Arduino on a Breadboard

Breadboard Arduino Photo

To learn more about how Arduino works, I thought it would be interesting to build one from component parts on a small breadboard. This turned out to be surprisingly easy, once I figured out a few key things.

First, you can’t just buy the Microcontroller off the shelf, because it doesn’t have the Arduino Bootloader. Someday I’ll figure out how to get it on there, but for now it’s easier to just buy an Atmega328 with the bootloader already on it. Adafruit sells them for $6, Sparkfun for $5.50.

Second, you have to decide where to get the 16MHz clock signal from, whether a resonator or a crystal with caps. I went with the resonator because it seems easier. That’s not exactly a standard part I had lying around, so I ordered one.

Third, you’ll need something to communicate with the chip via USB. I’ve already got a Sparkfun FTDI Basic Breakout Board for connecting to Arduino Pro’s and Pro Mini’s. This is a handy board, everyone should have one. It just doesn’t make sense to have a USB/FTDI chip on every board when you really only need one.

The process is explained in precise detail on the Arduino site. This page, Building an Arduino on a Breadboard, explains it all. If you can follow instructions, you can make an Arduino on a breadboard for cheap, too.

From now on, I am done buying Arduinos. Next up: Make my own shield-compatable Arduino on a PCB.


Primary Parts

Qty Vendor Part# Description Price Comments
1 Adafruit 123 Arduino-bootloader speedy 2x upgrade chip (Atmega328) $6.00
1 Mouser 512-LM7805CT Linear Regulators – Standard 1A Pos Vol Reg $0.63 Datasheet
1 Mouser 647-UVR1E101MED1TA Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors – Leaded 25volts 100uF $0.04 Datasheet
1 Mouser 647-UVR1E100MDD1TD Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors – Leaded 25volts 10uF $0.03 Datasheet
1 Mouser 815-AWCR-16.00MD Resonators 16MHz 5V $0.32 Datasheet
1 Mouser 10KB011 Pushbutton Switches LT BU BDY RND RD CAP $1.30
1 Mouser 140-50U5-104M-TB-RC Ceramic Disc Capacitors 50V .1uF Y5U 20% Tol $0.18
1 Mouser 859-LTL-1CHE Standard LED – Through Hole Red Diffused $0.10
1 Mouser 859-LTL-1CHG Standard LED – Through Hole Green Diffused $0.10

Ancillary Parts

Qty Vendor Part# Description Price Comments
1 Sparkfun DEV-09716 FTDI Basic Breakout – 5V $14.95
1 Sparkfun PRT-00137 Breadboard Small Self-Adhesive (3.25″x1.75″) $5.95

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