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.
- HOW TO – Build the Menta
- Maker Shed Exclusive: Mintronics: Menta
- Soapbox: My Top 10 Arduino-Compatible Clones and Derivatives.