An Arduino Nano Clone In A DIP-Sized Footprint

Nobody doubts the utility of the Arduino Nano and its many clones, and chances are good you’ve got at least one or two of the tiny dev boards within arm’s reach right now. But as small as it is, the board still takes up a fair amount of real estate, especially on solderless breadboards during the prototyping phase of a project. Wouldn’t it be nice to shrink down the Nano just a bit and regain a couple of rows for plugging in components and jumpers?

It looks like [Albert van Dalen] thought so, and he managed to get a Nano’s functionality — and then some — onto a DIP-26 footprint. The aptly named “Nano DIP,” which at 33 mm x 10 mm — about the same size as the ATmega328 on the Arduino Uno — will tickle the miniaturization fans out there. The board is built around an ATtiny3217 and has almost all of the Nano’s features, like a USB port, reset button, built-in LEDs, 5 V regulator, and preloaded bootloader. Its big extra feature is the 350-kilosamples-per-second 8-bit DAC, while sacrificing external crystal pins and a 3.3 V regulator.

To make the board cheap enough to manufacture, [Albert] elected a minimum component size of 0402, which made squeezing all the parts onto the board challenging. The MCU barely fits between the header pin pads, and the Micro USB jack had to be a vertical-mount type. It does the business, though, so if you’re looking to free up a little breadboard space, check it out.

33 thoughts on “An Arduino Nano Clone In A DIP-Sized Footprint

    1. Looking at the pcb layout it seems that the usb connector had 3 through hole pads. So that connector is pretty well secured to the pcb and breaking it loose requires more force than you think.

      1. Came here specifically knowing that there would be comments about the vertical USB. There is no issue with it exactly for the reason you state as it is a common form factor for many I/O connectors nowadays. I work for a contract manufacturer and see vertical Micro USB and USB-C every day. Several of the broadcast video products we manufacture even use vertical HDMI connectors. SMT pads for the I/O and all shield tabs are TH. They are as strong as RA mount.

  1. Quite an achievement.

    A third the size of a nano and leaves a *lot* of breadboard space, the lack of which is often a pain when prototyping so this could be really useful and is quite an achievement.

    I do wonder if there could be more space made on the top of the board by using SMD DIP header mounted underneath so the terminally clumsy can have a more robustly mounted USB socket or perhaps a USB-UART connection?

    1. Or, there are various designs out there for headerless connectors, i.e. just a pattern of pads to which you connect a special cable with appropriate magnets, pogo pins, or things of that type. Usually it’s done for JTAG headers but it would work for USB, and the advantage here would be that once you’ve programmed the thing, it only needs half the vertical space in your deployed gizmo.

      It’s a pet peeve of mine when people go to great lengths to make boards with small footprints, and then just ignore the size of the components soldered to that board (looking at you, “credit card-sized” Raspberries Pi). If I want a small board, I probably want it to be small in all dimensions.

  2. That is really cool. I have a few motor controllers that uses Nanos, that I could shrink even more. I doubt I will, but now I can :)
    The completeness of the project with documentation, purchase option, IDE integration is also really neat.

    1. I would appreciate two things done differently with this. 1) a different implementation of the USB port–maybe stacked above the board or some kind of header, and 2) open source. Otherwise it’s an exciting development, albeit a little less exciting with it being sold out, and at $20 a pop.

  3. This is pretty cool. I don’t have a use case that would justify the extra cost over a regular Nano, but I can see how some would. If they get the chance to scale up production enough to bring the price down, it’s something I might give a go.

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