Suggest hardware

For pretty much all my projects, I just want an AVR, a couple buttons, and an option to solder in pin headers. I don't need USB.

I don't want to spend $30 for a full on arduino for every little project, because I still then have to add a shield or daughter board just to put the input buttons on. The arduino by itself is actually not that useful for its size and price.

I could start from scratch with perfboard and stick a 7805 on there and get a crystal and all that, and solder up the 6-pin header, but that's a lot of work for me to debug, and not all that cheap once you buy the perfboard, and point-to-point wiring on a perfboard is ugly.

I could create a board in Eagle and etch my own boards, but I don't have stuff to etch boards right now.

Surely somebody makes what amounts to a breakout board for the ATMEGA? I just want a board with a socket for an ATMEGA, a crystal, a power supply, and a 6-pin header, that breaks the pins out so I can connect to them. Any ideas?

Personally I by most my stuff from ebay, an international search on "atmega board" shows me several arduino and non-arduino boards without components and I guess you can find 'm in other electronics stores too.

Lots of people and firms make such types of 'break out' boards or 'standalone' boards. I mostly use E-bay to search for such things.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATTiny48-88-ATMega48-88-168-328-Breadboard-Adapter-Kit-/280822197407?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41624eac9f

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arduino-Boarduino-Bare-Bones-Board-and-Components-/170794847754?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&hash=item27c42a8e0a

Lefty

Evil Mad Science breakout boards sound like what you need:

The EMS board is basically what I was looking for. I only wish it had a spot for a 7805, but I can use one of the prototyping areas.

Actually what I was looking for was something like the EMS board, with a 7805, crystal and 6-pin header already installed.

The Boarduino type boards are worthless, because they are really designed to stick into a breadboard. If you want to mount the thing in a project, there's no great way to mount it and it's very cramped.

Even if you made your own board, you would still have to populate it and adding a regulator to the EMSL board would only be a few dabs of solder.

There is also this, again by EMSL: Diavolino

That's a more expensive kit but comes with a '328, crystal, caps, reset etc (and space for a regulator but it's a TO-92 packaged one). Still less than a full Arduino but no prototyping area.

I have bought empty Ardu' boards for £1.50 each off e-bay and populated just what I need but again there's no prototying space.