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Photo-board with built in Arduino compatible Board



What is a Prototino™?

The Prototino™ is an Arduino clone with a built in prototyping area.

Designed to make a permanent version of your project once you have perfected it on a breadboard but without the expense of embedding your original Arduino into your project. The Prototino also makes your project more reliable and robust. With the prototyping area integrated into the board with the microprocessor, your project will have fewer boards and fewer wires, and because of that, fewer mistakes and fewer shorts.

Prototino™ features:

1. Works with either the ATmega168 or ATmega328

2. Large breadboard like prototyping area to make the transition from breadboard to permanent easier.

3. On board 5 volt voltage regulator rated up to 1 amp.

4. On board ICSP connector.

5. Pinout for optional FTDI USB to Serial cable, works with the Arduino software without modification to load your sketches.

6. Power LED

7. All digital and analog pins are brought out to the prototyping area in a straight line.

8. Entire Prototino™ board fits inside an Altoids tin.

9. Four corner 3mm mounting holes, to secure your project.

The Prototino is small enough to fit into an Altoids tin, but still has lots of room for prototyping.

Programming the ATMega on the Prototino

The easiest way to program the ATmega on your Prototino has to be with a USB to Serial cable. With the cable you can load sketches into the Prototino using the Arduino IDE software just like a regular Arduino. If you don’t have this cable there are other ways to do it, see below for possibilities

Programming - With USB Cable:

1. Plug the USB to Serial cable’s serial end into the Prototino. The black wire is on the end of the Prototino’s connector with the GND pins and the cable’s green wire (RTS#) connects to the DTR pin on the Prototino.

2. In the Arduino IDE software, under the TOOLS menu, choose SERIAL PORT, then choose the serial port that the Prototino is connected to.

3. Under the TOOLS menu again, choose BOARD, then choose either ... w/ ATmega168 or ... w/ ATmega328 to match the actual ATmega on your Prototino.

4. Now you should be able to Verify / Compile and then upload the sketch to the Prototino.

Prototino with the FTDI USB to Serial cable connected to upload a sketch. The green wire on the FTDI cable goes into the DTR pin and the black wire is on the GND side.

Programming - With no cables at all:

Another option if you don’t have a USB to Serial cable, is to simply program the ATmega on your original Arduino and then pull it off and insert it into the Prototino.

If you have an IC puller then use it. Otherwise, you can place a small flat blade screw driver under one end of the ATmega and gently wiggle it in a bit. The IC should start to lift. Now do the same to the other end. Repeat this procedure of switching ends of the IC and wiggling the screwdriver underneath until it is free. Take your time, the pins will bend easily if forced. (See below, ATMega Microprocessor, for tips on installing a new IC.)

(This could be used as an upgrade path for your Arduino. If your Arduino has a ATmega168, then you could upgrade it with the IC that comes with a Prototino - ATmega328 version!)

If you don’t have an IC puller, you can gently lift the ATmega off of your Arduino with a screwdriver. (Work slowly at both ends.)

Programming - “Hacking” your Arudino module with jumper wires:

The Prototino can also be programed by using jumper wires and connecting it to your existing Arduino. This could make it easier if you need to test different sketches with the Prototino but don’t have a USB to serial cable. Note: Use jumper wires that are as short as possible.

Here are the steps:

1. Remove the ATmega from your Arduino board (this is your original Arduino board with USB port).

2. If you are powering your Prototino from the Arduino, then connect jumpers between +5 on the Arduino to +5 on the Prototino and ground to ground.

3. If you are powering your Prototino from another source, you must still have a ground connection between both the Arduino and the Prototino.

4. Next, put a jumper wire from TX to TX and RX to RX.

5. From the RESET pin on the Arduino. connect a jumper wire to the DTR ready pin on the Prototino.

6. Now, plug the USB cable into the Arduino and upload your sketch to the Prototino. (Remember to choose the correct ATmega, if the one on the Prototino does not match the one from the Arduino.)

Building your Prototino:

Building the Prototino is pretty easy. Nevertheless, read through these instructions before you start. The Prototino is a DIY prototyping board and there are a few optional parts that can be changed or omitted during the build depending on your project.

The first part of the build instruction are for the parts that are needed in almost all project, with optional build instructions after that.

You will need;

1. Soldering iron

2. Solder

3. Prototino kit

4. Male or Female pin headers if your project needs them.

Here are the steps: 

Common parts all builds.

1. Press the large 28 pin socket into the Prototino PCB. The curved notch on the socket should match the curve in the white silkscreen printed onto the Prototino PCB. Note: The 28 pin sockets with the bendy legs are hard to remove so don’t insert it until you have it pointing the right way. Solder the 28 pins.

