Arduino MEGA is official


The Arduino MEGA is official and even more expansive than we originally thought. It has 54 digital i/o pins. 14 of those can be PWM outputs. Along with 16 analog inputs and 4 UARTs. It is even compatable with most shields for the Arduino Duemilanove or Diecimila.


  1. yeaaah… alright… it’s _computable_ (nooooo… not compatible, but _computable_ with the shields) xD

  2. dpraetorius says:

    I’d say $65 is pretty reasonable. I think $50 would have been the sweet spot, but this is still a great deal.

  3. therian says:

    well you see that small square chip in the center ?
    and small metal oval neat it?
    That all you need! get it for 10-15$ and save 45$

  4. cgmark says:

    While you can just buy the chip, have fun soldering it to a board, that you have to design and etch then drill , install the usb chipset, and add power circuitry and connectors. $65 is very reasonable.

  5. Marco says:

    PWM outputs are nice and all, but can we please have a couple of DACs instead?

  6. EdZ says:

    54 i/o pins?! Using a reasonable 6-pin 30led charlieplex matrix, that’s 270 LEDs! 270 individually addressable, separately controllable LEDs from one controller! You could get even more if the current output from each pin is high enough.

  7. happypinguin says:

    geeezz.. We really need some kind of /.
    meta-moderation system.

  8. EdZ says:

    In fact, with sufficient current output, you could drive (and individually control) a theoretical maximum of 2862 LEDs. Not that I’d envy anyone the task of writing a grouping and refreshing algorithm to keep them lit without visible flicker though.

  9. John Berube says:

    with charlieplexing you can control n*(n-1) leds. so with 54 i/os you could control 2862 leds.

  10. Tim says:

    Still haven’t fiked the header spacing, or even changed it to mini-USB.

    The PCB also looks much bigger than it needs to be. Look at all that empty space!

  11. Trencher says:

    Is there a link to it’s page for purchase or am I not seeing it?

  12. John Berube says:

    @EdZ you beat me to it

  13. Ian Lesnet says:

    I have to agree with therian, it might blink a lot of LEDz, but $65 is a lot for an 8bit micro with a bootloader.

  14. cyberninja says:

    @ian lesnet

    considering that the atmega1280 microcontroller alone is around $15, then add on the usb interface, power regulation, leds, pushpin connectors on a clean printed circuit board already assembled and it looks like a very good deal at $65. bear in mind you are buying the platform. you can do what therian says and buy the micro and crystal alone. i find this is best for an end project.

  15. yourmom says:

    No it’s simply not a good deal. The controller does not cost $15. It’s about $10 in quantity from digikey. The atmega328 is about $3-4 in quantity. The board has very few extra parts, maybe enough to get the total extra parts cost to $10. The current board is $30. Add on $10. Add on another $10 for no real reason at all. You’re still pretty damn far away from $65.

    If I need it, I’ll wait for SeeedStudio to make it for less than $50 and I doubt they’ll disappoint.

  16. Greg says:

    Why would you be buying the parts in quantity?

  17. EdZ says:

    “The atmega328 is about $3-4 in quantity”
    - It uses the 1280, not the 328
    - Individual users are not buying at bulk prices

    Bear in mind that whilst building your own board with minimal extra components is the best solution if you’re integrating it into a designed system, having a ready-made board with easily swapped pin headers and on-board interface is incredibly useful for prototyping, which is what this board is FOR.

  18. Trencher says:

    Where are you seeing it for 65$?

  19. cyberninja says:

    agree with edz

    IC2 ATMEGA1280-16AU 15.72
    IC4 UMC33269D 0.93
    IC5 MC33269ST 0.32
    IC6 FT232RL 4.50
    IC7A LM358D 0.40
    IC7B LM358D 0.40
    T1 NDT2955 0.63
    T2 FDN340P 0.37
    Q2 16MHZ 0.67

    TOTAL 24.46

    This is just a short list of core parts, ICs, power regulator transistors, crystal, and USB connector. Sure, I could get an atmega1280 for $10, but I’d have to buy 25 of them. who wouldn’t spend $280 to save $10?

    So far this is the only place I’ve seen that is selling them:

  20. Alex says:

    You hackaday folks sure are a bunch of whiners. Get a job, hippies.

