3.3v vs. 5v and programming via usb on breadboard

Ah, another noob question. My apologies up front.

A bit of background: I'm trying to learn to build an Arduino on a breadboard. I've found COUNTLESS well documented examples online from which I can follow... that isn't the issue.

What IS an issue, however, is that everything I've found as far as USB interface for programming/powering the breadboard version of Arduino requires a key component from SparkFun (which has been out of stock for quite some time!) or other various components that seem more rare and difficult to find.

The part which is MOST recommended on all the pages I've looked at is BOB-00718 from SparkFun (Breakout Board for FT232RL USB to Serial).

This seems straightforward, but as I've said... its been out of stock for quite some time and I've not found any other seemingly reputable websites that sell it.

So I guess my BASIC question is this... what other parts CAN be used? I've seen many posts from people trying to use the Arduino Mini USB to program/power a breadboard Arduino (non-mini) but with many problems or even no luck at all.

I've found a couple of other parts on Sparkfun... DEV-09115 and DEV-08772... a FTDI Basic Breakout 5v and 3.3v (respectively). Would this work? If it WOULD work, why couldn't I just simply use the USB FTDI TTL-232 cable from Adafruit's website? What are the significant restrictions or setbacks (if any) of using 3.3v instead of the full 5v?

Who would have thought that finding a good ... SIMPLE... means of powering/programming a do-it-yourself Arduino via USB on a breadboard would be so challenging!

I use the 5v for the pcbs I make. Arduinofun.com has them in stock.

I'm a big fan of the USB-BUB from modern device.
3.3/5V jumper, and a second header you can reconfigure as needed.
I've got standard 6 pin on one end, and a 5 pin header with a cap on the DTR line for some Dorkboards.

Again, I have to apologize for the lack of understanding on my part, but... The USB-BUB...I see that it would require me to solder headers to the board, which is fine I have no problems with that, but how would I connect it to the circuit to program / power my breadboard arduino? Is it as simple as using jumper wire or would it require something like a special cable or other hardware?

Thanks so very much for your time in replying! These forums have been a true WEALTH of information!!!

Jump wires should be fine.

Or, get a 6 pin header, solder it on the bottom of the BUB and plug it in to the breadboard.

I like the BUB too. You can also get it from Wulfden if Modern Device happens to be out of stock. Both are good vendors. Fast, cheap shipping, easy to deal with.

I decided to give the BUB a try and it should be here this next week. Since I'm so new to this, don't be shocked if I come back to the boards for another slice of your wisdom!

Thanks to all that have commented. Again, the folks here on the Arduino forums have been tremendously helpful. It's so nice to be able to find a new hobby that has as supportive of a community as this.

Any tips/suggestions for when my new BUB arrives?

You seem to have multiple problems. The BUB board will solve some of them. Your inquiry however originally dealt with 5v vs 3.3v. Yes the BUB board will provide both 3.3v and 5v with sufficient current to run an arduino in most applications. However, be forewarned that the CPU chip is speced only to run at 8MHz on 3.3v. This normally is not a problem but the standard downloader is expecting a CPU/UART running at 16MHz. In short, swapping the standard 16MHz resonator for a 8mHz resonator will cause the downloading software to stop working unless the source code is modified. in short, stick with 5volts until you gain some experience. if you want to use components which only come in 3.3v versions, you're screwed.

I would have suggested you purchase an RBBB as well as a BUB. Getting an RBBB going is really easy, and if you can solder, it's really quick to get it put together. Took me maybe 20 minutes the first time. You can do it with a breadboard, but there is so much more to go wrong. For $15 you can have the thing as a component you can plug into your breadboard.

Of course, for $27 or so, you can get a full board that takes shields and has the USB on board.

A dorkboard would do the same.