Arduino makes a return to their breadboard-friendly Nano line with the cheap, basic, Arduino Nano Every.

Countless makers have put together their first electronics with this board’s larger cousin, the Arduino Uno, as the brains of their project. The Nano is a similar board: It will wire a few parts together, accept your programs to tell them what to do and when to do it. Like its big brother, the Uno, this board skips all the bells and whistles. Unlike its big brother, the Nano Every fits directly into a breadboard, making it even easier to connect to other parts during prototyping.

One thing I’m less fond of on the new Nano Series: It’s hard to check which pin is which. Arduino pioneered some of the easiest to read labels on any board, making it just a little more quick and more confident to wire up your project. Even those tiny numbers on the board were printed so crisply and cleanly, most eyes could see them without the aid of magnification. Then they made things even easier when they started printing labels on the headers as well as the board. You didn’t need to be staring straight down on the board to know which connection was which: You could read the pin numbers from the side, too. Little things like that keep your train of thought chugging along when you’re prototyping.

The new Nanos take a step back from this labeling ease. The pin numbers are only printed on the underside of the board. Plug the Nano into a breadboard and they’re hidden away entirely. If you hope the headers will save you, you’re out of luck: They’re garden variety breakaway headers. No labels here.

That said, what caught my eye about the Nano Every was the header-free version. The new line of Nanos has a wee feature that’s a nod to more experienced makers: You can treat it as a module.

That means you don’t have to use the Arduino Nano in a breadboard: It’s ready to be more than a prototype. Order your first Nano Every with the headers. Prototype with that one. Then, after you’ve got your gizmo working, order more Nano Everys sans headers. Whip up your permanent circuit in your CAD program of choice (I like KiCAD), and as you’re designing the board, you can copy the exact same connections you made on the breadboard, brain dead simple. Then send the design off to a manufacturer. When the printed circuit boards arrive in the mail, you can solder the Nano Every straight onto the board, the whole thing all in one go, as if it was just one more part.

That option is a godsend for turning out small batches of electronics and getting more copies of your invention into the world faster.