The Arduino Pro Mini 5V/16MHz ATmega328P is A lightweight, minimalist approach with a surprising amount of functionality – Recommended for veteran makers and inventors
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The Pro Mini Atmega328P is an extremely small, thin and lightweight microcontroller board that is designed specifically for semi-permanent installation into objects, exhibitions or projects that require few to no reiterations. This Arduino Board utilizes a minimalist approach, and doesn’t have pre-mounted headers, but rather allows the user to entirely decide on which types of connectors or soldering they will use.
The features were originally inspired by the need to minimize costs, although the board has garnered a niche market amongst professionals and hobbyists alike, as it offers surprisingly diverse functionality at a greatly reduced size and price. And while it may not have all of the fancy extra components that other more user-friendly boards have, for those who understand the limitations of system voltage, a lack of connectors and off board USB, these boards can be the ideal for many different projects.
Some of the unique features on this board include an off board USB connection, auto-reset support, over current protection, a 5V regulator, as well as on-board status and power LEDs. These features, packed onto a platform barely larger than an inch squared, makes this board a true master in its niche category. Additionally, with a weight of less than 2 grams, this tiny board can be discretely integrated into a project of almost any size.
– 32KB (2KB Reserved by Bootloader)
– 16MHz with External Resonator (0.5% Tolerance)
– 33 x 18mm
– Less than 2 grams
The Pro Mini ATmega328P is most commonly utilized by veterans and experienced makers for projects with extreme space limitations, such as in intricate little DIY Robots, within a tight bulkhead or even between two panes of glass. In such scenarios, users need sufficient programming power but may not have the space to efficiently or neatly install a larger board like an Arduino Leonardo. This is where the value of the Pro Mini demonstrates itself, and is why it’s become a popular board amongst makers – despite the fact that it’s technically less functional than many others.
As an inventor who is eager to learn about or practice with the Pro Mini, simple but fun projects include:
For those who already understand the limitations – and benefits – of this board, the following more complicated projects may inspire you to get making:
Despite the tiny stature and seemingly lower functionality of this board compared to others, the Pro Mini ATmega328P is a powerhouse in its own unique way. Fortunately, it also comes with a lower price than many of the others, making it a smart choice for makers and inventors who know what they need, while understanding the limitations.
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