Make your own Arduino

For under ten bucks you can make your own Arduino and gain a wonderful understanding of how they work. It also gives you the ability to custom make your Arduinos for whatever project you need it for and cheap enough to make permenent installs.

Here's how to make your own Arduino Uno on a breadboard

Lets start with a parts list...

First things first your gonna need a AVR programmer to make this work from scratch... or you also could use a Arduino if you already have one. Assuming you don't have a Arduino already you can either buy a already bootloaded chip or buy a programmer. I would gladly sell a bootloaded chip for a five spot... just leave a message in the comments or the forum.

1 x Atmel AT Mega 328p

2 x 22pF capacitors

1 x 16 MHZ Crystal

1 x Momentary switch (for resetting the chip)

1 x 0.1µF Capacitor (Capacitor for FTDI connection)

1 x 10kΩ Resistor

Another reality about this project you must face is the fact your gonna need a FTDI connector... for a few bucks you can buy one off ebay I would highly recommend it if you don't have one already they really come in handy for all kinds of projects. If you just gotta be DIY to the max (I've been accused of this..) you can build one yourself but really its cheaper to buy one. Eventually I'll put up a how-to on making your own.

FTDI connector

Now I would highly recommend making a nice little clean 5V+ power supply to power your Arduino projects and many other IC chip projects really.

Lets just go through how to do that right now.

So here's another parts list:

2 x 10µF Electrolytic capacitors

1 x 7805T 5V Regulator

1 x LED

1 x micro slider switch

1 x 150-250Ω resistor

9V battery clip

Here how you build the power supply...

In the pictures for the power supply I did not show the addition of the on-off LED indicator. Its a very easy and useful add-on.

Secure the perfboard and add the switch.

Add the rest of the components.

This is how all the parts connect electrically.

I like to try to use the leads to jump from one components to the next.

Here I started by soldering the switch...

...Then I soldered the rest of the components and used the excess wire from the battery clip to make bread board leads. For easy connection to bread boards I tinned the wire ends so they just plug right in.

Then I snaked the wire through to the top side of the board.

Using quick set epoxy I glued the battery clip on top of the soldered connections.

Heres its all nicely glued in place.

Then you just gotta cut the extra perfboard off.

and its done.

Now that you have a way to power your Arduino here's how to put it together.

Clean a space on your bread board.

Pop your chip into the center of your board and keeping the notch up. This means the pin 1 will be in the upper left hand side and pin 28 on the upper right hand side.Heres a link to the chips datasheet

Here's a pin map I borrowed from a great company called Spark Fun

Insert 16MHz Crystal Over Pins 9 And 10

Insert one 22pF capacitor between pin 9 and the ground strip on your bread board

Insert the other 22pF capacitor between pin 10 and the ground strip on your bread board

Put on your reset button at the top (above the notch) of your micro controller... I have it on the bottom in this picture but in the next pic I move it up

Add a 5V+ jumper from your positive power strip to pin 7 then add a ground jumper from your ground strip to pin 8

Now add a jumper from the ground strip to one side pin of your button

From the other same side pin on your button put a jumper to pin 1

You now can throw in the 0.1µF capacitor that will be used when you connect your FTDI connector from pin 1 to a open strip on your bread board

Add the 10kΩ resistor from pin 1 to the 5V+ strip... this will cause a 5V+ bump to flow to pin 1 when the button is pressed and it will trigger your micro controller to reset.

Connect pin 22 to the 5V+ strip... if your gonna use the right side power strips like shown in the picture remember to jumper the left side power strips to the right side to supply power

Add another 5V+ jumper to pin 21 then a jumper from 20 to the ground strip

Now if you didn't add a power on indicator LED on your power supply you can make a little indicator circuit on your bread board start by putting on the LED

Then add a 150Ω resistor from the ground strip to the negative side of the LED...the negative side(cathode) is the side with the shorter lead another way to tell is to look into the LED and see the lead that goes up to the bigger pan looking thing and that is the negative side ...some LEDs have a flat side on their round base that is also the negative side

Put a jumper from the 5V+ strip to the positive side(anode) of the LED

Here it is all done and ready for a project

Heres how to start using your Arduino

First you need to install the Arduino IDE which can be downloaded here

Now what you really need to know is how to hook up your FTDI connector to your Arduino

The FTDI has 6 pins in order as follows:







GND connects to the ground strip

CTS is left unconnected

VCC is connected to the 5V+ strip

TXD is connected to pin 2

RXD is conected to pin 3

DTR is connected to the capacitor that is connected to pin 1

Now plug in your FTDI USB end into your computer and install your FTDI drivers which can be downloaded from here