Build a matchstick-sized Freeduino kit and add a 5V battery for microcontroller power in a tight space
By Dave Prochnow
April 15, 2008
Do you need a microcontroller for a project (maybe, ahem, our Mood Cube project?) but case space is at a premium? Well, fret no more. The Really Bare Bones Board (RBBB) Freeduino PCB is the perfect fit.
Derived from the totally open Arduino-compatible hardware development system, or Freeduino, the RBBB is an Arduino clone that is almost anorexic in comparison to the already-tiny Arduino Diecimila.
Slightly longer than a standard "AA" battery, the RBBB can be built in two versions:
Modern Device Company - Rev B with onboard power jack, power LED, reset capacitor, and component spacing changes.
Best of all is the price of the RBBB: $2 for Rev A and $2.50 for Rev B. Oh, and if you want a complete DIY kit including all of the needed components, the price remains a palatable $10 for Rev A and $11 for Rev B.
Add this 5V DC to DC Step Up AA battery pack from SparkFun Electronics and you have a complete Arduino-like PCB that can be easily inserted into an project. Likewise, you can add your own power supply or even tap into a USB port for the required 5V.
How can RBBB be so inexpensive and diminutive? Those smart folks at Modern Device Company and Wulfden at Hawk's Mountain, segregated the USB programming connection from the Arduino circuit schematic. You then use a low-cost FTDI TTL-232R USB-to-TTL Level Serial Converter cable for programming all of your RBBBs. This $20 cable becomes a singular investment with reusable application. Very smart and very practical.