Arduino on a Protoboard/Breadboard

There are a lot of pages on making arduino on a breadboard , so i am going to link the most reliable ones and describe here my journey into making one , the problems encountered etc.

The first thing you need to understand is the different flavors in which the ATmega chips come. After a visit to ATMEL’s website you will come across ATmega328 – PU , ATmega328 –  AU , ATmega328 – MU, ATmega328P – AU, ATmega328P – PU and many more. Well, do not panic !!. The letters after the hyphen just describe the package information. So if you want a PDIP package you go for “PU”, if you want Quad flat package you go for “TQFP” and so on. The real difference comes in the nomenclature before the hyphen , which is of only 2 types namely ATmega328 and ATmega328P. The “P” here stands for “Picopower”. So the P version uses much less power than the traditional ones. Apart from that everything else like pin diagram , datasheet , programming is exactly the same. There is one major difference however which is very important to know. The device signatures of ATmega328 and Atmega328P are DIFFERENT.

ATmega328   ->  0x1E 0x95 0x14
ATmega328P ->  0x1E 0x95 0x0F

I had a pair of ATmega328 -PU without the bootloader hence i decided to work on them instead of getting ATmega328P – PU.

The links that will get you started are here –

NOTE : You do not need everything that they specify here. Just get the items that you cannot do without.

From the official website

The diagram that you will need to look often is –Atmega168PinMap2


NOTE: ATmega328 and ATmega168 both have exactly the same pinmapping.


The final board looks like this –


Here are the pictures of the steps –




Important design aspects –

I realized that the design could have been much better after actually taking the wrong steps. So i will share some of them with you –

  • The wires running on top of the uC is a big mistake because if by chance you make some wrong connections later on and damage your uC then it will take a lot of hassle to remove the chip from the IC holder.
  • I personally think that the header pins must be coming out from each and every pin of the uC.

What i realized much later….

There is NO dedicated pin that outputs 3.3V on the uC. You will have to use a 3.3V regulator IC. So the various options are –

  • LD33V(what i am using right now) , LM117V33 , LM3940 are specifically 3.3V regulators.
  • LM2937 is capable of other regulating other voltages too. Better check their datasheets for more info.

In the next post i will tell you about the problems faced while programming the “handmade” arduino !!.


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