breadboard arduino problems...

I wasn't sure if I should put this in project guidance or troubleshooting, but here it is. So I put together an arduino on a breadboard and I cant seem to get it to work properly. The led on 13 will start blinking when I connect power, but then the flashing speeds up really fast then cuts out. If I reset then it does it all over again. I am using a max 232 converter ( RS232 Converter DIP - MAX232 MAX3232 - COM-00316 - SparkFun Electronics ) to communicate. Actually this doesn't matter because the led does the same thing even if I remove the max 232 so I know that is not the problem. Here is the tutorial I am using Arduino Breadboard Tutorial -Arduino Workshop Project Video #1 - YouTube . I am unable to connect to the arduino via serial cable. I am using the Atmega 328 with boot-loader which if i am not mistaken comes with the led blink program installed. So I think that the chip is running the program but there is a timing issue? I dont know. Any help would be appreciated. I bought everything twice also so I know that the chips are working. Also tried a 16 MHz ceramic resonator instead of a crystal. My regular arduino is SMD edition so I cant stick them in there. Here is a schematic of my setup. Sorry if its hard to see, I made it with excel lol.

Can anyone please help me. I am at a loss. Is there another way I could get this chip working?

Dumb question, the power rails at the top and bottom of the breadboard are tied together? That wasn't explicit in the drawing. I wouldn't assume the chip came with the blink sketch in it, where did the chip come from. OTOH, I've seen the blinking LED behavior you describe, not sure what causes it though or why it stops, maybe the watchdog (I'm not a bootloader expert).

My bet is the microcontroller side is OK and it's the MAX232 chip or something related to it. Just a wild guess, FWIW.

Oops I did not illustrate that in the schematic. Yes the power rails are all connected. I bought all my parts from spark fun. I have 2 max 232 chips and 2 atmega 328. 3 16MHz crystals and 1 16 Mhz ceramic resonator. I have switched out all components so unless they are all broken I dont know. If i disconnect the max 232 chip the same behavior persists. Here is the parts list.

ATmega328 with Arduino Optiboot (Uno)
RS232 Converter DIP - MAX232 MAX3232
Crystal 16MHz
2x Capacitor Ceramic 22pF (filters crystal)
5v regulator -LM7805CT
2x Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors - 10uF/25V (regulator)
7x Capacitor Ceramic 0.1uF
2x 330 ohm 1/6W resistors (led's)
1 10K ohm 1/6W resistor (reset)

Who installed the bootloader? You or SparkFun?

@ roachburn

I also built a breadboard version. Working fine. I notice you connect 2 - 22 pF , well in mine there is none. Only a 16 MHz Crystal so close to the chip. Here the site I got it from : I use his USB to TTL adapter. I simply follow his way of doing it. Check the site. I also add a picture.

@ Coding Badly, sparkfun installed the bootloader.
@ Techone, Thanks for the info. I will probobly try that setup, however, Id like to use the stuff I have now. I dont want to buy another converter. I want to get the max 3232 chip working. I may just buy an arduino Uno DIP edition and throw em in there to see if I can upload to them that way, then see if it will work on the breadboard.

@ roachburn

I want to get the max 3232 chip working

Can you test the max 3232 as a stand-alone...Use a terminal program ( Aceesories/Communication/Hyperlink ) , connect the R232 at COM1 or any free 9 pin serial connection of your computer, select that - 9 pin serial - port ( at the terminal program ), Use a logic probe at the output of Rx / Tx. And see what is going on...

This is just an idea...

I shorted the tx and rx pins on the cable together and connected to com1 with Hyper terminal. I was able to echo any typed characters back to com1 which indicated to me that the serial port is working fine. Then I put in the other max 232 chip I bought and now it seems to be working. I must have shorted out the first one. Good thing its only a couple bucks. Thanks for the help guys.