2. Insert the crystal, and solder it. The crystal is the flat silver part with two legs.

3. Insert and solder C2 and C3. These are the two small mustard colored, two legged 22pf capacitors. They go beside the crystal.

4. Insert and solder C1 and C7. These are two of the small blue 0.1uf capacitors.

5. Insert and solder C5. This is the barrel like electrolytic capacitor. Note : The side of the capacitor with the white stripe and “-” must match up with the “-” printed on the Prototino at C5.

6. Insert and solder R1. This is a 10K ohm resistor (Brown - Black - Orange - Gold).

This photo shows the position of all the parts that come in the kit. (The ATmega in this photo is the ATmega168. Kits are available with both the ATmega168 and ATmega328.)

Power Supply:

The Prototino includes a voltage regulator and filtering capacitors so that you can power your project from a source greater then 7.5volts. This could be a 9 volt battery or a 12 volt adaptor (wall wort). The included voltage regulator can provide up to a maximum of 1 amp of current to your project. Depending on how much your project draws, you may need a heat-sink.

If your project needs a power supply include these parts.

1. Insert and solder C6. This is another small blue 0.1uf capacitor.

2. Insert the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is marked “LM7805”, place it so that the back metal part is over the solid white area silkscreened onto the PCB.

3. Connect your power source to ground and the VIN pin. (See pin headers below.)

Installing the LM7805 is optional. Use it if you need an on board regulated voltage.

Power LED:

The Prototino includes a power LED, which will light when there is +5 volts power on the board. It is recommended to install the LED, so that you don’t accidently “burn” your circuits by connecting or shorting parts while the board is powered. But, if the light from the LED will affect your project, removing it will not cause any functional difference on the Prototino.

Installing the LED:

1. Insert the LED into the spot marked “POWER”. The long leg of the LED goes into the side marked “+”. Solder it.

2. Insert and solder R2 in the PCB. This is a 1k ohm resistor (Brown - Black - Red - Gold) and is used to limit current to the LED.

Installing the power LED is optional.

Programming reset capacitor:

When the Prototino is used with the FTDI USB to serial cable (or the jumper wire to DTR method) the reset capacitor must be installed.

Installing the reset capacitor:

1. Insert and solder C4. This is the last small blue 0.1uf capacitor.

The small blue capacitors with the code “104” printed on them are 0.1uf capacitors .

Pin Headers:

Beside the connection to the prototype area there are two areas with pin headers that your project may need. The ICSP and the USB - Serial cable connection.


Many people do not use the ICSP (In circuit serial programmer), so unless your programmer connects here or you want to burn your own boot-loader you can skip these pins.

USB - Serial cable connection:

There are six pins from DTR though GND that are used by the USB to Serial cable. If needed these pins may be soldered onto the top or bottom of the Prototino and either vertical or horizontal pins may be used.

Note: The last pin on this connector is the VIN pin. This pin is used to connect to a battery or wall adaptor and is only used with the power supply circuitry, so if you are going to power the board from a 5 volt source then you do not need to install this pin. Also, if you do install this pin be-careful to not connect the USB to Serial cable onto it.

Bigger than actual size. The PCB is 2 7/8” x 2 1/8”. Holes are spaced ~ 2 9/16” x 1 7/8”.

ATMega Microprocessor:

One of the last steps is installing the ATMega on the Prototino. If you are going to load your sketches by using a USB to Serial cable or jumper wires then install the ATmega now, but if you are going to program it on an Arduino then until it is programmed.

To install the ATmega onto the Prototino, push it into the 28 pin socket with the round notch on the IC facing the round notch on the socket. Work slowly, place the IC over the socket without pressing. Make sure that all of the pins are on the inside the socket and beside the metal sides, not on top of them. Next, press with even pressure, sometime two thumbs works well, until the IC is seated.

Note: the first time an IC is installed the pins will be too wide. When ICs come from the factory the pin are flared out a bit, rather then pointing downward. To straighten the pins hold the IC sideways and press the row of pins onto a flat static safe surface, then flip it and do the same thing to the other side. 

It is often easier to install a new IC, (ATmega or other) if you flatten the pins a little by pressing each side of the IC’s pins onto a flat surface.

Prototyping Area:

For you convenance on the left side of the prototyping area there is access to both ground and +5 volts and at the top all of the standard Arduino digital and analog pins are brought out.

As for the prototyping area, well this is up to you, this is were you are going to make something awesome !

Other info:

The Prototino is an Arduino clone and works the Arduino software. You can learn lots more about the Arduino, find example sketches and download the software at the official Arduino web site. 

Check out here: Arduino.cc



Board file PDF: Prototino Board PDF

Schematic file PDF: Prototino Schematic PDF

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