Back in the day, if you needed more computing power for your embedded project, there weren’t really a whole lot of choices available. Once you’d exhausted the resources made available to you by the Arduino Uno, you reluctantly dug out an Arduino Mega and kept going.
Those days are now far in the past. However the Mega still has a place in my heart, abet a slightly pained one, which is where the Naked Mega 3 comes in.
The Naked Mega 3 is an Arduino Mega 2560-compatible board based on the ATmega2560–16AU microcontroller, built with a minimalist design and form factor in mind. At just 1.5 inches square (38.1mm × 38.1mm) this is a tiny board with only the parts needed to support the chip.
Despite that, it has an onboard Silicon Labs CP2102 UART to TTL converter, so you can program the board directly from the Arduino IDE via a mini-USB cable.
Yet perhaps the most interesting thing about the Naked Mega 3 is that it’s about as open source as hardware can get, as you can download the board schematics, and follow the build instructions to make one yourself.
While the bill of materials cost comes in around $8 per board, to assemble it for that price you’re going to have to build 40 of them. But if the thought of hand soldering 40 SMD boards doesn’t interest you, the Naked Mega is available on Tindie for $18.50.