This is a simple guide that will teach you how to get started with this cheap Arduino mini clone, covering all the steps one should do to make it work. Basically they are 4...
- Soldering PIN headers*
- Wiring it up
- Installing properly drivers**
..and this is the minimum required that you need to follow this guide:
- BTE13-010 (328p 5V 16Mhz - Arduino mini clone)
- CH340G (Serial_to_USB converter)
- Connectors (usually sold with BTE13-010)
- Some Dupont wires (at least 5 female-to-female cables)
- Tools and materials for soldering (see Yet another tutorial on how to solder by techrm)
But if you want to make a more accurate test, you can do a simple experiment. For that, you'll need:
- SG90 Mini servo
- 16x2 LCD display
- 10kOhm linear potentiometer or alternatively a 10kOhm resistor (to adjust the display contrast)
- Some Dupont wires
Before starting, we want to tell you that this tutorial can be used to install the drivers needed for all CH340G based Arduino clones. Also, this guide won't cover the soldering topic because of its complexity. So, if you are a beginner, we warmly recommend you to have a look at our first tutorial which explains the basics of soldering.
*Not strictly required but very useful if you are planning to use it on a bread-board.
**Arduino clones need specific drivers, different from the standard ones given with IDE
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Step 1: Soldering Pin Headers
As said in the introduction, in this step we won't explain how to solder because it would make the tutorial too long and, above all, because we already covered this topic in our first tutorial. So, take a look at it if you want to know more about soldering.
Let's just make a list of the steps required to properly solder headers to BTE13-010:
- Soldering headers can be pretty easy if you take advantage of a breadboard. Place them on it and then put Arduino over connectors.
- Brush pads with tinning flux.
- While Arduino is placed on the breadboard, only solder the four vertex joints. Why only four vertex? Because breadboard is made of plastic and if you accidentally hit it with your iron solder tip you'll damage it.
- Take Arduino (and its headers of course!) out of the breadboard by using a flat-head screwdriver.
- Go on soldering. A third hand will simplify this operation.
- The analogue header doesn't fit because of the reset button. Use sandpaper to make the analogue header thinner.
- Solder the last header
Check twice soldering joints and go to the next step.
Step 2: BTE13-010 and CH340G Wiring
See the Fritzing scheme attached or follow the instruction below to connect the Arduino clone to the serial-to-USB converter:
BTE13-010--------------CH340G DTR <-------------> DTR TXD <-------------> RXD RXD <-------------> TXD VCC <-------------> VCC GND NOT CONNECTED CTS GND <-------------> GND
Be careful, don't wire up TXD with TXD (or RDX with RDX)! To know why, read this understandable guide by Sparkfun about serial communication.
Note that DTR and GND serigraph of BTE13-010 is placed below the board.
Before plugging the USB-serial converter, set its switch to the proper voltage. it can be 3.3 or 5V, according to your Arduino clone model. Ours can work both at 5V and 3.3V.
Step 3: Installing Drivers and Loading the First Sketch
The following procedure works for all clones based on CH340G USB-to-Serial converter.
Installing CH340G drivers on Windows 7
Installing these drivers on Windows is very easy: just follow these steps:
- download the CH341SER.zip attached.
- unzip it.
- double click on CH341SER.EXE.
To make sure the installation has been successfully completed, go to the Windows device manager and check if you see something like shown on the first image attached above.
TIP: installing a new Arduino IDE version from .exe may overwrite CH340G drivers. That's why we suggest you not to install IDEs using .exe files but using portable versions. If you accidentally overwrite CH340G drivers, remove IDE & drivers and then install anything from scratch.
Installing CH340G drivers on Linux (generic)
Into the file CH341SER_LINUX.ZIP attached, there is a readme.txt: to install drivers, just follow the steps listed there and remember they only support "versions of linux kernel range from 2.6.25 to 3.13.x".
Uploading the first sketch
Now, plug the CH340G USB-to-Serial converter.
Before uploading the first sketch, set the correct Arduino version, its microcontroller and the COM port used. Have a look at the photos attached to know where to find these settings.
Obviously, change your settings according to your hardware!
Uploading the first sketch
In the IDE, go to:
and upload the sketch. If you have done all the previous steps correctly, the IDE should be able to communicate with your Arduino clone and upload the sketch and you'll be able to see the LED 13 (the blue one shown above) blink once per second.
Note that this procedure only works on those devices which already have a boot-loader installed. We have never burnt a boot-loader on Arduino but it looks like the Internet is full of tutorials about. Those are just two examples:
Step 4: Servo Motor Control
The test done in the previous step means your Arduino clone and the serial-to-USB work. But if you want to check if the rest of soldering joints work as well (and also have fun!), you can do this simple experiment.
Our sketch is based on the default "Sweep" with the addition of a 16x2 LCD display to print the rotation value. Basically it makes a mini servomotor rotate and shows on a LCD display the value of the angle.
We powered Arduino by using a computer (with the CH340G serial-to-USB converter) but you can power it directly by using an external power supply as well; set your power supply to 5V and just connect Vcc and GND.