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Topic: Simplest/Smallest Arduino to use for my project? (Read 330 times) previous topic - next topic

nealieboyee

Hello all,
I'm planning an rgb led strip controller using potentiometers to control each colour channel separately.
Obviously i'd need an arduino with at least 3 pwm outputs. 
Which arduino would be the cheapest/smallest/simplest to use for this project?  Something that can be programmed via USB please.

I was thinking something along the lines of a nano V4 or A-star 32U4?

Thanks
Neal



GoForSmoke

#1
May 19, 2017, 10:23 pm Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 10:31 pm by GoForSmoke
You could program a stand-alone AVR chip with an Arduino and keep the board.

An ATtiny44 has 3 PWM pins, for example, and costs a bit less than an ATmega328P.

MIT High-Low Tech ATtiny page.

Make your own duinos, complete tutorial with software to make regular and mighty-1284 duinos:
www.gammon.com.au/breadboard

How smart does the end product need to be?

The low end..... good ideas shown, I like the evolution version.
http://make.kosakalab.com/arduino/obaka/project-2/index_en.html
Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
1) http://gammon.com.au/blink
2) http://gammon.com.au/serial
3) http://gammon.com.au/interrupts

sdturner

Digisparks are small, inexpensive and have 3 PWMs and 4 Analog inputs if you don't want to roll your own ATTiny.

DrAzzy

Nano would be the obvious choice, particularly for someone new to Arduino.
ATtiny core for 841+1634+828 and x313/x4/x5/x61/x7/x8 series Board Manager:
http://drazzy.com/package_drazzy.com_index.json
ATtiny breakouts (some assembled), mosfets and awesome prototyping board in my store http://tindie.com/stores/DrAzzy

nealieboyee

Thanks for the advice guys!  I'm a bit hesitant to dive into addon boards and programming chips on their own.  Ideally I'd like to just have the standalone board connected to the pots and led strip etc, with a psu. Then just program it and thats it.  This is actually for inside a pc to control the rgb lighting inside the case. 

Why is the nano so expensive compared to the uno?  Are the clone nano's any good/reliable?


DrAzzy

I always use clones. They're like 2 bucks a pop.

I periodically donate to arduino to keep my karma on the right side and support the arduino project.

The official boards are all eyewateringly expensive, and aren't really any better than the clones.

ATtiny core for 841+1634+828 and x313/x4/x5/x61/x7/x8 series Board Manager:
http://drazzy.com/package_drazzy.com_index.json
ATtiny breakouts (some assembled), mosfets and awesome prototyping board in my store http://tindie.com/stores/DrAzzy

GoForSmoke

I paid $25 for my Uno from Amazon and $6 for my Nano from DIPMicro.

Look into the Micro. It's smaller and has a USB-AVR chip that you can connect inputs to and the PC sees them as joystick, mouse, and/or keyboard. And yeah, it can do that and run a light show.
Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
1) http://gammon.com.au/blink
2) http://gammon.com.au/serial
3) http://gammon.com.au/interrupts

CrossRoads

I prefer the equivalent of a Promini and and FTDI Basic for programming. Once debuggged, remove the FTDI Basic and just have the '328P to control things.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

GoForSmoke

I prefer the equivalent of a Promini and and FTDI Basic for programming. Once debuggged, remove the FTDI Basic and just have the '328P to control things.
Noting that you can program any Arduino using another the same way as programming a chip on a breadboard, for those with Arduinos but no FTDI cable.

Bob, I've never used an FTDI cable to bootload an AVR. I for one would have to find a tutorial/walkthrough to have a chance.

Neal, these AVR chips make building your own easier than ever. Literally all you need to run at 8MHz or less is power, ground, a bypass cap between power and ground and that's it. You'd still need to connect some IO pins to see anything happen but all of the connections can be wired to a socket or pushed into a breadboard (there are tiny breadboards that will do) and it will run.
-- AVR chips need the least extra parts I know of to run -- a capacitor. At 8MHz or less they can run on 3V or less but take 5V, 2 AA/AAA batteries or a 3.some volt coin cell is enough.

