Arduino on a Breadboard

Introduction: Arduino on a Breadboard

About: Hi! I'm Dave, and I've lived in China for about three years now. As my username suggests, I'm from California, so naturally, I miss the sunshine, the beaches, and the crisp evening air. In my spare time, I...

In the words of Make Magazine, the Arduino is an "immensely powerful microcontroller board that has taken the world by storm."
It offers the power of a traditional microcontroller while tremendously simplifying the programming process, making complex electronics projects easier than ever to design. Click here and here to learn more.

Several months ago, I built my own version of the legendary Arduino.

Here's what I used:

-ATMega328 microcontroller (with Arduino bootloader pre-installed)
-Silicon Labs USB-to-TTL converter
-16 Mhz crystal
-Green LED
-Jumper wires
-Solderless breadboard

To build your own Arduino, you'll need to install the Arduino software (found here) on your computer, as well as the drivers for the USB-TTL converter (found here). For more detailed instructions, please see Dale Wheat's article in Make Magazine, issue 25.


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    6 Discussions

    I simply added the 16Mhz crystal between pins 9 and 10, no capacitors whatsoever.

    It works fine for me, even without capacitors; the various wires and the metal strips inside the breadboard all contribute small amounts of capacitance. Besides, there were no instructions to add external capacitors when I read the article in Make, so the design must be somewhat reliable.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Crystal without capacitors? THIS IS MADNESS! No serious, how would it work?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It will work but most likely be very unstable. There is some trace capacitance between the wires and the breadboard strips but probably nowhere near the 20-30pF range normally used with crystals. It works, barely, but I would not recommend this design. The ATMega does support an external crystal without capacitance but it's optimized for 32.768Khz for the internal oscillator.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I've done this for 4 or 5 projects (without caps) and they seem to work fine so far...