Standalone Arduino / ATMega chip on breadboard

Step 1: Parts needed

I bought my parts from Digikey and Sparkfun Electronics – they’re 2 of my favorite places to buy components. Anyway, here’s the list:
#1 – (Qty: 1) – ATMega328 chip with Arduino bootloader pre-installed ($5.50)
#2 – (Qty: 1) – 5VDC Switching power supply ($5.95)
(Note: If you don’t use a switching power supply, you must add in a voltage regulator and a couple of capacitors…see below)
#3 – (Qty: 2) – 22 pF ceramic disc capacitors ($.24 / ea)
#4 – (Qty: 1) – 16MHz Crystal ($1.50)
#5 – (Qty: 1) – Power jack ($.38) (Optional)
#6 – (Qty: 1) – Breadboard (hopefully you have one laying around, but if not, here’s one. ($8.73)
#7 – Small pieces of 22 awg solid wire. If you don’t have any, you can probably pick some up at your favorite electronics store.
Total cost for above before tax/shipping: about $14 (not including breadboard).

Standalone Arduino

Alternatives / options:
Option / Alternative #1:
If you want to use an existing power supply you have around the house, make sure it is between 5V – 16V. If you are not sure if it is a regulated switching power supply, then you must use the following components too:
#1 option – (Qty: 1) – 5V Voltage Regulator (or another similar 5V voltage regulator) ($.57)
#1 option – (Qty: 2) – 10 uF Aluminum Capacitor ($.15 / ea)
(See below reference links for how to hook them up)
Option / Alternative #2:
If you don’t want to use standard items #3 and #4, you can replace those with:
#2 option – (Qty: 1) – 16 MHz Ceramic Resonator (w/cap) ($.54)
This part looks like a ceramic capacitor, and you hook the 2 outside pins up to where you would hook the crystal up (covered later in the Instructable), and the middle pin goes to ground. At least this is what I’ve read – I haven’t tried it yet. But as you may note, it is a little cheaper to go this route. 🙂
Ok, let’s start hooking stuff up!

Step 2: Hooking up power

Go ahead and connect your power jack as shown in the first photo if you are using a power jack. Next, hookup a couple of wires as shown in the photo connecting the respective power (+ and -) rails together.
Now we want to put the microcontroller on your breadboard as shown in the photo. If this is a brand new chip, you have to bend both rows of pins in a little bit. What I do, is I hold the chip from both sides, and press the chip a little bit against a flat surface like a desk, and do this on both sides so that both sides are bent in equailly.
Standalone ATMega chip on breadboard
You most likely won’t have to do this if you’re pulling your chip from your Arduino – they’re already bent from being in the socket.
Please note the orientation of the chip – in the photos and for this Instructable, please place the chip so that the little half-round ‘notch’ is on the left.

For more detail: Standalone Arduino / ATMega chip on breadboard

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

Ibrar Ayyub is an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. He has written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. He has a clear and simple writing style and is skilled in using infographics and diagrams. He is a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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