Build: Make a Boarduino

Arduino Technology
Build: Make a Boarduino

This week I am going to be building a Boarduino, which is an Arduino clone that can easily plug into a solderless breadboard. It comes in 2 versions, the DC version and the USB version. I am going to be making the DC version. It is slightly less expensive and I already have the proper USB to TTL cable available for programming. More information can be found on the Ladyada website, including detailed build instructions.

What you get & What you need:


This is a really easy soldering project. The kit comes with everything you need to build the boarduino. All you need are some basic tools:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Flux core Solder
  • 3rd hand tool or circuit board holder
  • Diagonal cutting pliers
  • De-soldering tool (Hopefully you don’t need this!)
  • Boarduino Kit – Available from the Maker SHED
  • USB to TTL programming cable – Available in the Maker SHED
  • Fume Extractor – Learn how to make your own

Step 1: Make the power supply


Start by building the power supply. It consists of about 10 parts which I soldered in 2 steps. I was able to solder the power connector, capacitors, and diode in the fist part.


Next, I added the LED, the resistor and 3 pin header for selecting the power source. Now it’s time to give it a quick test.


Once you connect a 9V power supply, the green light should come on. Mine did, so now it’s time to move on to the next step. If yours doesn’t, go back and make sure the capacitors are installed correctly.

Step 2: More components to solder


Now it’s time to solder in the 16 MHz oscillator, the red LED, matching 1K resistor, 10K resistor and 3rd ceramic capacitor. You can get all the specs from the Ladyada website.

Step 3: Just a few more components


Next, lets solder in the socket into place. The best way to do this is to hold it in and tack down 1 or 2 of the leads. After it is tacked down, you can put it back in the 3rd hand and finish up soldering the rest of the leads.

Step 4: Adding the reset button and Programming header


Again, hold the programming header pins with your hand and tack the first pin. Be careful the header will get hot really fast when you are holding it. Once tacked in, you can go ahead and solder the other pins with the board in the 3rd hand. The reset button will “clip” in and stay put until you are ready to solder it in permanently.

Step 5: Making it work on a breadboard


You are almost done. Cut 4 pieces of header, a 10 pin, 8 pin, 6 pin and 4 pin. Insert them into a solderless breadboard so that the long legs are in the solderless breadboard sockets.


All the short pins should line up with the holes in the Boarduino. Solder them in and you are done making the Boarduino.

Step 6: Test & program


Insert the ATmega168-20PU chip, making sure you put it in with the small notch facing the reset button. Now plug it in and give it a test.

The green light should come on, along with the red light flickering. If it doesn’t go back and make sure you followed all the directions on the Ladyada website. Mine worked perfectly. The hardest part was photographing the red light flickering…but I got it!

These little Boarduinos are really inexpensive and are perfect for small spaces. You can pick up your own Boarduino in the Maker SHED.

Don’t forget, if you make something cool, post it in the MAKE Flickr photo pool. Thanks!

8 thoughts on “Build: Make a Boarduino

  1. Mr. Question says:

    I don’t mean to muddy the waters, but is “flux-core” the same as Rosin Core? I haven’t soldered anything electronic in years, but my memory is, never use Acid Core with electronics, but Rosin Core is OK.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      Yes, I believe it is. In fact, the solder used is “Rosin Core Flux Solder Wire”. Which is a mouthful to say, so rosin-core or flux-core is commonly used as an abbreviation. The rosin is a flux, but it is not necessarily an “acid core”

      Here is a link to a bit more information:

      I think many people in electronics refer to it as Rosin Core Solder, I have a metalsmithing background where soldering requires additional “flux” and have always called electronics solder wire as “flux-core” wire.

      I guess I should refer to it as Rosin-Core, but in fact either is OK. How about “Core-Solder”? :)

      Any experts out there, that could lend some insight?

  2. Windell Oskay says:

    Rosin is an easy to use and forgiving type of flux. Unless you really know what you’re doing and why, you should *always* use rosin core solder for electronics.

    There are many kinds of different types of soldering flux available. Some of them can destroy your circuitry in a matter of weeks if you don’t clean the excess flux off with the proper chemistry and methods specific to that type of flux. So… just because it says “flux core” doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for any particular application.

  3. The frugal electrician says:

    Yikes! The cable (USB-to-TTL serial cable) cost more than the kit.

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