A $5 Arduino?!!

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At first I was presently surprised but after a while I started to wonder. Knowing that the cheapest AVR device costs about $3-$5 I started to investigate how they could build a complete board with MPU for $5 including shipping. It turns out the Chinese have CLONED the Atmel AVR processor with an instruction set compatible creation of their own. It runs most AVR code unaltered save for the fact that some of the peripherals are slightly less capable and the device used in the board only has 1K RAM and 8K flash.

Still it's a very nice entry level board for simple systems. I estimate that you can fit a program of about 1000 lines of C code into the 8K flash, which is sufficient for a lot of projects.

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Anonymous Remailer (austria)
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Nice toy, may be. Entry level - not so sure, entry into what - cut and paste?

Whether it costs $5 or $50 or is given away for free makes no significant difference I suppose. If someones invested time into it will be at a similar cost then someone might as well just watch some TV show instead.

But I have never used an evaluation board in my life (I never saw any reason why I should do the same project twice) so may be I am missing the whole point of that sort of boards.


------------------------------------------------------ Dimiter Popoff, TGI

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For one thing, it means that hobbyists such as myself can use the higher end parts without having to learn how to build a board around them and it's obvious there's a hobbyist market for the lower end stuff in eval board format as well.

As I've mentioned many times previously (:-)) my software skills are far greater than my hardware skills. I can turn out a BSP or device driver on demand (given access to the documentation of course) but I still use PDIP sized devices for my own boards.

The eval boards (at least for ARM) are exactly the kind of thing I find so useful.

[When it comes to AVR, I just build my own boards as all the parts have PDIP options. All the evaluation boards sat on my desk at the moment are ARM variants.]


PS: For myself, I would be uncomfortable using a Chinese AVR clone as I would not know what corners may have been cut by the cloners.

Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP 
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
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Simon Clubley

This is just plain wrong - you can buy an ATmega328 from Farnell for £1.2 @ 100 off so they'll be a lot cheaper if you buy a decent number direct - less than $1 not $3-5.

It is true that the board uses an inferior "clone" chip, more like an ATmega88 which of course is much cheaper from Atmel.

So if you want to work at low margins and can ship enough of them it would be quite feasible to make this board with a real Atmel processor.

Michael Kellett

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