An Arduino Pro Mini Clone for $1.40
Most of us have lived our lives with Moore’s Law working for us in the background, driving down the cost of computing, and at the same time making it cheaper. Computing that was expensive yesterday, is cheaper today, and we’ve now reached a point it’s almost cheap enough to throw away. Enough so that you can now buy an Arduino Pro Mini clone for less than the price of a shot of espresso.
The EDMINI development board is a more-or-less direct clone of SparkFun’s Arduino Pro Mini. However, instead of using an Microchip ATmega328P, the board is built around a LogicGreen LGT8F328, an AVR-compatible chip that has only recently arrived on the scene. Running at double the clock speed of the ATmega328P, at 32MHz, the chip is (mostly) feature complete and adds other features including a 12-bit ADC and an on-chip DAC.
The board itself is pin-compatible with the Arduino Pro Mini, but also breaks out an SWD connector along with PE4 and PE5 pins. The board has an onboard power LED, and a further LED connected to pin 13, along with a reset button. It can be powered directly from a 5V supply, which will be regulated down to 3.3V for VCC. As the LGT8F328 includes an on-chip 16MHz crystal, the board does not have an external crystal.
The board comes pre-loaded with the Arduino bootloader for the MCU, and can be programmed with Arduino IDE directly. Yet the big feature of the new board is the price. At just $1.40, compared to $9.95 for the SparkFun Arduino Pro Mini, the board is cheap enough to throw away and competitively priced against the cheapest of the ESP8266-based boards. The LogicGreen LGT8F328 chip itself is also available on Taobao, starting at $0.29 a unit.