SMILEY’S WORKSHOP ☺
■ FIGURE 2. SparkFun FT232R breakout.
be done easily, then it is time to move on.
Here, of course, comes the emails. Yes, I know that
the stuff underlying the Arduino is all open source and
can be rewritten to do anything that any other system for
AVR microcontrollers can do. But why bother? There are
already perfectly good alternative systems, and I’m going
to discuss the free one from Atmel (AVRStudio), along
with a couple of other open source applications (WinAVR
and AVRDude) that have all the AVR and C programming
tools you need for more advanced work.
I’ve spent some time with this concept in earlier
Workshops, but this month we are going to move to more
generic AVR development boards by taking the first step
of recreating Arduino hardware on a breadboard. We will
then write a test program using AVRStudio/WinAVR.
Finally, we will build on the last three Workshops and use
C# Express to write AVRUP-V1 — an IDE for uploading
code to the AVR.
Since my surname is Pardue, which has ardu (French
for steep or difficult — hmmm ...) as does arduino, I was
tempted to dub this design the Parduino, but humility won
me over, so Breadboarduino it is. This hardware system
has two main parts: the communications section using the
FT232RL and the microcontroller section using an
Using The FTDI FT232R
On A Breadboard
Sch. Part Description SparkFun Part #
IC1 ATmega168 with bootloader DEV-08846
Q1 Crystal 16MHz COM-00536
S1 Mini Push Button COM-00097
C1,C2 22pF Capacitor COM-08571
C3,C4,C5 100nF Capacitor COM-08375
R1 10k Ohm Resistor COM-08374
R2,R3,R4, 1K Ohm Resistor COM-08980
L Red LED COM-00533
FT232R Breakout Board BOB-00718
Break Away Male Headers PRT-00116
Hook-up Wire (22AWG) PRT-08025
Table 1: Breadboarduino Bill of Materials.
project is hard to get working! In a later Workshop, I intend
to port all these concepts to a PCB that will be the basis
for future work and a lot easier to use than a breadboard.
Our first chore will be to put the FT232R board on a
breadboard and then test it to make sure the
communications side of our system is working. Please
note as we progress that things will get increasingly
complex and bug-prone, so it will be nice to be able to
isolate the sections and test them separately. If you have
the final system built and you start seeing flaky stuff (or
worse — nothing) on the PC serial monitor side of the
cable, then you can pull out the wires, hook in the wire
loop, and run the loopback test to make sure the PC and
USB sections are working okay.
SparkFun FTDI Breakout
You will need to break off two nine-pin sections of the
break-away headers and solder them to the board (long
legs down) so that you can plug it into a breadboard. You
may notice one tiny problem: The pin labels are on the
bottom of the board so when you have it plugged into a
In the last few Workshops, we looked at the
FTDI FT232R USB Serial Port and learned how to
communicate with it using the free C# Express
.NET program to build a Simple Terminal and an
Arduino Voltmeter. You could get the FT232R
portion of the Arduino on a separate PCB, such as
the BBUSB (the basis for The Virtual Serial Port
Cookbook and projects kit available from Nuts &
Volts). You could — but in an unexpected spasm of
non-competitive fervor, I’m going to use a
competing product in this workshop: the SparkFun
FT232R Breakout board. In fact, the full parts list
(Table 1) for this project comes from SparkFun.
■ FIGURE 3. Loopback test with hat.
April 2010 53