  21. nubie says:

    Nope, just amazed at the hypocrisy of making a “cheap” platform “for-the-people” and having the price so high.

    But then again I just bought a solderless breadboard and 5 Atmega chips instead of a Arduino (small breadboards for completed projects)

  22. charlie says:

    get yourself a fdti cable and an icsp programmer. start with an atmega168 on a breadboard. you will learn important stuff. then you can play with a whole line of different avrs. learn to solder smt and make your own pcb’s, and then you can start doing some really cool projects. arduino boards have their place, i guess, but i will never by one.

  23. error404 says:

    Yea I really have to agree that the price seems out of line. Even Arduino is a bit pricey, but I’d justify the premium for the nice newbie-friendly dev tools. But the premium for this ‘mega’ board seems out of line – it’s more than double the price of the standard Arduino and has about $15 extra parts cost, and that’s being generous.

    Consider that you can get a much more powerful 32-bit 72MHz 512KB ARM Cortex board with about the same I/O but extra peripherals (more UARTS, CAN, DACs, RTC, better timers, DMA and on and on) from FuturLec for $25. Just add a $0.75 LM317 3.3V supply and $5 breadboard.

  24. George Graves says:

    Why are you guys complaining about the price?

    Arduino = 14 I/O’s @ $30 = $2.14 per I/O
    Mega = 54 I/O’s @ $65 = $1.20 per I/O

    Seems pretty straight forward to me.

  25. fred says:

    I agree that $65 is a totally fair price. Even if the parts total is only $25, it is a fully assembled and well designed board. Even if you got all the parts in a box for $25, how long would it take you to assemble them correctly? How long would fixing mistakes take? If you have infinite time, sure go buy the parts, it is open source you can do that. If you start to look at the cost difference between the parts and the assembled final product and compare that to the number of hours it would take you to assemble the thing, you’re essentially paying yourself to make the board. Would you guarantee perfect assembly of one of these boards if I gave you $40 and a box of parts? You’d probably end up making less than $10 an hour if you could even do it on the first try without scrapping anything…

  26. @error404
    Artists (you know, the kind with paint brushes) seem to manage ok with the Arduino platform, I doubt they’d have much luck with an ARM :)

    Of course, real electronics hackers use FPGAs ;)

  27. cyberninja says:

    I’m in total agreement with you there. my point in showing that there are easily $25 in the core parts, without the connectors, board and assembly was to show that over 50% of the cost was in materials alone. and if these kids cannot afford $65 dollars for a fully functional development platform, they don’t realize how well they have it.

    @george graves
    could not have said it better. the lower I/O count arduinos will be sticking around. if someone cannot afford the mega, they don’t need that many I/Os.

  28. error404 says:

    @Mephistopheles: I don’t argue that Arduino is a nice platform, and even though it’s still just C, they’ve done a nice job making the IDE and libraries easy to use and well documented. For those that don’t like the actual ‘hacking’ aspect of hacking, it’s a valuable, easy and prepackaged solution.

    For the rest of us though you can get a lot more for a lot less money, and with all the Arduino craze it just seems like that’s getting forgotten. I like AVR and use it a lot, but I use it because tiny2313 is $2 and requires $0.25 in support components. If I were going for something bigger and didn’t need a DIP package, I’d probably look elsewhere as AVR is relatively expensive.

  29. BikeHelmet says:

    I’d definitely go for an Arduino to dive into hardware hacking. I don’t have a background in electronics – but the Arduino seems like something I could tackle. Even the language is simple, and does away with some of the flaws of C (as far as this newbie is concerned) – the lax syntax and overwhelming number of libraries.

    The Arduino is easy. $15-20 extra is NOTHING for that ease of use and quicker learning.

  30. cgmark says:

    To the complainers about the price. Go price what it will cost for just the pcb etched, silk screened and drilled. Then come back and tell us that you can do it cheaper.

  31. cgmark says:

    @error 404
    yeah the futurlec board looks good at first until you notice no usb or pwm Add $20 for usb and you can’t just add pwm.

  32. error404 seconded says:

    i second error404. That stamp board( is cheap!

  33. tantris says:

    … real men /real women/ real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri don’t buy kits.

  34. error404 seconded says:

    You are right but chances are that most of us already have one of those inexpensive usb2serial converters.But no PWM is bad..

