SMDuino Helps Arduino Fit Into Tight Places

[Adam] was tired of plopping the same components over and over into his Arduino-based designs. He spent part of his weekend laying out a small board that would host everything he needed and could be built as a single component for all future projects. Above you can see the project he calls SMDuino, an Arduino clone that can be used as a surface mount part.

The contacts on four sides of the board break out the pins. They’ve been designed with 0.1″ pitch which means they will work with standard pin headers. But since they’re plated through from top to bottom they are easy to solder to surface mount pads as well. The project is open source, so you can order your own boards (he used DorkBot PDX) or email him if you want to get in on a pre-order. That is for unpopulated PCBs only. But there’s few components used here so it’s pretty inexpensive to throw together. You’ll need four caps, four resistors, a crystal, an LED, the ATmega*8 of your choice (an ATmega328 is used here), and a low dropout regulator. Of course it is possible to go without the crystal oscillator.

Does this remind anyone else of the Basic Stamp 2?

21 thoughts on “SMDuino Helps Arduino Fit Into Tight Places

    1. You get the full Arduino platform in a known form factor. This is from the site:

      SMDuino provides a much needed surface mount solution for Arduino based projects. By eliminating the need to integrate the common support components for Arduino’s ATMEGA, engineers and hobbyists alike can accelerate their designs and produce a finished product. No more prototype wires and development boards under the hood!

      So basically you can design a board and everything in it then solder this in and you have a complete Arduino without needing to put the individual components in. Plus with the standard header spacing you can breadboard then go production SMD with the same board.

  1. If the Arduino has taught one useful thing it’s that stacking boards saves a hell of a lot of space. I don’t see the point of this as an SMD part. I suppose you can run traces under it ala 4 layer PCB, but beyond that it’s a waste of space.

    Now putting SMDs under that cute little Arduino clone is an entirely different matter. :-)

  2. Sure SMD’ing it doesn’t save footprint but it does allow you to not have to worry about the via for the header and should let you get a more dense final layout while only dealing with the SMDuino core as a single part.

    So build 100 of these SMDuinos, solder on headers for gross prototyping then when you’re ready to make tighter semi-production pieces using SMD or just a small-footprint board you don’t need to assemble more Arduino pieces together, you just put the SMDuino in like a black box.

    At least, that’s how I’d see it.

  3. If you like this, there’s also the ExtraCore project. I like both.

    It’s remarkable how Dorkbot PDX’s awesome pricing has encouraged designs that fit inside 1 square inch.

    @Garbz – You’re talking about “shields”. Aside from having broken pin spacing, Arduino shields ARE a great concept and it certainly makes things user friendly – when tinkering. Shields aren’t always used when taking something from a prototype/tinker stage and making it more of a semi-permanent installation.

    This board looks real nice for soldering to “standard” protoboard. You can make your own shields basically, without needing the custom Arduino shield PCBs.

    1. Yes I was talking about shields, but not used as a concept for prototyping or modularity, but rather as a space saver.

      I did this for my last few projects, stacked boards on top of each other with board-to-board connectors. This allowed amongst other things something like a 4 layer PCB (even when making your own at home), and the boards are separated by just enough space for the fattest component to fit in the sandwich.

      The result is a layout that is more cubic rather than flat and large.

  4. Had to do sign up for his preorder batch, This will be the first actual Arduino-type dev board I ever use. This will also be the first time I try using SMD parts to populate a board.

    As an aside, he’s got it listed that if you’re in the first fifty to sign up for it will be getting two boards.

  5. Thats pretty neat! That saves so much hassle!

    For the other comments: I think the choice of SMD is not so much cramming a ton of stuff into one board, but its the cheaper cost and low profile that the person was going for. Also, you can populate a ton of boards and then just throw it in the oven in one step.

    lol love the little 1×1 radioshack board. There’s about a thousand of those lying around in my apartment.

  6. I see this and I see a new line of space-conscious microprocessors… call it the “WeenyDuino” (I assume no one else has come up with one of those yet). Make it a mini-platform, create mini shields that follow this smaller size (inset pins by a few 32nds from the headers, tilt them outward to meet the pin headers along the edge of the board above them, and you’ve got a stacking system in similar fashion to the full-size shields), and develop the full-size shields in parallel with the mini-shields…

  7. Its just the minimum of parts needed to get a ‘duino up and running. A standard module. Good idea because I don’t want to redesign the ‘duino over and over, just my diversity of custom circuits outside of it. I can also see this being expanded to include ‘duino with DS323x, ‘duino with SD slot, ‘duino with “put the device you want in every design here”. Near every project I have includes a clock chip. Half of those also include an SD slot. His idea will suit the prolific enthusiast that’s surging ahead through their 17th design and doesn’t want to bother with the “same old, same old” portions of the design. This is the same for us as the invention of the cookie cutter was for the baker. He’s advancing us.

  8. I really like the way the pads work, it’s a neat idea, seems like a great way to make a nice compact board.

    Also dorkbots PDX is an absolutely great service, it makes projects look nice to have everything on a net little PCB

  9. I don’t see how this is an arduino, it doesn’t have the arduino programming interface but uses ISP instead, and the ports are numbered correctly instead of in the arduino way.

    This is a small ATmega breakout board that won’t fit in a breadboard since it has pins on all 4 sides.

    I really don’t see who would surface mount this thing onto a project board either since you might as well just mount the AVR then.

    It does have it’s uses though, it’s a great idea for people who want to use AVRs in veroboards and don’t want to mount all the programming connectors, capacitors and crystals every single time.

    1. I think the ISP is optional, as the photo clearly shows an FTDI chip connected to the protoboard. That most likely does the serial connection, and thus it’s programmable by the Arduino with the right bootloader loaded.

      If you don’t add all headers you could put it in a breadboard :P

      I would mount an AVR myself. But that’s just me, and people like me.

      1. People like you? You mean smart people who use proper compilers and programming tools instead of the strangely cobbled together arduino software and hardware?

        Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a common platform is great, it’s just that renumbering the pins and programming it over serial protocol using a bootloader just wasn’t a good idea to start with.

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