Arduino Clone V1

Full Arduino Clone V1 Photo

It seems like it’s a rite of passage for folks to build out their own Arduino compatible boards once reaching a certain level of proficiency. Indeed, for me I wanted to learn the Arduino platform more deeply by building it myself out of component parts. Also I am curious to see how cheaply I can make them.

On the cost front, the total comparable cost of this set of boards is $12.50 each, as compared to $19.95 for an equivalent-functional Arduino Pro from Sparkfun. Not bad! I figure if I did it using the iTeadStudio PCB service, these can be made for $7.80 each in quantity 10.


Primary Parts

These are the parts needed to have a fully-functional board, on par with an Arduino Pro from Sparkfun. I separate these out so I can have an apples-to-apples price comparison. Total cost of these parts is $6.61. (All parts listed are from Mouser).

Qty Vendor# Description Price Comments
1 556-ATMEGA328P-PU Atmel Microcontrollers (MCU) 32KB In-system Flash 20MHz 1.8V-5.5V $4.28
1 571-1-390261-9 IC & Component Sockets 28P ECONOMY TIN SKT $0.30
1 512-LM7805CT Linear Regulators – Standard 1A Pos Vol Reg $0.63 Datasheet
1 647-USR1C101MDD1TP Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors – Leaded 16volt 100uF 20% 85c 6.3X7 2.5LS $0.23 Datasheet
1 647-UVR1E100MDD1TD Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors – Leaded 25volts 10uF $0.03 Datasheet
1 815-AWCR-16.00MD Resonators 16MHz 5V $0.32 Datasheet
1 506-FSM4JSMATR Pushbutton Switches 6x6x5.0mm 160g 12000 $0.35 Datasheet
4 140-50U5-104M-TB-RC Ceramic Disc Capacitors 50V .1uF Y5U 20% Tol $0.18
1 821-1N4001 Rectifiers Vr/50V Io/1A T/R $0.16
1 604-WP7104HD Kingbright Standard LED – Through Hole RED DIFFUSED $0.06
1 604-WP7104GD Kingbright Standard LED – Through Hole GREEN DIFFUSED $0.07

Ancillary Parts

These are a few additional parts that are needed to really make the board fully usable. They (or something similar) would be needed also with a Pro.

Qty Vendor# Description Price Comments
1 517-974-01-36 Headers & Wire Housings 36P 1ROW STRT SOCKET $1.81
1 651-1935161 Fixed Terminal Blocks PT 1.5/2-5.0-H $0.34


My basic approach was to scrounge the Internet for Arduino clones and pick my favorite ideas from each one, to find a design that I was happy with.


Arduino as ISP Photo

Because I am using plain Atmega328’s from Mouser, I need to get the Arduino bootloader on them. This turns out to be fantastically simple. For one, it’s supported in the IDE, and clearly documented in the Arduino ISP Tutorial. Because I am building a total Arduino clone, all the pieces are in place. The last step is to insert the chip, connect it to another Arduino, and blast that bootloader on there. Simple!

For me, it turned out to be even easier thanks to my Box Header Platform. My connectors break out all the right pins, except the 10->reset connection. So I stacked my box header shield on both units, connected port B, added the 10->reset connection, and it was ready to go.


Full Arduino V1.sch

Circuit Board

This is a 1.687 x 2.0996-inch board, which I ordered from for $17.70. You get three copies, so that’s $5.90 each.

Full Arduino V1-laen

Lessons Learned

The biggest thing I learned on this project was to watch out for the height of the components! Not until I went to stack shields on it did I realize that a few parts were just a little too tall for comfort:

  • 100uF cap. So I need to find shorter 100uF caps.
  • Terminal block. Next time, I’ll push the power terminal block out a little bit so it’s away from the area used by shields.

Next Steps

That’s version one. For version two, I’ll try expanding it further. I have a few ideas:

  • Try out the iTeadStudio PCB service at $12 for 10 boards.
  • Expand up to the full 50cm x 50cm that the iteadstudio PCB service allows
  • Use that extra space to pack on a few components, like…
  • 2.4GHz RF radio port (4×2 header)
  • Temperature sensor
  • Additional 3V regulator, because most interesting peripherals are 3V now
  • 5×2 Box Header connectors for peripherals
  • Crystal instead of resonator for improved timing
  • Additional 2-pin header for power
  • …and of course fix the problems noted in ‘Lessons Learned’

After that, version three will be a low-power 3.6V version. The goal for that version will be to run as long as possible on rechargeable AA batteries.


Filed under Arduino

2 responses to “Arduino Clone V1

  1. Jordan

    So I assume that you’d need an FTDI cable to upload sketches to this thing since I didn’t see a FTDI chip on there?

    • Yes, absolutely. Rather than put an FTDI chip on every board, it’s more efficient to leave it off, and buy it separately. That assumes one has more Arduino (clone) units running than connected to the computer at any time.

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