Ardweeny 2 - How to Customize an Ardweeny




Since I discovered the Arduino micro-controller last October (2010) I have been fascinated by their versatility and ease of use, however I personally find that they tend to be on the bulky size and expensive for some of my permanent projects. I then discovered the Ardweeny and I just love their size and price; after purchasing a few, I made some personal improvements, especially after blowing the ATmega328 on one of them and finding it a pain in the derrière to replace it.

The concept is simple: reverse the PC board and solder the components on the opposite side, this way a socket for the ATmega328can be added along with some strip headers for versatility.

These modified versions are meant to be used in small permanent projects, they are not suited to be used in bread boards like the stock units (although with two strips of long male headers they could be used that way) keep in mind that the serial interface is obstructed making them inconvenient to program while installed in the bread board.
If you wish to use them in bread board, follow the kit instructions to the letter, my only suggestion and recommendation is to add female headers instead of the provided strips, see step 4 - Installing the Female Socket Strips, this way you get an extra set of connections to use when plugged into a smaller bread board.

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Step 1: Tools and Material:

What is needed:

Ardweeny kit
1  28 Pin DIP Socket
2  Female Socket Strip - Strip of 6
2  Female Socket Strip - Strip of 8
Optional:  different color LED (I like blue :)


Soldering Iron and solder
Helping Hands
Precision diagonal cutters

Step 2: Installing the First Components


From here on just follow the instructions that come supplied with the Ardweeny except that you need to install the component on the opposite side of the small PC board , the one without the white labels and take your time to make sure you install the components in the corresponding assigned holes.

Step 3: Installing the Serial Strip Connector

When you get to the 6 pin serial strip connector, use the opposing alligator clip to hold the serial strip header into position for soldering.

Step 4: Installing the Female Socket Strips

1) Insert one 6 and one 8 Female Socket Strip on one side.
2) Insert the 14 pins male strip headers on top of the two female headers to keep them aligned.
3) Repeat step 1 & 2 for the opposite side.
4) With both headers in place and aligned, turn upside down for soldering.

Step 5: Installing the 28 Pin DIP Socket

The 28 Pin DIP Socket pins need to be slightly bent. I did this by using the edge of a table and gently pressing them outwards to about 45 degrees. Take your time, slowly increasing the angle until the bent pins align in width with the header width on the PC board.

Once the pins are bent to satisfaction, align it on the board and I kept it in place with a small rubber band before soldering..

Step 6: Using the Serial Interface

Since I have a few Ardweeny now, I needed more than one USB serial interface and found out that the new ones changed the design slightly from the first one I received, making them thicker and hard to plug into my units with female header pins installed. I got around it by using another 6 pin female header pin as an extension and it works like before the smaller form factor change.

Step 7: Final Notes

I am working on a small project that will use one of these Ardweeny 2 and will refer back to this Instructable for details, stay tuned.
*UPDATE: Here it is :

I decided to have different color LED for each so it makes them easier to identify.

These could be used to program single chips as well or to test them; maybe by using a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force socket) instead of the regular 28 pin socket, but the form factor is not too practical.

At the beginning I mentioned that these are meant to be used in small permanent projects, they are not suited to be used in bread boards; if you wish to use them in bread boards, follow the kit instructions to the letter, my only recommendation is to add female headers instead of the provided strips, see step 4 - Installing the Female Socket Strips , this way you get an extra set of connections to use when plugged into a smaller bread board.
The picture below shows two breadboard units with the female header pins on one of my projects.

Hope you find this useful.


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    10 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    is it possible to mod this and somehow put additional flash space on it? I like the Idea of the ardweeny but the flash space is too small for what I want to do.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea. I never bought an Ardweeny because it would be hard to replace if the Atmega went bad. This solves that problem.

    The other problem I didn't like is that the Atmega pins are sticking out and could be subject to static electricity (ESD), this also helps with that concern.

    Great job of innovating.

    Lazy Old Geek

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I think you said in this Instructable that you had a standard Ardweeny with a bad AtMega chip.

    I am curious if you've had AtMegas fail in any of your other 'Arduinos'. I am wondering that maybe soldering on the AtMega pins may have 'damaged' the chip with heat or static. When I was employed in the electronics industry, I did some research on ESD, electrostatic damage. In many cases, the ESD can occur but the device won't fail until days, weeks or months later.



    8 years ago on Introduction

    I use these things:
    Only 2.99, but without MCU, similar to Ardweeny, and it's socketed. You can replace the male headers w/ female ones if you don't want to use it w/ a breadboard. The guy also sells them on eBay. I like the ICSP header, which I use w/ my USBtinyISP. to use an FTDI cable, you would have to plug it into a breadboard and wire it up.

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I also really like the cost and simplicity of the Ardweeny and I have used them on breadboards exactly as described in the Solarbotics instructions.  You say that they are not suitable for breadboards which is the whole need for your mod.  Why do you say they are unsuitable for breadboards?  Aren't they as suitable as any DIP?  The only thing I have found using them in breadboards is that if you leave the programming cable attached during development you may accidently remove the chip from the board if the cable is jostled.

    Best Wishes

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hello Maewert, I didn't say that they Ardweeny is not suited for breadboards, only the ones with my modification as they are for stand alone small projects.
    You will see what I mean once I post my next project with one of them that has my modifications.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I see now, your modified Adrweenys (Ardweenies?) are not intended for breadboarding. Sorry I misunderstood :-)