transitioning from prototype to a finish product

ok guys sorry if this is in the wrong section. first once i get my program up and working and know how to wire it up to the various pins. whats the frist step to getting this into a built board (just one not producing product......yet so it can be ugly) that i can install in my personal end use product, in this case a helmet, obviously i need to get a pcb printed but how do the pins wire to the board via the chip how to i know how that part works. or will i need to clone the board and have all the pins on my end use even the ones i dont use? im confused on what the next step will be...... :(

bpwmd17: ok guys sorry if this is in the wrong section. first once i get my program up and working and know how to wire it up to the various pins. whats the frist step to getting this into a built board (just one not producing product......yet so it can be ugly) that i can install in my personal end use product, in this case a helmet, obviously i need to get a pcb printed but how do the pins wire to the board via the chip how to i know how that part works. or will i need to clone the board and have all the pins on my end use even the ones i dont use? im confused on what the next step will be...... :(

You need to draw up a full schematic diagram of your intended circuit next. To do that, you'll first need to find the pin mappings of the chip's pins to the Arduino pin numbers. Do you have a schematic diagram drawn of your connections to the Arduino board? Which Arduino board are you prototyping on?

it will take me a bit (havent touched it in months) but i certainly can have that

bpwmd17: it will take me a bit (havent touched it in months) but i certainly can have that

I meant for your own purposes, not for our's. You won't get far without a schematic. (Although if we're going to help. the schematic would be helpful to us too.)

The pin numbers on the chip are different to those on the Arduino board. That's why I asked which Arduino you're prototyping on. I have a diagram here for the UNO/ATMega328P with Arduino pins and datasheet pin numbers side-by-side for easy reference. You definitely don't need to clone the whole Arduino board, and don't even need the USB etc unless your program calls for it. You could program the chip in the Arduino, then fit it on your custom board, or include ISP pins on your board and use an ISP programmer.

It's not clear to me what the OP needs. I think the problem to be solved is fairly simple "How do I fit my Arduino project into my helmet" but what's not clear is what the project is and what the current state of development is.

Most of my Arduino projects have one special item which is new to me. One chip or radio module that I've never used before. To get started, I will buy one of them and plug it into a breadboard. Then I can hook up whatever Arduino is nearby and check I can communicate with the special thing.

Then I want to try to do something useful with the special thing. I want to use that special thing with other items which used to be special but now I have a few of them in my toolbox ready to work. I put the special thing onto a protoboard shield (big grid of holes in an Arduino shield) and stack up the other components on shields.

Once I've proved that the thing works and I want something that's not dependent on the breadboard or the other contents of my toolbox, then I'll get a PCB made. To do that, I need a schematic in Eagle. Often I need to download a library or create the definition for the special thing in my personal library. For something that has a breakout board from Adafruit, Sparkfun or similar, then I'll download their Eagle files for the thing and look at how they did it.

Laying out the PCB takes a lot of hours. I usually do a few hours then put it aside. When I come back to it, I have a better idea and rip up most of the previous work. For your first few PCBs, follow the examples from the professionals to see how they lay out ground planes, 45-degree corners and so on. Then quadruple-check your work to make sure you connected all the power pins properly, the DRC shows no errors and the board is adequately labelled with your name, the project name, the month and a version number.

MorganS: Once I've proved that the thing works and I want something that's not dependent on the breadboard or the other contents of my toolbox, then I'll get a PCB made.

Never tried making your own boards? It's fairly straightforward, costs much less than having the board commercially made, and you get that additional sense of satisfaction that you did it yourself. I only get commercial boards made when I'm going into production making a decent number of boards. Up to 12 or so, I make them here.

To do that, I need a schematic in Eagle. Often I need to download a library or create the definition for the special thing in my personal library. For something that has a breakout board from Adafruit, Sparkfun or similar, then I'll download their Eagle files for the thing and look at how they did it.

I use Protel Advanced PCB for my PCB layouts. Very old, but very good. Over the years I've made a pretty comprehensive library of parts, and continually add more as I go. These days, virtually everything I'm likely to use is covered.

Laying out the PCB takes a lot of hours. I usually do a few hours then put it aside. When I come back to it, I have a better idea and rip up most of the previous work.

With enough practice you can lay out most boards in just a few hours. I put all needed components on first, then start connecting roughly point-to-point with thin tracks, juggling parts around as I go, and when things look like they're in about the best place I go over it editing tracks for final width, pads for final size etc, still juggling the parts a little as I go. Protel makes that easy, and connected tracks drag with the components if you want, or you can move the parts without dragging connected or enclosed tracks.

Once I'm satisfied with the layout, I print it onto matt transparency film, then get on with the job of etching the board, drilling, then assembling. Finally, a coat of PCB lacquer to protect the bare copper. It's a solder-through lacquer, so you can easily solder after spraying for edge connections etc. The lacquer 'reflows'.

MorganS: It's not clear to me what the OP needs. I think the problem to be solved is fairly simple "How do I fit my Arduino project into my helmet" but what's not clear is what the project is and what the current state of development is.

