How hard would it be to build an Arduino?
November 25, 2008
I recently assembled the Really Bare Bones Board, pictured below. It's an Arduino clone in a smaller and more affordable package.
The board is $12, which is a great deal. But I want to lower my costs as much as possible. During a 3-hour car trip today my mind was racing with ideas for potential robots, and I began realizing that for the projects I want to do I'm going to need multiple embedded microcontrollers. What's more, each microcontroller board will need different appendages ... some with their own voltage regulation, others with motor controllers, some won't need analog input, and some will need LED's while others won't. I like the idea of having each board with its own specific functions and abilities, rather than wasting money on an all-around package with some things I don't need and lacking something I might need.
Anyway ... the point is that it might make more sense for me to buy ATMega168's with the Arduino bootlegger and make my own microcontrollers. Problem is ... I'm not entirely sure how to do that ... so maybe you guys can help me out?
Ok so here's what I know I need: The ATMega168 needs a steady supply of 5 volts. That's easy enough to pull off with a voltage regulator and a couple of capacitors. Next up is the resonator ... which I have a fairly good understanding of. I know what pins to connect to, anyway, which I guess is all that matters. Next up is a test LED, which of course is super easy. And lastly the reset button, which I'm sure I can figure out.
Other than that, though, I don't know what the microcontroller needs to do its thing. Looking at the RBBB, I don't know what all that stuff does. What are the two capacitors for, for example? There are two 47uF capacitors and I don't know what they do. Does it allow for analog input via a resistor-capacitor circuit? What about that diode there? Is that for blowback voltage? How about those resistors? And lastly ... I'm very embarrassed to say I don't even know what the blue thingies are. I'm assuming they're capacitors, but I could be wrong.
Thanks for helping out a beginner! Sorry for the big blocks of text ... there's just so much I still don't know!!