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We’ve come across many an Arduino-compatible in the Maker Shed. It seems that everyday someone tells us about a smaller, newer, or differently designed version of the original.  We’re always a bit leery of selling new clones but when the Menta came around we knew it was different and had to have it (we even added it to our Mintronics line-up!) To find out why, we asked Limor Fried, the founder and engineer at Adafruit, to talk about the Menta and how it differs from other Arduino-compatabiles. Here’s what she said:

Introducing the Menta, a portable minty Arduino-compatible project that fits into a common mint tin. I’ve always like electronics in mint tins and wanted an Arduino-compatible that not only fit inside the tin but also had a built-in prototyping area like the ProtoShield I designed. We took our super popular Boarduino series, wrapped it with a prototyping area, and mounted it to a rounded PCB that slots directly into an Altoids-sized metal tin. We included everything you expect to jump-start your project; a DC power adapter with polarity protection, beefy 1 Amp 5V regulator and 250mA 3.3V regulator for 3.3V devices, green power LED, red blinky LED, standard ISP-6 reprogramming header, FTDI interface plug to connect an FTDI Friend or cable, and female headers so you can use standard Arduino-compatible shields. We also added four mounting holes so you want to attach it permanently to a box or plate, and added a massive prototyping area so you can have your finished project fit completely into a protective box.

Here are her favorite things about the Menta:

  • Fits perfectly into a common mint tin – an easy-to-find and durable enclosure.
  • It’s shield-compatible! You can plug in any shield with standard Arduino pinouts.
  • It has a built in prototyping area for a fully enclosed project.
  • The high quality, USA-made PCB is the best PCB we could get and will survive beginners, soldering and de-soldering.
  • We gave it 4 massive mounting holes with no parts in the way, making it the perfect Arduino solid attachment.

The Mintronics: Menta is available exclusively in the Maker Shed until May 2nd. After that it will also be available on Adafruit.com.  Thanks Limor (and Phil!)

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Michael Castor

I am the Evangelist for the Maker Shed. It seems that there is no limit to my making interests. I’m a tinkerer at heart and have a passion for solving problems and figuring out how things work. When not working for Make I can be found falling off my unicycle, running in adverse weather conditions, skiing down the nearest hill, restoring vintage motorcycles, or working on my car.


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  1. [...] MAKE | What’s Different About the Mintronics: Menta?. We’ve come across many an Arduino-compatible in the Maker Shed. It seems that everyday someone tells us about a smaller, newer, or differently designed version of the original.  We’re always a bit leery of selling new clones but when the Menta came around we knew it was different and had to have it (we even added it to our Mintronics line-up!) To find out why, we asked Limor Fried, the founder and engineer at Adafruit, to talk about the Menta and how it differs from other Arduino-compatabiles. Here’s what she said: [...]

  2. [...] MAKE | What's Different About the Mintronics: Menta? [...]

  3. Andrew says:

    Interesting idea, but this just comes off as an advertisement posing as an article to me…

    1. Daniel Morgan says:

      I highly appreciate how well-curated the Maker Shed is, and it would be highly unfortunate if the blog authors omitted announcing the existence of cool new things from Adafruit. I can see how a conflict of interest could occur, but I do not even remotely see that as an issue appearing on this site.

      That other blog, however. bOUNCEbOUNCE? sPRINGsPRING? You know the guy. One might think he got bought out by Spencer Gifts.

      1. thanks daniel, MAKE and adafruit work together all the time – it’s all good :) we developed the MENTA specifically for MAKE to have first since they have a cool line of mintronics, etc.

  4. Mark Demers says:

    It’s “funny” how this isn’t so different from a product we have had at SpikenzieLabs for more than a year now, The Prototino. The Prototino is an Arduino compatible board based on our Sippino line of Arduino compatibles but the Prototino is one of the first Arduino compatible boards that comes with a build in prototyping area and it also fits in a mint tin!

    http://www.spikenzielabs.com/Catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=31&products_id=160

    Also available in the Maker Shed,

    http://www.makershed.com/Prototino_ATMega328_kit_p/mkskl4.htm

  5. hey mark!

    i worked on this with limor so i’d like to address your comment.

    the MENTA is an open-source boarduino arduino-derivative (same parts, just moved around). the boarduino has been around since 2007 (http://ladyada.net/images/boarduino/boarduinosch.png) limor has been putting electronics in tins since 2001 with the minty mp3. we’ve made the mintyboost, the ybox and dozens of other electronics in mint tins are coming out from us.

    differences between the MENTA and the Prototino™

    1) the Prototino™ is less expensive ($23.95).
    2) MENTA is shield compatible.
    3) MENTA is designed to be in mint tin (rounded corners, made for a tin, etc).
    4) MENTA has a 3v regulator for sensors.
    5) MENTA has a DC jack.
    6) MENTA has a reset button.
    7) MENTA has a pin 13 LED.

    the Prototino™ is non-commercial, the MENTA is open source. when limor makes an arduino-derivative she releases them under the same license as the arduino.

    “Prototino by SpikenzieLabs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.”

    MENTA – Designed by Limor Fried/Ladyada for Adafruit Industries. Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike, files are on github (https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit-Menta).

    both are carried by the maker shed, i think it’s great that there are choices and open-source alternatives with what i think are some important differences.

    i’m not sure if it matters to you, but we did not even consider your product as we made this, it’s been planned for over 3 years, well before the Prototino™ was released .

    i’ve also sent you a follow up email and cc’ed the maker shed folks, i hope we can discuss this here or over email if you feel upset in any way.

    thanks,
    pt

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