‘If you teach people to make things,
they’ll start making things!’

 

I’m glad you made it here.  It is the primary mission of David Ray Electronics and More to educate others and build community.  How can we help you on your mission?  We offer prototyping assistance, board design, educational kits, and other consulting services.

If you managed to get your hands on one of our cards, lucky you.  The PCB is the foundation for a fully functional Arduino system.  You will need a few parts, which may have been provided when you got the card or you can purchase the parts from David Ray Electronics and More or from any other parts supplier.

A finished card is fully compatible as part of the DREAMINO series of educational kits.  You can finish this kit and attach it to any of the DREAMINO add-on kits to experience them.  You can also use the finished card as a fully working Arduino.  You can program it using the Arduino IDE with the USB FTDI adapter.  The on-board USB port is for power only.

The ATMEGA328P will need to be configured as an 8MHz ‘Lilypad’.  This configuration is part of the default Arduino Board Manager.

Parts List:

C1, C2, C3: 0.1 uF Capacitor
R1, R2, R3: 1,000 Ω Resistor
D1, D2: 5mm LED
L1: 10 uH Inductor
SW1: Push Button
U1: ATMEGA328P and Socket

1 x 26 (2×13) Pin Header
1 x 6 Pin Right Angled Header
1 x USB Mini Port
1 x USB to TTL (FTDI) Programmer
1 x USB Mini Cable

If you want to built out the card to a functional Arduino unit, you will need a few things.  Along with the parts kit, you will need a soldering iron, solder, wicking braid, small edge cutters, some pliers, and whatever else you have in your soldering toolbox.  It’s a pretty easy thing to assemble.  Lets go through it step by step.  As a general rule, we try to solder the pieces that sit lowest to the board first and then move to the bigger ones.

Step 1:  3 x 1000 Ohm Resistors and 1 x 10 uH Inductor

Bend the leads of the resistors down, like the picture below, and push them into the pads marked R1, R2, and R3.  Resistors do not have a specific way they need to be installed, but for the sake of aesthetics I recommend placing them all the same direction on the board.

The inductor looks similar to the resistors, but it is not the same type of component.  Again, bend the leads like in the picture below and place the component through the pads for L1.

Solder these components into place.  If they’re not up against the board after you solder them on, heat up the pad and pull it tight with a pair of pliers.

Step 2:  Programming Header

This is the six pin header that lets you plug in the USB to serial adapter to your board.  Place it in the six holes.  Headers like this can be a little tricky when soldering on your board because you want it to be as flat to the board as it can be, but it moves around some when you’re soldering.  The best way I have found to handle this is to solder only one end of the connector on first and then see if it is sitting flat against the board.  If it isn’t, then head the pin up again and push the header back down.  Then solder the pin on the other side and check again.  If it’s right, then go ahead and solder the rest of the pin down.  Make sure that you don’t ‘bridge’ any of the connections.  If you do, clip the pins and then place some solder sicking braid over the ‘bridge’ and heat it up with your soldering iron.  This will pull the excess solder into the braid and fix it for you.

 

Step 3:  USB Mini Connector

This one is the hardest of all of the pieces to put on, but with patience it can be made a bit easier.  First carefully place the connector on the board,  Be careful not to bend any of the pins.  Once it is in the board solder only one corner of the shield where the lug for it is.  Then the opposite corner.  Then check to make sure it is flat against the board.  Just like the six pin programming header heat it up and adjust it if you need to.  Once it is ready, heat up the back pads and apply a small amount of solder to the pads, then the other set of pads.  It is very important that you don’t have any of the pads ‘bridged’.  If you do, go ahead and use your solder wicking braid to fix that.

Step 4:  18 Pin Dual In Line ‘DIP’ Socket

When soldering ‘through-hole’ integrated sockets (IC) to a board it is best practice to use a socket.  This is because some ICs can be damaged by direct heat.  So when you solder the socket down first later you can install the IC into the socket.  We don’t need to install the IC yet though.  That’s going to be much later.  The direction of this part does matter.  If you look you will a notch on the side.  This goes on the side of the board where it says Pin 1.  It is there so we know what direction to install the IC later.  When soldering a socket to the board we want to use a similar technique that we used for the six pin header.  Solder only one corner down first, adjust it, solder the opposite corner down, adjust as needed, and then solder the rest of the pins down.  Again, try not to create bridges, but you likely will.  If you do, just use your solder wicking braid.

