Getting started - which chip to use?

Hi there, I’m thinking of getting started with arduino and making a single sided serial board, but I have a couple of questions.
Firstly, what chip do I need? In the instructions, it says an ATMEGA8, but I can find 2 chips by this name:
Which one do I need? They’re both the same price, so if I can use either, which ones the “best”/what’s the difference?

Also, presumably the chip will arrive blank, with no software on it, meaning I’d have to program the arduino bootloader on to it. Would this be possible using the ardunio hardware, or would I have to buy an expensive programmer too?


The quickest path to success is to just but a 328 chip that has the Arduino bootloader already installed. As here for example:


Hmm, $5.50+$3.34 uninsured shipping to the UK is pretty steep considering I can get either of those 2 chips i listed for £1.99 each with free tracked and insured postage… Is there no other way?

Good Ebay vendor, I’ve used him, I believe he’s a member here.

Making a programmer will cost you more, and buying one a lot more.


The 168 a quid cheaper, Can’t vouch for this vendor tho…

Aha, thanks. So that’ll be compatible with the arduino single-sided serial board? (Probably a silly question, but just thought I should check considering it doesnt specify which board it’s for)

They are all much of a muchness, The same chip will work on a ‘real’ multilayer Italian job or a homebrew stripboard

Actually, I just realised… You can make a programmer from a parallel connector and 3 resistors. Could I buy an “ATMEGA168-20PU 8-BIT MICRO 16K DIL-28 RC” and program that with the bootloader?

This guy is awesome, he even includes a 28 pin socket, 5v regulator, and a 16 mhz resonator! All for $7, free shipping to US and Canada! Also I got the order in 4 days!

Has the Bootloader as well… plug it in and it’s ready to rock! (He’s sold over 50… and at $7 a piece with the extra stuff, it’s actually worth it)

I can get the resonator, regulator and socket for about 50p in total, and besides, he doesn’t ship to the UK :smiley:

Any thoughts about the parallel programmer idea?

Doh, my apologies! :smiley:
Well, he’s still got better deals than most companies here in the states. :slight_smile:

Any thoughts about the parallel programmer idea?

Yea, several have not been able to get that programmer to work, me included. Seems that it is sensitive to cable length and what kind of printer port hardware your PC has, etc. Some have got it to work, so maybe worth a try. I ended up getting a USBtiny programmer for around $20 and it works great.


I can recommend Mike at - he stocks both the 168 and 328 bootloaded enabled.

I don’t own a PC with a parallel port any more, both mine are desktops too, so the parallel must have died out on laptops years ago. As RL says, they were a bit of a lottery when they were around, particualarly if you didn’t use then for their intended purpose.