Arduino issues.

More Stuff

Here’s some stuff I’m buying tonight. The other stuff has already arrived and works (5x atmega328s and an FTDI).

The real deal Arduino Uno. I decided to stop being cheap and buying ebay stuff and buy the real thing to support the arduino project. I also needed to get an arduino that supports removing the chip as my current freetronics etherten has an SMD atmega328. This limits the hackability of the board as you can not utilise the atmega8u2 on the board other than using it with the SMD chip. 

The real deal.

The real deal.

But I am still a cheap guy so I’m buying some more parts from my beloved ebay. There are actually red, green and blue LEDs in this kit enabling me to make my own RGB lights and whatever else I can think of with the large amount of parts. 

Everything you need.

Everything you need.

The last thing I’m buying is an ebay arduino duemilanove. Now don’t say I’m being a hypocrite by being all high and mighty about buying the real arduino uno and then buying a fake one. The reason I’m buying a duemilanove from ebay is that the duemilanove isn’t available from genuine retailers like little bird electronics any more. I want to get duemilanove because they have an onboard FTDI and are compatible with the AVR ISP sketch. The Arduino Uno is still quite a cool board as it features HID device support by using an atmega8u2 instead of an FTDI. This means it can show up as a keyboard or mouse or whatever.

Arduino duemilanove. A more hacker friendly board.

Arduino duemilanove. A more hacker friendly board.

Arduino issues.


This new board released by the arduino team is obviously a revolution in that it allows for lower costs and simpler design. This was to make it easier for people to design and produce their own arduino compatible products. At least that’s how it seems.The leonardo features an atmega8u2 at the core of it’s design meaning that it only needs one chip as the atmega8u2 has USB support built in. This is to make it easier for people to understand and modify the arduino. However, I don’t think that is true. Here’s why:

  1. The leonardo comes with an SMD chip. That means you can’t remove it and embed it in your own projects.
  2. There’s not much out there about the atmega8u2 as a programmer. Everyone just kind of left it alone in their unos. Everbody knows how to use FTDIs to program. Not atmega8u2s.
  3. The atmega8u2 is not available in a DIP package meaning that it is harder to make your own prototype of dev boards.

So in my opinion the new leonardo is anything but hacker friendly. The chip can’t be embedded and the programming nobody understands but hey, let’s wait and see.


In the days of the duemilanove everyone could load bootloaders and program standalone chips using the FTDI on the board. With the uno, you can’t program any chips that don’t have the arduino optiboot. No worries, you say, I’ll just bootload the chips using the AVR ISP sketch. The new arduino uno doesn’t support that sketch without some hacks that don’t seem to work. Hmmmmm. You can’t program a chip on the board without using a bootloader that the board can’t load. With the duemilanove you can program and bootload pain-free.

However, the arduino uno does have HID support meaning it can talk to the computer as if it is a mouse, keyboard or anything else that plugs in over USB. This is achieved by using the atmega8u2 to talk to the computer. The leonardo has the same feature.

The uno is a pretty cool board. I just prefer the duemilanove.

Cool. I’ve got some awesome stuff planned for the holidays like building my synth, retro game controllers and other stuff.


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