Build a bare bones Arduino clone which maximizes its use of real estate


Check out all the stuff crammed into a small swath of strip board. It’s got that characteristic look of a roll-your-own Arduino board, which is exactly what it is. [S. Erisman] shows you how to build your own copy of his YABBS; Yet Another Bare Bones Arduino (on Stripboard).

The strips of copper on the bottom of the substrate run perpendicular to the DIP chip and have been sliced in the middle. This greatly reduces the amount of jumpering that would have been necessary if using protoboard. A few wires make the necessary connections between the two tooled SIL headers that make up the chip socket. On the right hand side there a voltage regulator with smoothing caps. The left side hosts the obligatory pin 13 LED, and the crystal oscillator can be glimpsed on the far side of the ATmega328.

Pin headers along either side of the board have been altered to allow for soldering from the wrong side of the plastic frames. Note that there’s a three-pin hunk that breaks out the voltage regulator, and an ISP programming header sticking out the top to which those female jumper wires are connected.

Ringing in at as little as $2-$4.75 a piece you’ll have no problem leaving this in a project for the long hall. We can’t say the same for a $30+ brand name unit.


  1. Leithoa says:

    That’s a very clean build there. I don’t know how many other bare bones clones are about the internet but I’d wager many people have those parts in bins already. The price tag also makes it great for learn to code classes we’ve been trying to get going at our hackerspace.

    PS: long -haul-

  2. Tom the Brat says:

    “Maximizes use of real estate?” Not with a DIP part! Mighty tidy work, though. You got parts tighter than I sometimes do with SMD ;)

  3. dana says:

    > Yet Another Bare Bones Arduino (on Stripboard)

    Shouldn’t that be YABBAS?

  4. qwerty says:

    What if I wanted to program this one or other clones without any ties to the Arduino platform and dev system? Any alternative C libraries and compilers? Save for the use of C rather than asm, I would like to stay as much as possible close to the bare iron.

  5. Chris C. says:

    Nicely packed and small for an all through-hole board. I like the homemade pin-bending jig on the page for step #5 too.

  6. az1324 says:

    I like those LEDs, but they are not the ones linked in the BOM. So where are they really from?

    • serisman says:

      They came from my parts bin, originally in some device I tore apart years ago.

      I updated the BOM to properly indicate the (normal) LEDs should probably be 3mm instead of 5mm based on the spacing requirements of the original design.

  7. justice099 says:

    Any sources for decently priced strip-board in the USA?

  8. peter says:

    Nice build. Anyone considering this should first look at the RBBB (really bare bones board) from Eyeballing the picture, the RBBB is narrower and can be cut shorter depending on how you want to power the device. The price is $13 including AVR, PCB, headers, all necessary parts.

    No affiliation, just a happy customer.

    • jimbob says:

      Another happy customer here, and that was the first thing I thought of when I saw this. I have several BBB and RBBB boards and they are quite compact and cheap.

    • serisman says:

      Yep, that is another interesting option that has it’s time/place and is even linked to in the Instructable as a source of inspiration.

      The potential benefit of this design, is it can probably be made in under an hour for $2-$5 with parts on hand vs. $13 + shipping time/cost. Also, this can be used as a base for a finished project/prototype. Just expand the stripboard by a few rows/columns and add your other components.

  9. dioxide says:

    yabbs was the first bbs i ever dialed up

  10. Will Lyon says:

    I use the Adafruit BoArduino for my breadboarding needs. The plus to this is once I get the programming set all I need to do it pop this IC out of the BoArduino and pop it into my custom board.

    • serisman says:

      For $25 + shipping cost/time that is hardly in the same category as a $2-$5 device that you can probably build in under an hour with parts you probably already have on hand.

      But, I agree everything has it’s time and place, and that would be useful for some people or situations.

  11. Charles Haase says:

    Or if you’re not opposed to having the separate programmer chip, you could go for an Ardweeny:

    Smaller package, breadboard compatible, $10.

    Like Peter, no affiliation, just a happy customer.

  12. A Bryant says:

    Looks like the one I was working on.
    Reminds me of the old Parrallax Schools stamp that was made for easy repair.