 
 
Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
1) http://gammon.com.au/blink
2) http://gammon.com.au/serial
3) http://gammon.com.au/interrupts

dave-in-nj

breaking it down a bit.  you have two fundamental bits.
programming, or loading your program, and then running your program.
the UNO/NANO boards have an on-board interpeter to accept the USB input to allow you to connect to the PC to upload the program.
the actual chip, once programmed, never has to touch the USB again, and that programming circuit is dormant.  possibly never used again.

if you have an UNO, you can use the circuit to program a board that does not have that circuit.  there are boards like the mini, or you can program just a chip.

if you are just starting, get an UNO, it is the easiest to work with as there are shields that you can just plug in.
The NANO is just a slimmed down version.
There are some differences like what power converter is used, what USB interface, things that do not alter the main chip, but might effect use.

for lighting some LED's you can use pretty much anything you like the looks of or the size of, or the cost of.

I highly recommend you get an UNO for your continuing prototype use, and then whatever you like for your actual project.  

I would offer that that NANO has a screw terminal board available so you can use wires that screw in.   

also, that mounting the board to something need to be considered.  not all boards have some way to hold them.  HotGlue can be your friend.


GoForSmoke

"The NANO is just a slimmed down version."

That you can plug directly into a breadboard, same as a Micro or Mini-with-pins. Try that with an Uno, LOL!
Nick Gammon on multitasking Arduinos:
1) http://gammon.com.au/blink
2) http://gammon.com.au/serial
3) http://gammon.com.au/interrupts

MorganS

I would recommend you look into the addressable LEDs such as the WS812. You don't need PWM outputs. One pin can control a nearly-unlimited number of LEDs. You also don't need high-current drivers on the PWM pins.

Buy a strip of the LEDs. You can cut the strip apart and use individual ones or short strips. Get any Arduino. For super-tiny, a LilyPad would do. My favourite is the Micro but I also use a LOT of Teensy's, which are also very small. Depending on how many LEDs you are running, you may need a beefy 5V power supply.
"The problem is in the code you didn't post."

bperrybap

I would recommend you look into the addressable LEDs such as the WS812. You don't need PWM outputs. One pin can control a nearly-unlimited number of LEDs. You also don't need high-current drivers on the PWM pins.
I agree. They are so much simpler and easier to wire up than discrete LEDs.
I also really like the ESP8266 modules. They are cheap, very small and have wifi so you can do all kinds of neat IoT things using a web browser and/or control it from anywhere in the world.
The ESP8266 modules are MUCH faster and have tons of flash and RAM.
And you don't have to ever mess with the AVR proprietary progmem crap to put your const data in flash.

srnet

I prefer the equivalent of a Promini and and FTDI Basic for programming. Once debuggged, remove the FTDI Basic and just have the '328P to control things.
I would agree.

I program Pro Minis all the time with USB, through a standard and low cost USB-Serial adapter.

Standard UNOs and NANOs are hard work for me as just about everything I use are modern 3.3V devices.

Pro Minis of course are available in a 3.3V version so interacing life is simple.
$50SAT is now Silent (but probably still running)
http://www.50dollarsat.info/
http://www.loratracker.uk/

nealieboyee

Hey all,
Thanks for the replies.  I'll break my requirements down a little bit.

The RGB lighting is going inside a custom pc case I'm building.  It won't be for me.

I've already got standard RGB led strip, power transistors, mosfets and potentiometers, so I don't want to shell out for addressable led strips now.  The only thing I'm short on is the arduino.  The reason for the small size requirement is that there is not a lot of space available for the board, maybe 50x50mm and around 20mm height clearance.  The price requirement is due to the rest of the case being fairly expensive to build.

I've owned an Uno before, And it may not fit so I'd need something a bit smaller like the nano or micro.  If I do decide to get a clone, can you recommend a decent online supplier in the UK?

Thanks very much


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