We designed this little board here at Bot shop as our solution to saving costs on using Arduino in our projects. Using an Arduino Uno on a finished project is firstly a bit expensive, throwing money in the water on components etc. not used in a final product. Secondly, the Uno board is unnecessary big for a final project that in itself mean bigger more expensive cases, thirdly it consumes unnecessary power (4x more than the Skeleton Duino) especially if you think of using batteries.
You might be aware of the fact that in its basic form you just need the Atmega microcontroller, the crystal and 2 caps. A good idea is a 5V voltage regulator as well so you can use power sources bigger than 5V. The male rails, USB converter chip (quite expensive), 3.3V regulator, power jacks etc just add to cost and size of the board. All these are great while you develop but will not be used in a final product. Jumper cables that fall out become a nuisance etc.
We use the Arduino Uno to develop our projects because it is easy to upload the code, push in jumper wires and get things to work. Once completed, we look at other boards for the final project. We used the Arduino mini but that is still a bit pricey and we do not like the SMD micro controller and having to go through the troubles of uploading sketches with an ISP uploader.
Eventually, we used strip board to have the Atmega, crystal and capacitors on a small board for projects but that looks nasty. Worth than that is building it on stripboard, the cutting away of tracks and soldering connection wires is a pain.
Here is an example of a pic from the Internet of such a board.
So we came up with the Skeleton Duino board. There is zero fluff, no USB to TTL to program the chip. no headers and a socket to plug in Atmega IC’s instead of the SMD chips.
Programming the Atmega micro controller
The whole idea is to program the chip on your Arduino Uno, take it out of the ic socket and then put it into the ic socket of the skeleton Duino. I hope it is needless to mention that you need the Uno with the micro controller in a socket not those with the Atmega SMD chip. It does have a power LED, status LED and a 5V voltage regulator on board but that’s it.
Unexpectedly actually, this board has quite a low power consumption because there are no additional voltage regulators. resistors, IC’s and so on. An Arduino
An Arduino Uno uses without anything connected to it 45 mA. The Skeleton Duino uses 9mA. This is important if you use batteries as a power source, they will last x 5.6 times longer.
- The power terminals uses 2.54 pitch if you want to use screw terminals
- 5V regulator
- Power LED
- Status LED
- Dimensions: 45mm x 25mm
- ……uh, ok that it.