process information slower.
Agree.. but the problem is the arduino IDE .. not the fact that it does run or does not.
zootalaws cmiklos7 months ago

Sorry pal, that is bad information you are giving out.

There are certain AVR chips that run at 8MHz that aren't supported, but there are 8MHz Arduino that are, as you can see:

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 8.30.24 am.png
ipfone zootalaws7 months ago

Now it is.. 3 years ago...no... as you can see my comment was not made yesterday...

LcysL1 year ago

You can find cheaply here:

http://www.mivarom.ro/catalog/advanced_search_resu...

Or at least for reasonable price. It's a Romanian site, but they might send in other countries as well. The cheapest orders have to be around 7 $ US

zootalaws LcysL7 months ago

The 328P is 10 leu - about US$3.

For less than US$3 you can get an entire Arduino Nano with free shipping...

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1P-HOT-USB-Nano-V3-0-ATmega328P-5V-16M-2014-Micro-controller-Board-For-Arduino/32258251789.html

Hello Everyone, I live in Brazil and where I live is very dangerous ... I mean people steal you everytime is like Gran theft Auto sooo I want to make a Cheap gps tracker for me and my fellows, I can use this $3 arduino and put a gps to work in this ?
do anybody have a link from a cheap gps too and a tutorial about how to make it?

Ive seaching during a long time for a project to make
.. Very Thanks and Help me please!

Yeah! but you also need a GSM shield for communication. Check this out: http://www.instructables.com/id/Athena-The-Global-Car-Tracking-System/?ALLSTEPS

Hello the shield is so expensive im trying to find a way to make one less expensive

the shield is 160 reais = $ USD 70 and a car tracker in the web shop u can find for is 100 reais = 50 $ USD

ive found this guy who make mini shield so im trying to figure a way to make one with the function of the SIM900 GSM/GPRS Shield Module
I also found this 16.20€ gsm/gprs & gps shield


but still expensive cuz libras are more valuable than dolar one libra costs 3,70 reais

US$16 - complete GPS/GPRS tracker: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Hot-Sale-MINI-Portabel-Realtime-monitoring-GPS-personal-locator-GPS-GSM-GPRS-gps-tracker-car/1962061750.html

* 80 $USD = 160 reais

Forget this 4 year old tutorial - you can buy an entire Arduino for US$2-$3.

And there are SIM900A+GPS modules for about $8.

The two of those, plus an antenna, power connector and a box to store it in, should only cost about $20 in total.

Or... buy one that works out of the box for $16 delivered to Brazil: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Hot-Sale-MINI-Portabel-Realtime-monitoring-GPS-personal-locator-GPS-GSM-GPRS-gps-tracker-car/1962061750.html

I know this is from ages ago but check this out: http://b.leppoc.net/2011/04/23/operation-lo-jack/ If you have a simcom module and a UNO you're most of the way there. Then pick up a cheap GPS serial receiver for a few $. Just remove/leave out the RFID stuff and have a simple switch or something.

SamuelA310 months ago

THE PINOUT!

oh my gosh thank you for the pin conversions! Throw one of these on a breadboard, ftdi it, lil bit of fiddling and its an arduino! thanks for figuring this out, £45 per project i wanted to leave implemented was getting really restictive

While in 2010 this was correct, now It is more expensive than buying an Arduino.

You can buy a complete 16MHz Nano or Pro Mini for about $3. With USB, power rectification, SPI, LEDs, all that good stuff.

If you were paying 45 quid for your project 2 months ago, you aren't shopping smart. I only pay US$8 for a Mega2560. Don't be suckered in by European prices - import your own.

Matjo1 year ago

What is the cheapest option for arduino + wifi? I want to add arduino devices to my cloud. :)

Timv1 Matjo8 months ago

The cheapest wifi I have found is the ESP8266: http://www.instructables.com/id/Using-the-ESP8266-module

koolaid1994 Matjo9 months ago

You probably don't want to go with wifi, its way expensive. I'd suggest getting an ethernet module, they go for $3 on eBay. Since the IC is so cheap, you could just grab a few transmitters and have them interface with the cloud through the one. It's what I plan on doing :)

+1

or if you want a lot of devices connected, just get one Ethernet module and (then the hard part) write your own spi communication procedure and have all the decives comunicate with the one connected the the Ethernet for relay onto the cloud. Kinda your own mini cloud

Raphango10 months ago

You're so right man... u.u,

Everyone should know it. +D

Thanks for sharing!

zootalaws1 year ago

While your $3 really cheap arduino was a great idea when you wrote it, I now buy Arduino Pro Mini's, headerless (but with included headers if I want to use them), for US$2.

So that's a complete Arduino, with LEDs, voltage regulators, etc. for just $2.

For another buck I can buy a USB-equipped Nano v.3.0.

Whoa man, send me a link?

Thanks for that :)

No worries. There are a bunch of sellers selling the same boards.

Personally, now I buy "Baite" boards - they seem pretty good - well made, reliable, etc. They are about a buck more than the ones I sent the link.

Baite is the manufacturer, they also sell on Aliexpress. I have bought their boards cheaper from other sellers, but the guy at Baite will discount if you buy a few. He was the one I paid $2 from.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/812021

So the quality is good? (for a cheap clone)- and they come with the bootloader installed i assume? and maybe the usual fuse to avoid damage to host computer? :)

Thanks for the help, ill definitely pick up a uno first; but i would much prefer something i can just leave in my projects :)

Good quality board, bootloader installed and dunno about the fuse... cant see anything on the schematic.

Not that technical, sorry.

chaporey1 year ago

can any one help me out! i have the Arduino Duemilaove with 328p microcontroler. i want to make a really cheep solution i want to run two servos in sweep with just the microcontroller. and can seem to figure it out can someone give me some suggestions?

so this is the ''clone'' of the arduino duemlianove with the same features?????

BGreenHVAC1 year ago
Thanks, this is what I am looking for.
Personally I find it much easier to just make a chip w/ a 16MHz clock and be able to put any old boot-loader on it. I like using optiboot, a sketch that allows you to use your arduino (I use an uno) to bootload a chip. Then you can just stick that chip in the arduino to program.

The cost isn't that much greater:
ATMEGA328P $2.24 
Crystal 16MHz: $0.46 
(2 )Ceramic Disc Capacitors 22pF: $0.22
Optiloader: free sketch
Total: $2.92 for a 16MHz microprocessor running standard arduino bootloaders. Can be bootloaded and programmed w/ a $30 UNO.

Now I just want to find a cheap battery solution. I wish they sold 5V a dime a dozen like AA. If anyone knows of anything let me know. I'd prefer to just have to hook it up w/o any other wiring.
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