The Bare-Bone Boards (BBB) are low cost and smaller alternate to Arduino boards which are easy and fast to build hobbyists’ and developers’ projects. The boards are designed so that they can be built in an hour even by a soldering beginner. These boards are DIY (Do it yourself) and plug and play type. The bare bones boards are clones of Arduino Duemilanove and/or Diecimila. The main advantage over original Arduino is low cost and smaller PCB size. In future the producer company intends to develop even smaller boards. In BBBs the USB (Universal Serial Bus) connections are shifted to another board. They can be programmed using the Arduino compiler software and IDE. The boards are programmed by using USB-BUB board (a USB to serial TTL board converter) or any equivalent USB programmable platform developed such as FTDI. Currently BBBs are listed as “Recommended Third-Party” hardware on the Atmel website.
Because a BBB is a soldering DIY board for beginners following assembly instructions may be useful prior or during assembly and soldering.
- Arrange all components required to run the board or which achieve the functionality. Select and order carefully the alternate i.e., which are to be changed and are not on the standard parts list.
Take print of the schematics drawings and PCB assembly drawings and study it carefully so that there should be no chance of wrong components placement and soldering. Otherwise re-work on board may be needed causing time wastage and even damage the board.
- Mount and solder all the capacitors and resistors on the board. Take care about the polarity of polar-capacitors like LEDS, Diodes and IC pins direction. The SMD components are not soldered like through hole components so their placement and soldering layers are the same layer. The radial capacitors and through hole components are soldered from the bottom side.
- Place and solder the microcontroller IC socket or the microcontroller directly over the respective footprint.
- Place and solder programming headers and power supply connectors jack.
- Verify the soldered components according to the schematic and PCB assembly drawings and wash the PCB.
- Program (download the hex file) the microcontroller using USB cable or programmer as per instructions manual.
As the Arduino boards are programmed in the C and Assembly language. The BBB boards also can be programmed using both of the languages and the same ID and compiler set used for Arduino or Freeduino. Generally, the compiler contains board support for desirable microcontroller internal and external peripherals such as timer/ counter, UARTs, clock divider and ADCs etc. The BBB boards have 100mils spacing headers which are breadboard and varoboard insertible and can work as a single component.
Fig : (A) shows a BBB PCB bare board, (B) component to be mounted over PCB board, (C) Assembled PCB, (D) Assembled BBB board inserted in the breadboard