USB plug for building my own board

I'm new to Arduino and I just started a class at our college today that deals with Arduino. I've been fascinated with it for a while now, but never took the time to learn it. I found an Instructable today that showed the process of making your own Arduino board. I feel this will be something awesome to put with the project for the class.

The problem I see with the directions is there isn't a straight forward way to program the chip. You can move the chip to an existing board, but that is a lot of movement. Can you not install a USB plug into the board? If not, what are some options for programming the chip without moving it back and forth between boards?

I tried searching the forums but I couldn't find information on this topic. If I have overlooked something, please let me know where to look and I'll go find it.

Thanks!

if you buy a atmega 328 with the Arduino bootloader(http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10524) already on it, you can just use a serial FTDI board(http://www.sparkfun.com/search/results?term=ftdi&what=products).

I've been fascinated with it for a while now, but never took the time to learn it.

Some How-To and Getting Started stuff here: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/StarterSetMenu The Breadboarding section may help..

Thanks for the input! I have LOTS of reading to do. LOL

sirbow2, forgive my ignorance, but how does that FTDI board program the chip? All I see is the USB plug on the FTDI. How does that transfer the sketch from the computer to the ATmega?

I was just looking for a way to plug it into a USB port like the Uno board I have. Is that not an option?

Thanks again for the help!

The Atmel chip (once the bootloader is installed) is programmed just using RS-232/TTL.

The Arduino boards have a USB to RS-232/TTL interface chip on board to allow easy programming.

You can program it through a "normal" MAX-232 type RS-232 chip from a normal PC serial port, or you can use any USB to RS-232/TTL converter chip or board.

The most common is the FT-232 chip from FTDI, but there are plenty of others. You can buy them ready mounted on a board with a USB socket and pin headers for easy breadboard use.

I think I’m getting closer to the answer I’m looking for.

So in order to program your own board, you would need both of these products?
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716 (breakout board)
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9717 (cable)

Once again, please forgive my ignorance as I’m new and just learning all of this. I appreciate your patience.

No, it looks like the cable is the same as the board, but in a cable form.

You can use one or the other.

I've been using this USB/Serial adapter recently, works well. http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/mikroElektronika/MIKROE-483/?qs=jBNCx3lXxWtN5mGAH2L1zg%3d%3d

You can also use a CP2102 module found on e-bay, there is a model where you can cut 1 trace and add 1 jumper and it will work great. The cut is on the Reset trace, the jumper is to connect that pin to the DTR output instead. Do you have a little more time (2-3 week shipping from China) or a little more money (mouser can ship now)?

For just a touch more, an FTDI Basic has Rx & Tx LEDs so you can see a transfer is going thru. http://www.gravitech.us/arliandpropr.html (or just watch the status on the IDE screen as it downloads)

Awesome! It is all coming together now. I like how it looks like the Mouser product can be integrated into the board. That is what I was looking for. Something permanent as opposed to something else to worry about other than a cable. The idea of being able to find a USB cable anywhere and use it as opposed to finding a specific connection.

Thanks so much for the help!

I've only used the Mikroe-483 it in socket pins so far, seems to work nice tho. Will get brave one of these days and solder it it :)