Prototype completed, best way to move forward

This is my first time taking a project down to this level, I have been making/hacking for a long time but until now I really just figured out how to connect pieces that already did what I wanted to do. I have fallen head over heels in love with the Arduino, the board along with the books available took the intimidation factor away and it turns out that it is way easier to make something that does what I want then to try to find it.

That being said I am well into my first project that needs to be finalized, I am controlling some RGB strip LED’s doing some simple fading using a singular external trigger. Simple. I have my Arduino UNO along with a breadboard and a mess of wires. This is certainly not suitable for allowing people to interact with. I know my connections need to be made more permanent and have decided to take a go at making my own PCB. I have narrowed my path down to either attaching the bare ATMega chip to my PCB or attaching an Arduino Micro to my PCB. There are alot of extra parts on the Arduino that I don’t know if I really need but this is a one-off item and I don’t think the $20 US price difference is really worth alot of extra sodering.

Any input/advice is more then appreciated.

I’ve been doing alot of research and I thought I was leaning towards just using the Micro, as there are things on the board that I don’t know what they do. but there are also things that I don’t need and won’t use in the final iteration of this projects. I like the fact that if I use an ATmega328 chip, I could replace it if needed where as using the micro it would be very difficult to replace the chip.

okay, so I did some poking and figured out that unless I was talking about a mass produced/sell-able item, by the time I was done with buying parts and assembly time, I'm better off building my PCB around the Micro.

Thanks for letting me babble, I often do answer my own questions before any one else.....

what books helped you most? i just started. but if you need some custom enclosure help i can teach you how to make them using molding.

I have been leaning towards the nano. although it is MUCH harder to find, it is also MUCH closer to being pin comparable with a shield.

I laid our a simple project, some inputs and some relays using the UNO when I realized I had all the room between pins available. so, I just laid in a NANO and extended the traces.

since I was making my own board, I tossed around the idea of just getting the parts. socket for the chip. Atmega328 chip crystal caps power receptacle usb receptacle usb chip led's, resistors power modules diode caps switch ummmmmm seems like a lot of parts to put together. seems like buying these parts at the 1 each cost was not going to cost less than buying a clone.

Depends where you buy the parts. dipmicro.com and taydaelectronics.com are inexpensive & reliable sources.

when i google crystal components i get nowhere, what is a crystal in arduino land?

Doopa: when i google crystal components i get nowhere, what is a crystal in arduino land?

The crystal moderates the time on the chip, so that things that are timing dependent like serial I/O, i2c, spi, etc. can communicate with other chips/processors. On some chips you can run the chip so that it is self clocking and does not need an external crystal, but you usually would need to do timing adjustments to get the time correct.

Crystal: http://www.dipmicro.com/store/XC7-16000 Use with two 22pF caps: http://www.dipmicro.com/store/C1K22-50

thanks a bunch! web site is great.

Could just add needed components to this also
http://www.nkcelectronics.com/arduino-runtime-board-rev-b.html