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Topic: Making more arduino projects without buying new arduino boards? (Read 8188 times) previous topic - next topic



Being new to arduino, I have a question regarding reusability. I currently finished my first project and would love to keep it working, but I don't necessarily want to keep buying arduino boards (I have about 7 more projects that I want to do (that's over $200 on boards).

Is there a way that I can sort of clone my board with the code into the project so that I can then remove the arduino from it, and reuse it? How do people usually deal with this? Do I just need to purchase a I'm not an engineer so I'm not to term-friendly when it comes to boards, etc. Thanks!

I found a few tutorials, but does anyone know what the cheapest/ easiest method is? One tutorial came out to just $4 less than an UNO (which didn't make sense to me). Appreciate the help!


the cheapest way to would be to make a breadboard arduino. you can get at the ATMega328 ic's on amazon for a couple bucks.all it takes beyond that is a 16mhz crystal and some capacitors and you're good to go, you just need a spare arduino around to program it.

there are also mini arduino's that run around $10. Sparkfun makes some great ones :https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11113
"Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us happy" - a popular misquote of Benjamin Franklin, but true nonetheless.


I've been wondering if, when I have a working Arduino project, it would be practical to remove the Atmega chip from it and install it in a breadboard or veroboard with the minimum hardware components to make a permanent version.

Then (assuming I can add the bootloader to a new Atmega chip) I could put that into the Arduino board ready for my next project.

Of course this assumes that the completed project doesn't need to communicate with a PC. If it does it is probably simplest just to use the entire Arduino in the permanent project.

Any views?

Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.


That's the thing. I feel that no matter what we do we're still looking at over $20. The breadboard is around $10 alone, and ATmega328 is $5. A couple of dollars for the 16MHz crystal, wires, shipping, etc.


"Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us happy" - a popular misquote of Benjamin Franklin, but true nonetheless.


That's really good!! A link to amazon lists it at $6.95, however I did notice that the ATMEGA328P-PU is programmed with Duemilanove Bootloader. Know of any that loads the new Uno version?


  I build lots of standalone Arduinos on strip board, it is cheaper but also makes routing connecting wires very simple if everything is already sharing the same power and ground.

  You can also look at using ATMega8 and ATMEga168 chips, they have less memory but might be available for a lot less than 328s.

   As for boot loaders, its easy to use optloader to put opti boot on any of the 8,168 and 328

Duane B


Read this
then watch this




I've done this a few times lately. I can pick up an ATMega328P-PU from my local parts store for $5, and remove the chip from my Uno, and insert the new one. If this chip has the bootloader on it already (mine come with it), then all you have to do is change the board type in the arduino ide to the Arduino Duemilanove, and you're good to go.

I also recently bought these instead:
this is essentially a breadboard arduino put on a nice little pcb, and  it gives you a serial-ttl output, for which you just need a USB FTDI cable to write to it. but, if you don't want to spend the money on the cable (and i didn't at first), just keep swapping chips.
"Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us happy" - a popular misquote of Benjamin Franklin, but true nonetheless.


Apr 09, 2013, 02:48 pm Last Edit: Apr 09, 2013, 03:25 pm by MichaelMeissner Reason: 1
If you have a standard Arduino UNO, and you don't want each of the projects to work at the same time, another way to do this is by buying prototype shields, and then taking the shield off and putting on the new shield.  Before you take off the first shield, you would install something like the blink example on the board.  You can get a mini-breadboard that fits inside of the prototype shield while you are designing the project, and then when it is done, solder the components directly to the prototype board.  I've bought a few of these, and they each have different connections and layout.

  • Omega ProtoPro-B shield kit: http://www.aztecmcu.com/catalog/i125.html.  Note, these don't come with stacking pins that would allow you to mount the shield on the Arduino and then mount another shield on top of that.  However, the store does sell the stacking pins, so order them if you want to stack the shields.  This is the cheapest shield in the list ($3 for one board, $8.25 for 3 boards, $1.50 for one set of stacking pins). They have a second row of data pins that are all 0.1" apart for mounting from the board, but those pins will not mount to an Arduino.  My version does not have the top silkscreen indicate the center power/ground rails, but they have said the next generation of silk screening will correct this (I just used a marker to indicate the rows).

  • Protoshield for Arduino with mini-breadboard: http://yourduino.com/sunshop2/index.php?l=product_detail&p=93.  This was my first prototype shield, and I bought it because it was already assembled.  The downside is it only has one row of data pins, which means this shield must be the top shield, and you might not be able to solder the connections into stacking headers.

  • Seeed prototype shield: http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/protoshield-kit-for-arduino-p-318.html?cPath=132_134.  Radio Shack used to sell these, but they no longer list it in the catalog.  The center holes are not connected like a breadboard does, but they have connected areas on the edges, and a few areas with larger holes.

  • DFRobot prototype shield: http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobot-arduino-prototyping-shield-8.html.  This is like the 2nd shield I mentioned, except it has a second row of offset data connections, one row to connect to the Arduino, and one row to stack, rather than combining the two.  You might be able to solder a permanent connection to the pins.

  • DFRobot prototype screw shield: http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobot-proto-screw-shield-assembled.html.  This has screw terminals to attach to external wires as well as the prototype shield.  I have this, but I prefer the layout of the shields that are more breadboard like with parallel rows of pins with a center separation to this layout.

I should mention a third possibility is just construct everything on a breadboard, and tear it down when you are down with a project.  I would think having a layout diagram (such as in fritzing/eagle/etc.) would help if you ever want to reconstruct the project.  Perhaps take a picture or two as well.


There are some remarkably inexpensive clones that are small and cheap enough IMO to be committed to permanent use in a project. Although they still cost a few quid, they're much cheaper than a UNO etc and also enable much smaller solutions. (I always want to put permanent projects into some form of enclosure so being compact is a big advantage to me.) Also, clones are available with various additional integrated hardware which would have required shields or additional boards for a standard Arduino. For example, a Baby Orangutan is a fraction of the size and cost of a UNO plus H-bridge shield.


Ardweeny, $10

bare board, $4

Or custom bare boards?
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.



I'm not sure which part of that constitutes the 'shrimp' but it looks like a standalone Arduino chip in a breadboard with a separate USB/serial adapter. That's hardly novel and hardly seems to justify being given a special name.


I prototype my projects on the Arduino, then I move them to stripboard or PCB using either an atmega328p or attiny microcontroller depending on the application. You don't need to buy atmega chips with the bootloader programmed, you can program the chips using ICSP. You don't even need the crystal unless the project needs accurate timekeeping. See http://miscsolutions.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/prototyping-small-embedded-projects-with-arduino/.
Formal verification of safety-critical software, software development, and electronic design and prototyping. See http://www.eschertech.com. Please do not ask for unpaid help via PM, use the forum.

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