My take on the Arduino dev board

Dear all,

I wanted to learn how to make double sided pcb's at home and at the same time I needed a new Arduino board so I decided to learn how to use Eagle and get on with it.

I wanted a board that I could plug into the side of the breadboard bringing all the data and analog pins out with the power and ground on the power lines of the breadboard. Its using a spare 168 for testing purposes. Running the blink sketch of course. Room to plug in the sparkfun ftdi adapter. Jumper to disable the auto reset. Power select for usb or power jack.

I used the laser toner transfer method to paper and laminator to transfer the toner. Then etched the board in ferric chloride. It came out quite well. Theres a link on my site(link below) to a very good tutorial on double sided pcb's

Maybe my next version will incorporate the usb ftdi but Ill have to learn about reflow. Im sure there are plenty of desighn mistakes, Im aware of a few in hindsite. But if anyone can see any glaring problems let me know and if you have any tips on pcb design I would be glad to hear them. This is only my second home made pcb and the first was a very simple continuity tester on a single sided pcb. This was a big step up.

I was mucking about with methods to silk screen the components and labeling so I added a name, Sideuino, it seemed a good idea at the time.

If its any good to anyone else please feel free to make one or modify the design. More details here: Any glaring ommisions or mistakes please let me know.


Clever! It suits you breadboard setup well. I suppose it is much easier than making a breadboard compatible (tiny board) too :P


Clever! That seems super easy to work with! Maybe it even could be a shield idea...

One end on the arduino, the other end on the breadboard.

Very nice result for one of your first etched PCBs. Clever design.

Very nice! I would never be brave enough to try etching!

Ad for bld, I think you're on to something!

Thanks for the comments,

The etching is the easy bit the chemicals are easy to use and not as nasty as they sound as long as you treat them carefully. Learning how to use eagle was steep, its not the most intuitive of software. But once youve learnt some of the jargon it seems to fall in to place. Whats the difference between a trace and a signal? Whats a via? what does the smash function do? I had to do a bit of research before I could work these out. Also realising the limitations of the auto router and learning to route it manualy. I need to learn more about laying out the board and when and where to lay out larger areas of copper for heat dispipation and to protect the components like the crystal from interferance.

Finding the right paper for the toner transfer is fiddly. I tried photo paper but the toner wouldnt stick to it. I found the paper from the magazine Linux user and developer is ideal. The toner is completely released from the surface by the laminator. I tried an iron but it was very difficult to get the right heat and pressure over the whole board. Lining up both sides using a light source and taping the two peices together was fairly straight forward. I just had to be careful when taping it on to the double sided board. If you precut the pcb to the final size and line it up to the dimension layer from the mask it makes it easier.

Ive been getting round to it for the last ten years and glad ive done it now. Its fiddly but with good attention to detail and patience it works well. Id advice you to have a go its very rewarding.

As to the shield to connect to the board. Ive heard of people using ribbon cable but cant see it being as mechanicaly secure. Im going to add standoffs to my board and a peice of perspex to go under both it and the breadboard. It will be much more secure once bolted together and make it easy to move around the work area.

Ill try and get round to writing up more of the process I used and links to some of the reference material I used.


Got to love those breadboards from Maplin eh? ;)

I cant remember where I got that breadboard from. Its served its purpose though.

I do buy odd's and sods from Maplin but I remember when they were more component based rather than a pimp your stereo shop. There catalogue was filled with specs for there components and example curcuits. You could walk in and ask for an obscure ram chip and they would pick it off the shelf.


Same thing happened to radeio shack in the us. Parts used to take up most of the store. Now non-audio elecrtonics take up like four cabinets

and heres my new board in action on my nature cam project:

Cool! I was planning to do something similar. I already bought the key fob camera. I am going to follow your progress. Saves me some time ;).

Where did you get the very nice flatcable + connectors on the picture above?

The RSS feed on your site is not working. Do you have the URL to a working feed?

Im having trouble with the rss feed. Im using geeklog and the paths to the rss file keeps getting mangled in the configuration. I need to dig a bit deeper to find out whats wrong.

The flat cable is just some ribbon cable I cut to length. On one end I soldered some pin headers to plug into the breadboard. The other end is a molex plug I bought through ebay that is just crimped on to the cable. On the pcb its just a right angled locking header.

I couldnt find the supplier I used last time. Heres an example of the sort of cnnector. And these arnt match sets. They are called molex friction lock headers and crimp housing. Plus you need the crimp on terminals.

Another type of connector you can use are the idc headers and plugs. but they dont plug into the breadboard. They are easier to use with ribbon cable as they just press fit without any cable stripping or soldering.