Thursday, April 25, 2013

DIY Arduino: ATmega328P breakout, Hackduino++

Today I wanted to share with the world something I have been working on. Say hello to the Matthewduino 1.0. Very original name if I might say so.


  • Female headers on all pins
  • Male headers in "servo" orientation with signal, power, and ground on all IO pins (except 13)
  • Reset button
  • LED on pin 13
  • ICSP Header for easy programming
  • 2.5 mm power jack (center-positive)
  • 5V voltage regulator
  • Jumpers switch sensor ports between onboard power and power from an external source.
  • All the other stuff that comes with an ATmega328P 

It came into being because the usb to serial chip on the Arduino Mega on my robot burnt out some time ago. Now that I have my USBtinyISP, I can program it as detailed in previous posts. Great! The only problem is the ICSP Header gets covered up by the sensor shield. I could just rewire everything with wires and a breadboard, but that's no fun.

I had previously seen THIS website and decided that would be the way to go. I basically made a Hackuino with a built in sensor shield. It even has the Mouser project file linked. I noticed one of the components was invalid. Well I found a replacement fairly easily. HERE is the needed capacitor. Be sure to get at least two.

I ordered enough components for two ATega328P breakouts and some spares. I also threw in some ATtiny85's, an ATtiny2313, and an ATtiny84. Total came to under $30 with shipping. That isn't bad.

I may do a build post later; I have lots of pictures. For now, this is some of the other parts I needed.

  • Protoboard: Ebay- 5 for $4.50: 5x Double-Side Prototype PCB, 50x70mm, Universal Board
  • Male Headers: Ebay- 10 for $1.00: 10pcs 40 Pin 2.0mm Single Row Pin Male Header
  • Female Headers: Ebay- 10 for $3.00: 10pcs 2.54 1X40pin breakaway Straight female header
  • LED and 1k resistor- My LED came from Pololu. 
  • Wire- Mine came off an old garage door opener.
  • Jumpers- I used two off an old computer so that I can switch the male headers between external power and the onboard voltage regulator.
  • 2.5mm Power jack- Mine came off an old cordless phone.
I have no doubt that Mouser also sells many of these things.

What did I learn? Well it took much longer than I thought it would to solder together. All told, I probably spent five or six hours soldering/figuring out how it went together. Likewise, I have a new found respect for printed circuit boards. They are good things. Also, make sure you have a decent soldering iron. I'm not a very experienced solderer, but my life got much easier once I got the temp set right. 

I never did any sort of layout before I started. I looked at some software for laying out protoboard circuits, but I wasn't familiar with it. I just dove in. It turned out well enough.

When I finally did get done, I rang it out with the multimeter and had to fix some broken joints. I had a bad MISO joint that kept it from uploading. I also wired the reset backwards. I fixed that, and now it works great. I may run into problems with it later, but I have another ATmega328P in the bag to play with if that happens.

Anyway, I don't have a schematic  but here are some pictures. I hope this inspires you to go work on your own projects.



  1. just one question: why don't you buy a rebuildt one from china directly? I've bought several there and they are cheaper and more beautiful than i could make them. Of cause when you see how long you need to build them on your own. For example this Arduino Nano for just 7,54USD (including the data cable): or these 10pieces Pro Mini for 2,70USD each:

    And of cause, there are no shipping fees on them.

    for that price, i'm not able to get the parts for them (regulator, micro controller, resistors, switch, usb-housing ...)

    Have fun ;-)

  2. Well I would argue that the one I made has more functionality than the Nano or at least the Mini. Mine has breakouts for servos from an external power supply and has the female headers soldered on as well so you don't need a breadboard to prototype.

    The Mini is definitely cheaper, but it's all about what you want. I wanted a controller for my robot, and I wanted to do it myself. It's as much about the learning experience (and fun) as it is about the end result.

    That said, I'm glad you took the time to read over my post.