Step 5:  3 x 0.1 uF Capacitors

Place these capacitors through the board where the pads are for C1, C2, and C3.  This particular type of capacitor is called a monolithic ceramic capacitor and it does not care which direction you install them on the board, just like the resistor and the inductor.

Solder these components into place.  If they’re not up against the board after you solder them on, heat up the pad and pull it tight with a pair of pliers.

Step 6:  26 (2 x 13) Pin Header

This is the main interface for projects that can be built with the board.  You can use it to plug jumper wires to a breadboard or to install an add-on board to this kit.  Install it onto the board and only solder one corner and check position.  Then solder the opposite corner and check again.  Once you’re happy with it go ahead and solder the read of the pins.  You likely will bridge some of the connections.  It’s hard not to.  Just make sure you have good solder connections and then just the wicking braid to clean up the connector.

Step 7:  Reset Button

The reset button is used to restart your Arduino program whenever you need to.  Place the button on the board where it is marked ‘Push Button’ and then fold the connections toward the center of the button.  Afterwards the button should be held to the board only by the pins being bent in.  Then, solder the connections to the board.

Step 8:  Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Light Emitting Diodes or LEDS are considered semi-conductor devices.  They used special forms of silicon or germanium, along with a few other things, to help control the flow of electrons and in this case create light.  LEDs and other diodes do care what direction they are connected to the board.  There are two leads, the longer lead needs to go through the hole marked with a ‘+’ symbol and the shorter lead must go through the hole marked ‘-‘.  Place the LEDs through the board and solder them on.

Step 9:  Atmel ATMGEGA328P

This is the Micro-Controller Unit (MCU).  This plugs into the socket.  If you look you will see a notch on the MCU.  This helps note the direction that Pin 1 is on.  It is super important that you don’t put this on backwards.  The pins on the MCU may not be straight up and down.  You may need to place the IC on its side to help push the pins so that they may fit in the socket better.  Do this to both sides.  When installing the IC into the socket, use care and slowly push it in.  Look on both sides of the socket and make sure that the pins are in the holes.  If you need to, remove the MCU, make adjustments, and try again.  Do not push the MCU all the way into the socket until you are certain all of the pins are in the socket.

Step 10:  Serial to USB Programmer and Cable

This is how we connect the board your computer to program the Micro Controller.  It uses an USB to serial converter made by a company called FTDI Ltd.  You may need to install drivers for your computer to recognize it.  The drivers can be downloaded directly from the FTDI website here.  When connecting the adapter to your board it needs to installed in a way that the on board electronics of the board are facing towards the front.

Step 11: Installing the Arduino IDE:

You may need to download the Arduino IDE from the Arduino website here.

The version of the firmware on the Micro-Controller is running at 8 MHz and is called the ‘Lilypad’.  It comes with the Arduino Board Manager.  To set your Arduino IDE to work with this board change these settings.

  • Tools -> Board -> Lilypad Arduino
  • Tools -> Processor -> Atmega328P
  • Tools -> Port -> What ComPort your computer is using for your FTDI interface.
Step 12: Loading your first Program

To test your new board we’re going to blink the light on the board.  Connect the FTDI adapter to the board and then, using the USB cable, connect it to your computer.  Now load the example program called ‘Blink’.  To do this, follow these steps in the Arduino IDE.

  • File -> Examples -> 01. Basic -> Blink

Once, it is on your screen we’re going to push that program to your board.

  • Sketch -> Upload

You should see a few things happening on the bottom.  If it gives you an error or gets stuck, try again a couple of times.  If that doesn’t work, maybe you have it set to the wrong com port.  Try changing the com port under the Tools menu and then trying again.  If you countinue having issues, reseat the USB connections, check the soldered connections on your board, make sure your components are installed correctly.  If you continue having trouble, I can be reached at David@DREAM-Enterprise.com.