Does the blinking of these LEDs depend on the 328 or just on the 16U2?
you could salvage most of the parts to make a breadboard job ,with maybe a few new components .its ridiculous that you cant fault find the board with any accuracy and then just bin it ,even though its not expensive .the error messages are a pain ,its the same old out of sync message that you get for eveything ,i can tell you i am hacked of with arduinos and not spending another penny on them ,as i have too many dodgy untested modules.quality control is non existanti just sent back a sparkfun FTDI board that dont work as well ..
do a search on the forums for complainants about the dreaded error message out of sync ,despite you do need some savvy to get them going .of course .i have spent around 6 months on and off trying to get a sparkfun FTDI board to work despite checking all the forums and trying the remedies suggested ,to no avail ,and its not rocket science with 5-6 wires and the correct driver .i see hobbyists selling off their entire large kit of parts on ebay as theyve had enough
,i can tell you i am hacked of with arduinos and not spending another penny on them ,as i have too many dodgy untested modules.quality control is non existant
I probably shorted one of the arduino's digital pins while being an output.