Let's Make Robots!

Bare Bones Board

The Bare Bones Board is basically an Arduino without a USB connection.  It does all the same stuff as the Arduino, but it's way smaller and less than half the price ($15 unassembled).

http://moderndevice.com/ 

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with this board, since I'm thinking about buying one.  I am reluctant to install my $35 Arduino Diecimila permanently into my robot, and I'd be much more comfortable using this $15 which I can just leave installed and not feel badly about.

What I'm wondering is if it really does act just like an Arduino.  From what I gather, the only thing missing is the communication chip and USB connection, which is replaced by a programmer you buy separately.  That would be great, since then I just have to buy the serial programmer for $7* and I can use that for all my future $15 cheap-o microcontrollers.  Is this the case?

http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKMD2  

This would also prevent me from having to move over to Picaxe, which I was eyeing for its affordability and smaller size.  The main reason I didn't want to is simply because I prefer the C programming language.

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voodoobot's picture
I bought two blank boards and 1 bbb with usb adapter...I caved as I was having very limited luck with the breadboarding of the ones I have.
Mr Clean's picture

Here's an Arduino clone that's virtually identical to the Diecimila, but $10 cheaper.

http://www.hvwtech.com/products_view.asp?ProductID=682 

voodoobot's picture

that actually looks like an amazing deal. Essentually what I'm going to be building, cept this will be cleaner....dammn..why didn't you post this sooner!!!?!??!? I would have bought at least 2 of these.

As for the serial programmer, you could make one pretty easy and just use a serial cable.

 

http://webzone.k3.mah.se/k3dacu/arduino/releases/serial_v2/arduino_rs232_v2.png

Mr Clean's picture

Haha, sorry voodoo.  There are actually a WHOLE bunch of Arduino clones out there, which you are welcome to research, but I won't even start getting into it since there are at least a dozen Arduino clones.  This one, the BBB, seemed like one of the most popular ones out there, though.

How do you make a serial programmer?  Well ... I don't expect you to explain in 1 post, but maybe you can point me in the right direction.  The schematic you linked to is confusing.  :P  Is it even worth making your own?  I mean ... the one from MakerShed is only 7 bucks.

Unfortunately I don't have a serial port on either of my computers (work or home).  Apple stopped making it standard a long time ago.  Is there any way to make a USB programmer?  If not, I was thinking about investing in a USB->serial adapter anyway.  I'm guessing it's pretty much essential in this hobby? 

 http://www.amazon.com/Keyspan-Speed-Serial-Adapter-USA-19HS/dp/B0000VYJRY/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=IN37EKCOI4XH8&colid=1OENGPXZPPR5A

Oooo!  I just noticed I save $0.01 if I order from Amazon!  Hot damn! 

voodoobot's picture

I just started looking into the arduinos this past weekend and didn't look too far before I just happened see that sparkfun started to carry the 28pin chip. From looking at the schematic, and seeing what else was required, it looks fairly simple and cheap(key point).

If you study that schematic, it only uses a few resistors, a couple diodes, the serial port adapter and some transistors(1 npn and 1pnp) based on the function of the transistoers, it should be easy to see which is the rx and which is the tx...just gotta look at it and visualize it. For the transisotrs, I was going to substitue a 3904/3906 combination as from looking at the specs they were pretty close.

 luckily I've got serial ports on 2 of 3 comps, but I've been using my mac more and more and wil need to get a usb-->serial adapter.They're cheap so sholdn't be too big a deal. I think it's a good thing to be able to use both. Not sure i I'd want to make my own usb to serial adapter as they cost about the same to buy one complete. You can get them in the breakout board style like so...

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8772

I really need to invest in a dremel tool now....I may have to got o costco and get one of those cheapy knockoffs.....still good though and come with a lot of different bits.

 

Mr Clean's picture

Hey voodoo, this may be of use to you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino#Hardware_versions

 

As far as the Dremel goes, be sure to do your research so you don't buy a piece of junk.  Also, get one that plugs into the wall unless you really really need the mobility.  The corded ones have more torque, and unlike the cordless ones you don't have to worry about running out of batteries and having to charge it for 4 hours while your project just sits there.  :-/ 

ericski's picture
I bought a couple of RBBB's from them but haven't had a chance to play with them. Hopefully tonight or this weekend. I haven't seen any negative comments though, so that's why I took a chance. I'll report back more with my findings.
Mr Clean's picture

Yah let me know how it goes.  If you have a good experience with it, be sure to post it in the components section!

What I really want to know is ... is there any real reason to invest in the official version, or is the BBB identical?  Let me know after you've played around with it a bit. 

ericski's picture

I've played a bit with the RBBB and haven't seen any differences.  I haven't done any heavy serial communications so I'm not sure if the resonator versus crystal for the clock will have any impact.  I personally don't think it will but I've read in a couple of places that it could.  Tonight I should be able to report on that.

Mr Clean's picture

Just so everyone knows what the RBBB is, it's the Really Bare Bones Board, a smaller version of the BBB.

http://www.moderndevice.com/RBBB_revB.shtml

Very cool, tiny device.  I think I'll order a couple of these for my future projects.  That's right, people, a $12 Arduino.  Sweeeet.