  35. yourmom says:

    Anyone who still thinks it’s a good deal is slow, to put it nicely. I’ll spell it out again- The current board costs $30. It is rather profitable. The new board is about $10 more in parts in quantity(No, honeys, the arduino team does not order the parts for each board separately). If you add them together, you get $40. If you add on another $10 for no reason other than it’s “new!111!”, you might get yourself to $50. I don’t care if you decide to buy it to support the Arduino team, but don’t make up bullshit about it being a good deal.

  36. therian says:

    Just dont like the idea that one mistake will cost 65$ and usually such careless mistakes happen

  37. Quin says:

    Before you start diving into insults here, you might bother to check your own name, first. The people that the arduino is targeted at, has been targeted at, and will continue to be targeted at are not the people who will buy a cpu, place it in a bread board, pull their icsp out and burn some hand coded assembly code into the device, and then design their own circuit to do just what they need. Those people have the hardware already, and have the know-how.

    Lets compare real prices, shall we? The arduino mega costs 65$ and a quick froogle serach finds a usb jtag programmer alone costs 50$. Now, since we’re talking about introducing a complete non-specialist to programming, they probably won’t have a serial port on their computer, so they’ll need to get one of those. They’ll need a bread board, a small collection of resistors and caps, some crystals, a separate usb/serial chip for the breadboard, a power regulator, a few transistors, and some leds. Now, for the price of the jtag and the cpu alone, they can buy the arduino mega and have the other cash for sensors or the rest of their project.

    if you were just hating on the arduino, then you need a lesson in trolling. you are factually correct given the audience here at hack-a-day. You are just missing the broader audience in the world outside.

  38. Niels says:

    If you want an atmega128, just get $30

    or $20

    And if you really must have USB: $5

    or $7

    (dx has free shipping, even on those cheap usbserial thingies).

    So when I can get an avr board with connectors and everything with a usbserial connector for $35 ex shipping, why would I waste $65 on this?

  39. Loopy says:

    Quit whining about the price! If you don’t want to pay the money, then don’t. What do you think they will do with all this extra cash anyway? Will they shut their doors after they take all your money…or do you think they’ll figure out how to make a MEGA-2?

    I wonder if there are actually people that work there. Do you suppose they have families to support? Do they eat food? Are websites and bandwidth free now?

    Move on! Where can I get one?

  40. error404 says:

    @quin: Whoever mentioned JTAG? All the stuff I’ve mentioned has an onboard RS-232 bootloader. Connect a UART to a PC and you’re set. Yes, you supply your own USB->RS-232 if you need it, but it seems silly to have one on every board anyway. What people seem to be missing here is that, on the hardware side, Arduino is just glue. It’s an AVR, regulator, USB->RS-232 chip, a couple passives and some headers. The only real value-add is preloading the AVR with the bootloader. I think what people are objecting to is that a simple CPU swap and adding a few headers more than doubles the price – that’s not in line with the current product.

    I don’t know who’s talking about complete newbies here, but it isn’t me. I’m overjoyed that Arduino exists to make simple digital control more accessible to more people – exposing artists to completely new forms is fantastic and leads to some really neat stuff. It’s great that something like this exists for schools, and anyone else interested in fooling around with electronics. The barrier to entry is lower, and the learning curve less steep, and any time that happens is a good time – but there is a price. For the target market it’s the right choice and the price isn’t objectionable if it suits their needs – and I’m glad the Arduino team has been so successful – their efforts deserve reward.

    For those of us that know a little C and understand a bit of the internals (which I would hope is a lot of hAd’s audience) – and are liekly to have at least one RS-232 port on hand – there are other options that are more powerful and more cost effective. They just require a bit more skill to use because nobody’s put the work into making them accessible to the layman. The ARM development tools are quite good, there’s a ton of code out there, and like AVR, there’s a GCC branch. You don’t need a JTAG or ISP just like you don’t need one with Arduino – use the on-chip RS-232 bootloader that pretty much every ARM selling today ships with. You don’t need assembly – use C. Never deal with 8-bit overflow again!

    But yes, you will need to read some datasheets and understand them to use anything more than basic IO. If you’ve mastered Arduino and want more, maybe look at switching architectures for more powerful tools.