Most of my Arduino projects have one special item which is new to me. One chip or radio module that I've never used before. To get started, I will buy one of them and plug it into a breadboard. Then I can hook up whatever Arduino is nearby and check I can communicate with the special thing.

Then I want to try to do something useful with the special thing. I want to use that special thing with other items which used to be special but now I have a few of them in my toolbox ready to work. I put the special thing onto a protoboard shield (big grid of holes in an Arduino shield) and stack up the other components on shields.

Once I've proved that the thing works and I want something that's not dependent on the breadboard or the other contents of my toolbox, then I'll get a PCB made. To do that, I need a schematic in Eagle. Often I need to download a library or create the definition for the special thing in my personal library. For something that has a breakout board from Adafruit, Sparkfun or similar, then I'll download their Eagle files for the thing and look at how they did it.

Laying out the PCB takes a lot of hours. I usually do a few hours then put it aside. When I come back to it, I have a better idea and rip up most of the previous work. For your first few PCBs, follow the examples from the professionals to see how they lay out ground planes, 45-degree corners and so on. Then quadruple-check your work to make sure you connected all the power pins properly, the DRC shows no errors and the board is adequately labelled with your name, the project name, the month and a version number.

just straight shot? i want to take it off the arduino board so i can use it again, fitting in the helmet isnt the problem. i wanna know how to design the board and so i can solder my wires in to a pcb with another chip programed with my sketch, and put that in the helmet. so really i just need to know how to move it from arduino to a new pcb (ie how to design the new pcb)

On a printed circuit board, almost all wires are printed on the board, in the form of copper traces. You only need very few wires, such as wires to a switch that may be separate from the board, or a separate battery pack with wires.

I recommend you to download EAGLE CAD and study arduino UNO's design file.

You could use a board like this, add the 328P and whatever else you wanted to use. http://www.nkcelectronics.com/arduino-runtime-board-rev-b.html Or use a board like a Promini for all SMT, or check sites like mine to have a custom designed board made for your project. Or check at sparkfun.com for their eagle tutorials.

bpwmd17: just straight shot? i want to take it off the arduino board so i can use it again, fitting in the helmet isnt the problem. i wanna know how to design the board and so i can solder my wires in to a pcb with another chip programed with my sketch, and put that in the helmet. so really i just need to know how to move it from arduino to a new pcb (ie how to design the new pcb)

I'm still lacking in understanding here. You want to take what off what board?

You want to make an alternative to an Arduino board? Basically your own PCB with a 328P chip that you've programmed?

I find that effort is only necessary for the tightest packaging. Most projects can just use a small Arduino such as a Pro Mini or Teensy, sitting on a custom PCB to simplify the wiring to the other components required by the application.

MorganS:
I’m still lacking in understanding here. You want to take what off what board?

You want to make an alternative to an Arduino board? Basically your own PCB with a 328P chip that you’ve programmed?

I find that effort is only necessary for the tightest packaging. Most projects can just use a small Arduino such as a Pro Mini or Teensy, sitting on a custom PCB to simplify the wiring to the other components required by the application.

thats exactly the thing i dont want to buy a new arduino every time i do a project.

Once I embedded a 328P and other supporting components in a project. After discovering that I could get a Nano for less than the cost of those components I now (unless space will not permit) embed the Nano. Super easy and so convenient. - Scotty

scottyjr: Once I embedded a 328P and other supporting components in a project. After discovering that I could get a Nano for less than the cost of those components I now (unless space will not permit) embed the Nano. Super easy and so convenient. - Scotty

I was going to say a similar thing - if the OP doesn't plan to make his own boards, than getting one commercially made each time will cost more than the cost of a small Arduino, by the time the parts cost is factored in. It is worthwhile if you make your own board, buy a blank chip, and add the specialised components needed for the particular application. A blank ATMega328P can be bought for $2 or less, a ceramic resonator for under $1, and the blank PCB material works out to a similar price for a small board. It saves having an embedded Arduino plus a separate board for any specialised components, or separate modules. An Arduino is a good "development" board, but for me that's where it ends.

bpwmd17: that's exactly the thing I don't want to buy a new Arduino every time I do a project.

That is extremely muddled thinking.

Producing a PCB - even given how easy it is to do through the current fab shops such as itead - for a "one-off" is an exercise in creative head-banging. Not only is it far easier to use a ready-made board such as a Pro Mini (since in a helmet, you don't need the USB interface, do you?) but it is much cheaper as well. "Buying a new Arduino" makes far more sense than buying an ATmega328 and putting it on a bespoke PCB (and you have the bootloader already present).

If you need to mount some more components, you can mount the Pro Mini on stripboard. If you actually need to make it more compact, design a PCB on which you mount the Pro Mini - vastly simpler than assembling all the parts contained on a Pro Mini. Even if you do not for example, need the regulator, it is easier to remove it from a Pro Mini than assembling your own.