I picked up a Atmega328 (w bootloader) from Sparkfun and followed the tutorial here http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/Tutorials/ArduinoBreadboard
- which was very helpful. Was able to get everything done correctly but found that I could not download to the chip using the IDE. Kept receiving this:
Binary sketch size: 1018 bytes (of a 30720 byte maximum)
avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x51
After some searching and reading up on things, I found some tidbits that mentioned the need to click the reset button when uploading sketches. However, I could not find anything on the timing of this. So, here is the soln (that worked for me).
Make sure that the power source is connected, the USB cable is plugged into your computer and that the drivers are all setup correctly. Load your sketch and select the correct board. I selected the "Duemillanove or Nano w/Atmel328" (yours may differ). The trick is the timing, and this may take a few tries depending on how fast your machine compiles the sketch. In my case, it took a few seconds from clicking the Upload button, to the status at the bottom going from 'blank' (in the black area) to "Binary Sketch Size.....". The trick is that you click the Upload button in the IDE and the moment you see ""Binary Sketch Size..." text appear in the status area, click the reset button on your Arduino breadboard setup. Then you should see the lights flash on the USB board showing TX/RX. Then blink!
So, it could just been that I am completely in the dark and everyone else knows this, but there it is in case it's not out there and you find yourself in the same position as I did ...
As my Nona would say.. "No maka me smart!"