The Pro Mini is a powerful little micro-controller board. It is a smaller derivative of the Arduino Uno which fits directly on a breadboard. It also uses an external Serial to USB converter for programming, making it a cost effective solution to leave inside a project. This tutorial will show you how to assemble a Pro Mini, and get it ready for your next project!
To setup your Pro Mini, you will need some straight and right angle headers. The tools you will need are a basic soldering iron with a good clean tip, and a wire cutter to cut the headers into the correct lengths.
Step 1: Cut Headers
The first thing we are going to do, is cut all the headers to the different sizes we will need. We will need a 1 x 6 pin right angle and a 2 x 12 pin straight.
The second picture shows all the pieces, cut and ready to be soldered together. Most headers come in lengths of 40 so you should have plenty left over for some of your other projects!
Step 2: Soldering Straight Headers
Next, we will solder the straight headers to our Pro Mini. The easiest way to do this is to put the headers on your breadboard with the correct spacing to match the Pro Mini. A lot of people are afraid of doing this, in fear of melting the breadboard. I find that it is very hard to melt the breadboard when soldering this way, unless you spend too much time on one pin. It also insures that the headers are straight, and will easily plug in and out of the board.
Place the Pro Mini on the headers facing out and begin soldering. Everyone has their own soldering technique. Some use external flux, others use rosin core solder. We like to use the rosin core solder since it works very well for soldering headers.Be careful not to touch any of the components and accidentally solder them off.
Step 3: Soldering (cont.)
Apply some solder to the tip of your iron, and then heat the pin you are trying to solder. Give it a second or two, and then add the solder directly to the pin. If the temperature is right, (about 780 F) you should have picture perfect solder joints!
Step 4: Soldering 6 Pin Right Angle Header
Next, you can add the 6 pin right angle header to the Arduino Pro Mini for programming. It is common practice to keep female headers on the power side, to prevent accidently shorting it on a metal surface. This is why we chose to use the male headers on the Pro Mini, since it will be powered with the FTDI.
Flip it over and begin soldering all the pins. Check your work between soldering pins, making sure the header stays straight.
Step 5: Finished
Your completed Pro Mini should look something like this.
If you have any questions about this tutorial, don't hesitate to post a comment.