so u want to take an Arduino or clone with you so you can probably tinker wherever you are?
given certain means..
With this you can make test circuits, bash out an idea, show friends cool things that it can do. and so on.
You could probably make it usable with any computer with a serial port (or usb) with the right cable (depending on the board).
This is my entry for the Pocket Sized contest.
For my version I will be using a homebrew board of mine. it has TTL header pins, reset, power LED, digital pins and analogue pins, and a power rail. it has a 9v battery connector on it and the 7805 regulator is protected from power feedback but a diode, so there is no problem with powering it via another 3-5v source. But the board making isn't a part of this ible, so I wont be talking about its construction, (that's here: www.instructables.com/id/Compact-Protoboard-Arduino-type-thing-yea/).
On this board I will have loaded Bitlash ( a bit-bashing program and libs from ( http://bitlash.net/ ) that allows you to control the board and its pins (also its eprom) from any serial terminal interface. This makes it a little easier to try things out directly on the board instead of using the Arduino IDE software, and also means you don't have to carry that too.
Step 1: Kit Contents:
So what would you need to take with you?
Primarily some type or Arduino would be nice:
there are several small boards, bare bones ones, lilly-pad, boarduino.. just to name a few.
or you can make your own Arduino compatible board easily enough, and see how small you can make it. (like i have, though it is a prototype)
Secondly a Breadboard would be handy:
i have seen instructables on how you can make them. Mine is based on one such ible, although I didn't refer to it when I made it.
Also jumper wires for said Breadboard.
for making circuits would be a good thing too. Resistors, capacitors, transistors. LEDs etc.. but they can be carried in a separate container if you need many.. remember to keep it small. this is pocket sized after all ;)
and lastly a storage medium for this.
A Tin or a small plastic box, as long as it fits in your pocket easily. This could easily become a modular thing so try and keep other storage mediums small as well. small plastic tubes do well for components and wires.
Step 2: Getting It Together:
Gather up the main items you will be wanting..
For mine i used:
Nintendo mints tin.
Home made Arduino compatible board. (with a ATmega168).
Small breadboard. (made from 4 Floppy drive connectors).
Jumper wires (some varied sizes and some custom ones for connecting the pins on the 168 board to the breadboard).
Plastic or card to insulate the inside of the tin.
Sponge foam (preferably from an anti-static packaging) to hold things still in the tin better.
I would have preferred a slightly bigger tin to be able to hold more but I don't have one.
Step 3: Prepare the Tin..
I used Plastic card to line the inside of the tin to protect the boards while they were being used.
I also added a separator to divide the compartments for the board and breadboard, making sure there was space around them for wires and such.
Take 2 small pieces of the foam, or one larger bit (preferably flat-ish) and glue to the inside of the lid.
This will hold things still while the tin is in your pocket.
Step 4: Populate the Tin..
After making sure the tin is nicely insulated, place in the board and breadboard.
Make up a little test circuit to see how it looks..
And then fill the spaces around the breadboard with its jumper wires.
Also lay the board to board jumper wires (the custom ones) on top of the 168 board, and lay battery clip over them.
Place the lid on and the foam on the lid will help keep things from rattling around.
There is your basic Tin containing the main part of the kit. The arduino based board, and the prototyping breadboard and jumper wires.
You can also fit in components as there is still space in the tin, a small zip lock bag would fit nicely over the breadboard and over the 168 board if its packed flat enough.
If you can get, or make, a RS232 to TTL converter (or get a small usb to TTL adapter) you may be able to fit that in too.
Step 5: Final Thoughts..
Seeing as I am running Bitlash ( http://bitlash.net/ ) it makes it even more pocketable if I use my pocket pc (old battery is starting to fail but it works) with a serial converter (rs232 to TTL) to control it.
I wont go into what Bitlash is but you can read up on it via the given link. It just makes it even more portable.
Using another of the same tin that I have, I can store more components, and a battery, and maybe even a usb-TTL adaptor (i plan on making a small rs232 to TTL that will fit it).
So there will be 2 tins but they are still slim and will both easily fit in a pocket.
I even added a slimlined 256Mb usb key to the main tin that will hold all the software docs, and sketches if needed.
Step 6: Epilogue
A little later I got round to soldering up the rs232 to TTL level converter that I had sitting on my breadboard. so I tried to make it small so it would fit in the second tin without taking up too much room.
The 2 tins and my pocket pc means I can carry this all with me and mess with bit bashing, messing with small circuits in the move wherever I am.
Don't forget to vote and rate in the Pocket Size contest. there are many great entries there and many more to come ;)