  13. XOIIO says:

    Neat, but for that price, I’d rather go on ebay and buy an arduino pro mini clone, actually, two depending where you buy from. Messed around with a few and haven’t had a single problem.

    • Andrewq says:

      That’s what I use these days. For under four bucks and a (very) little soldering I am ready to go. I’ve used dozens with no problems.

    • serisman says:

      Yeah, I have a few of those too. But, I doubt you can get two for the cost of one of these. The cheapest I have found is about $4 /per unit but you have to buy a quantity of 5 to get that price. Also, you have to wait a month (+/- week) for china shipping.

      And… if you go with the stripboard design, you can always expand it a few rows or columns and include a few additional parts for your finished project.

  14. kubik says:

    Too big.. too big for a breadboard. This is smaller:

    • serisman says:

      … and doesn’t have the voltage regulation or the crystal (it uses the slower, less accurate internal clock). I also look at that and have no motivation to actually make it. It doesn’t look like fun to solder.

      But, I suppose that would work for some people.

  15. Willie says:

    “this in a project for the long hall.” This sentence might have been “this IS a project for the long HAUL.” Spellcheck is no substitute for proofreading,

    • targetdrone says:

      A fine example of Muphry’s Law in action. “you’ll have no problem leaving this in a project for the long hall.” In context, the word “in” is correct.

  16. dvorak says:

    Why not just stick those 10 parts directly on the breadboard?

    • boxbox says:

      Because then you’re not maximizing use of real estate once the project leaves the breadboard.

    • serisman says:

      That’s what I used to do, but I found myself running out of breadboards because I wasn’t ready to ditch an idea yet, but thought up some new idea that I wanted to try out. This is a cheap/easy way to keep the complexity (and number of wires) down on the breadboard so that it is easier to setup a new project or tear down an existing one.

  17. Ivan Dragoon says:
    • serisman says:

      Yes, that is what those are. Kind of a different market though.

      There are still a lot of people that aren’t comfortable soldering surface mount ICs.

      Chances are most people don’t have those custom built boards in their parts bin either.

  18. Christian says:

    This board may have almost the same size:

    How about cost?

    • serisman says:

      Hmmm… $2-$5 of parts you may already have and < 1hr of build time vs. $25 + shipping cost + days of shipping time.

      It's up to you, but to me they are in different categories.

  19. Why the electrolytic cap? I thought using them for a filter was a bad idea?

    • serisman says:

      The electrolytic cap is recommended depending on how far away the power source is. Usually it is a good idea if it is more than an inch or two away. It helps buffer fluctuations, and keeps a more stable (slower changing) voltage.

      The ceramic capacitor is placed as close as possible to the IC and helps eliminate the higher frequency spikes and noise.

      Depending on what your needs are, they are optional, although for the few extra cents of costs they are recommended.

      I’m not sure why they would be a bad idea, unless you meant using an electrolytic cap instead of a ceramic cap. I would not recommend that.

  20. fartface says:

    No thanks, I’ll just buy these.

    • serisman says:

      Yep, I have a few of those as well, and they can be found even cheaper on eBay (as cheap as $4 /per in a 5-pack) if you want to deal with 1 month (+/- a week) china shipping.

      But, as I have already called out, they potentially serve different purposes. This device probably can be made for $2-$5 in under an hour with parts you probably already have on hand, and it can serve as the base for an actual finished prototype/product by adding a few rows/columns to the stripboard for whatever additional components are needed.

      As always, use the right tool for the job at hand.

  21. I build the same thing onto a slightly bigger board to give me room to wire up a bunch of extra parts. The board I use is Radio Shack part number 276-150, also known as a 417 board. This board is nice because they also sell cases that exactly fit the board. I build the Arduino portion just as small on one end of the center of the board.

    It is great to be able to bread board something, then transfer it over one of the boards I made and wire it up there. I even just transfer over the programmed chip from the Arduino board and repopulate the Arduino with another of the chips I bought in bulk to get a price discount.

    I used this process to build a camera controller as well:

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