Assembling the Freeduino Board KIT

Assembling the ArduinoTM Compatible Freeduino Board

SCHEMATICS (click on images to enlarge)
freeduino schematicfreeduino schematic 2

The Arduino diecimila compatible Freeduino board is a special version of the USB diecimila board designed by the Freeduino team using all through-hole components (except FT232RL chip), for easy assembly. The board was designed by Bill Westfield of the Freeduino team.

The latest board is v1.22 which schematic is exactly the same as v1.19.1 and V1.20.  v1.22 assembles exactly the same as v1.19.1, except for the F1 PTC resettable fuse and it includes the mini USB B socket, already presoldered to the board.

First, unpack the kit

freeduino KIT

and start with the PCB. The Freeduino board comes with the FT232RL chip,  PTC fuse  and mini USB B socket pre-soldered (v1.22 only), eliminating the most difficult task in the assembly process of the Freeduino board.

First assemble the USB portion of the board.

Identify and separate the following components:

R8 1Kohm resistor (RLED just below the power LED)
C13 4.7uF capacitor (dark yellow, marked 475 or 4.75)
LED 3mm green LED
C8, C10 100nF ceramic capacitor (brown and round, marked 104)
C4 10nF ceramic capacitor (small round brown, marked 103)
X1 mini USB B PCB jack (pre-soldered on v1.22)
SV1 3 pin male header
SHUNT Black shunt
F1 PTC resettable fuse (pre-soldered on v1.22)

Freeduino KIT
Solder the parts to the board, in any order. This completes the USB portion of the schematic.

Board v1.22 and V1.19.1: the F1 PTC resettable fuse is the blue or green rectangle marked LF050 and it is pre-soldered in the PCB.

Board V1.20: the F1 PTC resettable fuse is a through-hole component that looks very similar to a ceramic capacitor, but has markings like XF050. It must be soldered on F1.

This is how the PTC fuse for Board V1.20 looks like:

Freeduino KIT

And it must be soldered in F1:

Freeduino KIT

Plug the small shunt in SV1, shorting central pin and the top pin (USB). Install the FTDI drivers that are installed under the Arduino0009 or Arduino0010 directory. Connect the board to a Mac or PC. The LED in the board lights up and in windows you will hear a beep, indicating that windows identified an USB device. Unplug the USB connector from the board to continue soldering the rest of the components.

Freeduino KIT

After testing the USB interface, you can continue soldering the rest of the components, in any order you like. I prefer to complete the power portion of the schematic using the following parts:

DC1 DC power jack 2.1 mm barrel type
D1 1N4004 diode
C5, C12 100nF ceramic capacitor (round brown, marked 104)
C6 100uF electrolytic capacitor
C7 47uF electrolytic capacitor
IC2 7805 5V positive voltage regulator

Freeduino KIT

Move the shunt in SV1 to short the central pin and the bottom pin (EXT). This is the indication that the external power supply will be used, instead of USB. Plug a wall plug voltage regulator (+7V to +12V). The LED lights up, indicating that the Power supply is working.
Freeduino KIT

The kit can include a ceramic oscillator (orange component with 3 legs) or a crystal plus 2 x 22pF ceramic capacitors (small round brown, marked 22).  Picture of the installed ceramic oscillator:

Freeduino KIT

Picture of the installed crystal and 22pF ceramic capacitors:

Freeduino KIT
Solder the rest of the components:

R1 10 Kohm resistor
R11, R12 1 Kohm resistor
CRS, C1, C9 100nF ceramic capacitor (round brown, marked 104)
13, RX, TX 3mm LED
R7, R9, R10 1Kohm resistors (RLED)

Freeduino KIT

Freeduino KIT
Now solder the headers and sockets:

ICSP 2×3 pin male header
RESET reset switch
POWER, Analog In 2 x 6-pin female header
Digital 2 x 8-pin female header
ATMEGA168 28-pin DIP socket

Freeduino KIT

Pay special attention to the alignment of the female headers.

Freeduino KIT

And finally install the ATmega328 MCU (ATmega168 on older boards).

Freeduino KIT

The board is ready to be used. Start Arduino and load the BLINK sketch from the examples directory. Verify that ATmega328 (ATmega168 in older boards) is selected in Tools –> Microcontroller (MCU). Select the COM port number corresponding to the USB serial interface. If the port number is high (not in the 1-10 range), then you need to change it using Device Manager (in windows) to use a lower number. Press the “Upload to I/O board” button in Arduino and the board should autoreset and complete the programming. If you selected correctly the BLINK sketch, the LED “L” must start blinking once every 2 second (0.5Hz).If you use the new Arduino0010, you don’t need to worry about the COM port number being higher than 10 in Windows environment. In previous releases, COM port number needed to be 10 or lower. With Arduino0010, I have tested COM port numbers up to 36 and it is recognized perfectly.

10 Responses to “Assembling the Freeduino Board KIT”

  1. glt says:

    Very nice kit and easy to build. I’ve added a switch to select the power in my kit. You can see a picture here:

  2. Ivan Atlas says:

    How can I Buy this kit, payment vith VISA. My Country is Serbia

  3. speedstix says:

    I am considering purchasing this soon. Only thing that bothers me is the socket here. A zif socket would be nice as less pins would be damaged inserting and removing the chip.

  4. Ricklon says:

    I got a version 1.22 kit. It’s the same except my kit came with different ceramic capacitors. No big deal, but the placement of two ceramic capacitors C1, and C9 are show in the images, but not in the instructions. Here are photos of the missing parts:

  5. leon plourde says:

    I bought version V1.22, where are assembly plans? I am missing PTC fuse , : is this normal ?

  6. Leon Plourde says:

    I need the plans and schematic, for Freeduino V 1.22 that you sold me.

  7. George says:

    The problem with providing a ZIF socket is that they’re bulky and expensive. We’re probably talking $10 added to the cost of the kit just for the socket. Just be careful and you won’t damage your chip – use an IC extractor tool if you need to and take your time. If you did damage your chip, you could buy a replacement for like $5 or something (programmed with bootloader – cheaper, I imagine, if you buy a blank and program it yourself…) Under normal circumstances there will be no need to remove the ATMega once it is installed. About the only cases where you’d need to swap that IC out is if you damage it (overcurrent, etc.) or if you needed to upgrade it to a newer pin-compatible ATMega with more storage… (Is there such a chip, presently?)

  8. Leon says:

    Still no schematics or complete instructions on the version you sell?

  9. Leon says:

    Still trying to figure out the changes you made..It is very difficult with faulty instructions and pictures. As you said; picture 3 and 4 are completely irrelevent, and are to be ignored. I did what you said and ignored your instructions. Now at picture 11 There is a row if 3 resistors , 2 led, 2 resistors and 1 led. Board V1.22 has completely different holes.. Now; what am I to do??? Will you ever have proper instructions , schematics or pictures of the board you sell?

  10. […] quick and simple. There are excellent online instructions published by the Freeduino creator NKC available here. However you can also follow the silk-screen labels on the PCB as well. A good method is to start […]