We all have a deep fondness to our Arduino with its familiar shades of blue/green, but the time has come to explore other project options. One that involve fewer pieces, fewer parts, and fewer dollars. Building a standalone Atmega328 is far simpler than you might have imagined and can open up a wide range of of new project possibilities.
Step 1: Materials:
The shopping list contains parts that are entirely plug and play. No configuration or setup needed! These parts are from Sparkfun using their parts #, but are widely available from other electronic websites.
Sparkfun is kind enough to put a little sticker on the chip so that you know what each pin corresponds to ex. 1 is RESET.
Atmega328 DEV-10524 – make sure that it has the boot-loader on it. You can put it on, but this one has it and it makes everything far simpler.
28 Pin DIP socket PRT-07942 – helpful for reprogramming the chip so that you don’t have to de-solder it every time you need to make a change (breadboard friendly).
Power (3 options depending on power source):
a) 4x AA NiMH Batteries PRT00335- They are each 1.2V so *4=4.8V, safely with the Atmega328′s operating range. Also helpful is the fact that they will give you around 2500mAh versus ˜800mAh from a 9v Battery.
b) 1x 5v Voltage Regulator COM-00107 – The Atmega328 needs a regulated voltage to run and 5v is well within its operating range. You will need a 9V+ power supply for the voltage regulator 2x Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors COM-00523.
c) 1x 5v Voltage Regulator – http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/798 – Takes less than 5v and steps it up so that your Atmega328 is running at 5v.
For more detail: Standalone Atmega328