    STM32F103 does do hardware PWM, it’s just not listed on Futurlec’s featuresheet. Each of the 6 PWM-capable timers can have 4 output compares, so 24 PWM lines are possible. Check out their other stuff though, they have some breadboard-style development boards as well, or head over to Olimex instead (who have a lot more selection). There are some boards that are very Arduino-like with more capable processors, and some other cool more app-specific stuff (relays, LCDs etc.)

  41. David says:

    $65!? Are you kidding? A dual core Atom desktop board Costs $85. Plus, they put those gaps between the GPIO headers AGAIN, so you can’t use 0.1″ spaced proto-boards. Lame

  42. gyro_john says:

    c’mon, people. remember your history here. just relax, give it a couple of months and there will be second-party clones that are functionally equivalent at half the price. like the iduino from fundamental logic which costs about $15 compared to whatever arduino charges.

  43. cyberninja says:

    i posted a link earlier in the thread to the only store i’ve found so far that is currently selling the mega.

    for the sake of killing this argument, we all understand that $65 is a lot for you. fear not, i’m sure the duemilanove will be staying around. bear in mind that you would need to buy 2 or 3 duemilanoves to have a similar I/O count compared to the mega. refer to george grave’s post above for the math on i/o vs. dollars. I’m sure the rest of the arduino community as well as newcomers to microcontrollers will be happy to shell out the small amount.

  44. liuc says:

    remember just 1 thing: regardless of the increased amount of pins, the TOTAL current that the atmega chip can sustain is still 200mA (sum of all pins), 40mA max in /out a pin. Same as at168/328.

  45. karl says:

    the stm32f103 board you linked to looks great, and it would be perfect for a project i’m working on. unfortunately, i’m almost a complete newbie — the arduino software makes it easy to start banging away so that’s what i’ve been playing with.

    any suggestions for an easy-to-use arm toolchain, something that might come close to the arduino setup? (mac or linux preferred, sorry)

  46. Frollard says:

    @ all price complaints

    Yes, the price is OUT of line – componentally – with the previous revisions.

    Anyone who has ever taken a marketing course can tell you – THEY ARE NOT SELLING YOU ASSEMBLED COMPONENTS!!! They are selling a product; a product with features. Previously it had x features, now it has 3x features. They are selling features to a prototyping not-heavy-user market.

    To do as much with a duemilneove as you can with a mega, you’d be spending a pile on extra components (shift registers…etc) and TIME building, programming, and debugging a more complex system. You aren’t buying the components – you’re buying ‘time’.

  47. cyberninja says:

    excellent point. I usually plan on using switching transistors on all my outputs to account for the current limitations. also it has save many of my ucs from a mistaken connection.

  48. anonymous coward from Europe says:

    All you yank whiners are pathetic!
    It’s not the Arduino team’s fault that your sorry excuse of a currency called American Peso is going down the drain lately. These things are made in Europe, where workers are paid well, have health insurance and a decent retirement plan, and then sold to distributors worldwide. Every one involved in the supply chain has expenses and needs to pay taxes. Employees expect to be paid, too. Material and manufacturing costs have to be calculated in Euros (or Euro-dollars, as some of you call it) and with the recent current exchange ratios it’s just not possible to make it much cheaper just to make you whiners happy. Sucks to be at the receiving end of a recession, doesn’t it? But go ahead, buy one in China if you like, just like everything else you own.

    Arduino is a DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM. Once the code works and you need dozens of boards, go ahead, design your own circuitry and PCB and crank them out for less than 20 bucks apiece, if you can.

  49. cgmark says:

    When you have to pay $1200 for something similar from companies like TI you will be ecstatic over a $65 board.

  50. error404 says:

    @karl: Don’t get me wrong here, nothing out there (aside from maybe basic stamp) approaches the ease of use of Arduino. If you want to get your feet wet and don’t mind risking the chance that you won’t get it working, give the STM32 board a try. Really though, my posts were targeting those with some comp sci/ee background. You will definitely need to

    The Codesourcery (free) GNU toolchain is probably the easiest route to get a compiler. You don’t get a fancy IDE though. You can then set up Eclipse to help you manage your projects, and ST has a free tool for uploading code to the device via the serial port. You’ll also need the STM32 library from ST to access peripherals.

    You could also try a 30 day trial from Codesourcery or CrossWorks.

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