Boot Bot Arduino Cloner

The Boot Bot Shield lets you burn the arduino boootloader onto a blank Atmega 328 chip. The bootloader is that magic piece of software that turns a mundane chip into the open source programmable miracle known as the arduino. Blank chips cost a few dollars less per chip than bootloaded ones. With the Boot Bot you will have no need for all that pre-bootloaded extravagance. Once completed, this board will allow you to use your arduino as an ISP programmer that can burn the arduino bootloader onto your raw chips!

Materials

To make a Boot Bot you will need:

breadboard

wires

atmega 328 chip

(2) 22pf Capacitors

(1) 10k resistor

(1) 16 MHz crystal

perfboard

male headers

28 pin IC socket or (4) 8 pin sockets

Step 1 Breadboard the Circuit

Breadboarding the circuit before you solder a final version could save you hours of frustration if you have a malfunctioning part! To test if our components all work we can follow the official arduino bootloading tutorial First, lay out your breadboard and arduino as shown in the image above. Note that the 10k resistor is connected to power and not to ground. The two capacitors are those 22pf capacitors you have ready. Remember that the notch on the end of the chip indicates the left side. See the second picture above for a closer look at the pin map of the atmega 328.

Now before you follow the rest of the tutorial, finish the breadboard and go to the next step!

Step 2 Program the Arduino

This was the tricky step for me. The Arduino ISP sketch located in the examples section of the arduino drop down menu does not work! Instead you must use this version. This program works great with the duemilanove. If you have an UNO, some very minor changes to the code should get it working.

To use this code with the arduino UNO find this cluster…

Code:
int error=0;
int pmode=0;

Put this above the cluster…

Code:
int initSent=0;

Find this cluster…

Code:
  switch (ch) {
  case '0': // signon
    empty_reply();
    break;

Change it to this…

Code:
  switch (ch) {
  case '0': // signon
    if(! initSent) empty_reply();
    initSent = 1;
    break;

Thank you to the wonderful people on the arduino forums for helping me solve this problem!

Step 3 Test the Circuit

Upload the ISP sketch onto your arduino.

Insert a raw Atmega 328 into the breadboard.

Select Tools>Burn Bootloader> Arduino as ISP.

The tx and rx LEDs on your arduino board should spaz out for a minute or two while it burns the bootloader.

The IDE will tell you when the bootloader is done.

If your computer says it is done bootloading and you got no error message, congrats! Now that we know it works, we can start soldering!

Step 4 Find the Right Spacing

You will need two strips of male header pins. One strip will be only two pins long. The other will be four pins long.

Insert the two pin strip into the adjoining 5 volt and ground pins on the arduino.

Insert the four pin strip into arduino pins 10, 11, 12, and 13.

Now that your pins are in place, position your perfboard over them to see where they will fit on your perfboard.

It can be helpful to mark the holes you assign to the header pins with a marker.

Step 5 Solder

Solder up the perfboard according to the same connections you made on the breadboard in step 2.

I find it helpful to check each connection with a multimeter before I move on to the next solder joint.

Pushing the male header leads down a bit through their housing can make it easier to solder and have a long enough lead left to hook up to the arduino.

If you use 4 8pin sockets as I did here:

1. Do all soldering with a chip placed firmly in the sockets. This will ensure that none are so askew as to not fit the atmega 328.
2. Solder even the loose socket connections to empty pads on the perfboard. This will ensure the sockets stay in place.

Step 6 Test

Insert a new raw chip into the socket on your new Boot Bot.

Load the ISP sketch onto your arduino.

Attach the Boot Bot shield on top of the arduino.

In the arduino development environment, Select Tools> Burn Bootloader> w/ Arduino as ISP.

Congratulations! You can now give birth to arduinos!

4 responses to “Boot Bot Arduino Cloner

  1. El

    This looks really cool. However, the code downloaded has a compile error (before or after I make the changes for the uno) using Arduino 1.0. Does this work in that version of the software on a mac?

    • The arduino team is currently fixing the code. From the official tutorial: “NOTE: Currently, you cannot use an Arduino Uno as an ISP programmer because the optiboot bootloader does not support this sketch. A revision for this is in progress.”
      Hang tight for the revision!

      I do not have a mac so I cannot say if it works on that OS.

      You could always make a perfduino with the arduino footprint if you get a duemilenove loaded chip and use that instead of the uno.

  2. El

    Sorry – I misunderstood. I thought that with the code changes listed above, you had found a workaround for the UNO problem. However, I couldn’t even get the code downloaded from above to compile, let alone even trying to upload it to any Arduino board

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s