INTRODUCTION to Arduino Mini




Hi folks, we hope all is well. To give you a dose of valuable information, we are here to introduce you to a new development board of Arduino family i.e. Arduino MINI. So far we know that the development of these boards helps us in development of simple as well as complex projects depending upon the user of board. Obviously to get an insight about these boards’ beginners will try to develop some simple projects and if they don’t have sound knowledge of programming then they will use preloaded programs of Arduino to turn their idea into some physically re presentable form. On the other hand experts will try to facilitate people by doing advance projects related to their field like scientific research and much more. In short these development boards are preferred on other boards as Arduino boards are inexpensive, easy hardware and software combination and simplicity. So let’s get started with the details of Arduino MINI.Arduino mini introduction




INTRODUCTION to Arduino Mini

  • This board comes up with Atmega328 microcontroller. We can differentiate this board from other in terms of PCB layout, voltage regulation, size and clock speed. Currently two versions of this board are available i.e. 3.3 V and 5 V.
  • The voltage regulator on this board makes a difference. We can check the label of regulator and if it is labeled as KB33 then it is 3.3 V model and if it is labeled as KB50 then it is 5 V model. If labeling is not given then we can check board version by measuring voltage between GND and VCC pins. KB33 runs at 8 MHz while KB50 runs at 16 MHz i.e. double frequency from KB33.
  • When we compare it with Arduino UNO, we can clearly see that Arduino UNO comes up with 2 voltage regulators while Arduino MINI comes up only with one voltage regulator. So let’s get started with key features, specifications, pin layout, programming, shield compatibility and applications of this board.

KEY FEATURES OF ARDUINO MINI:




  • Microcontroller: Uses Atmega328 microcontroller and it is incorporated inside our board.
  • Pins: Total digital input / output pins are 14. From these 14 pins 6 pins are used to provide PWM output. In addition to these pins 8 analog pins are also present on board
  • Size: When we compare this board with Arduino UNO then we can say that this board is very small and is 1/6 of total size of Arduino UNO.
  • Voltage regulator: with comparison to other boards of Arduino it comes up with only one voltage regulator and that regulator depends on the version of board i.e. if the board version is KB33 then voltage regulator is of 3.3 V otherwise for KB50 it is 5 V.
  • Clock frequency: For KB33 i.e. 3.3 V version clock frequency is half as compared to Arduino UNO as it runs at a clock frequency of 16 MHz but for KB50 i.e. 5 V version clock frequency of Arduino UNO and Arduino MINI are same i.e. 16 MHz
  • USB PORT: In Arduino MINI unlike other boards no USB port is available
  • PROGRAMMER: There is no built-in programmer for both versions of Arduino MINI
  • CONNECTORS: There are no built-in connectors for both versions of Arduino MINI i.e. this board don’t give us the flexibility to solder / attach our board based on space available and requirements of our project.
  • OPEN SOURCE: Arduino MINI is an open source for us just like the other boards developed by Ardunio.cc. it helps us to use and modify our board to adjust well in accordance to our requirements as all support and data that is available for other boards will be compatible with our board too.
  • OVERCURRENT PROTECTION: In order to prevent our board from damage where excessive current can suppress the overall performance, this feature comes handy
  • FLASH MEMORY: Flash memory of 32 KB is provided by this board out of which 0.5 KB is used for boot loader. This memory is non-volatile and is used in storing code. Non-volatile means that our code is still stored in memory even if power of board goes off.
  • SRAM: Stands for Static Random Access Memory and it is of 2 KB in size. Unlike flash memory this static random access memory is highly volatile i.e. it will lose all its data when power supply goes off.
  • EPROM: It comes up with size of 1 KB and it’s a read only memory i.e. ROM.

SPECIFICATIONS of Arduino Mini

Specifications of this board in a glance are:

  • Microcontroller: Atmega328
  • Raw voltage: 5 V – 12 V
  • Operating voltage: 3.3 V or 5 V (depending on board version)
  • Digital pins: 14
  • Analog pins: 8
  • PWM pins: 6 out of 14
  • Clock frequency: 8 MHz and 16 MHz for 3.3 V and 5 V respectively
  • USB port: No
  • Shield compatibly: No
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: No
  • Flash memory: 32 KB
  • SRAM: 2 KB
  • EPROM: 2 KB
  • Boot loader: 0.5 KB
  • Max current from chip: 200 mA
  • Current through each input / output pin: 40 mA

PIN DESCRIPTION of Arduino MINIArduino mini pinout

  • GND: to provide ground to our project
  • TX: to transmit serial data
  • RX: to receive serial data
  • AIN0 & AINO1: for internal comparator connection
  • VCC: for voltage regulation based on board version
  • RAW: for raw voltage supply to board.
  • PWM: to produce analog result using digital resources
  • Reset: to reset board by erasing data
  • FTDI: for programming our board
  • SPI: for serial peripheral interface
  • External interrupts: also called as hardware interrupts
  • I2C: for the development of I2C communication

DIFFERENCE OF ARDUINO MINIFROM OTHER ARDUINO BOARDS

  • OPERATING VOLTAGE:

All boards of Arduino family operate at 5 V but this board can be powered by using 3.3 V supplies i.e. we can say that we only need one voltage regulator either for 3.3 V or 5 V which is based on version of board. So unlike Arduino UNO that has 2 voltage regulator i.e. one for 3.3 V supply and one for 5 V supply we need only one voltage regulator in Arduino mini. If we have some modules that work with 5 V only then in order to use them with our Arduino MINI we have to do level shifting otherwise we will damage our board.

  • SPEED:

Speed at which our 3.3 V MINI board runs, is another major difference from other boards. To guarantee the safety of our microcontroller used in this board we have to put a slower resonator as compared to other boards of Arduino. But you don’t have to worry about it as this board still performs fast operations and is capable of doing all projects which other boards especially Arduino UNO can perform.

  • USB PORT:

The last difference which we are going to discuss is the deficiency of USB port in this Arduino board i.e. lack of USB to serial convertor. This port was excluded in order to make our board size compact. So lacking of this port can be somehow compensated by using FTDI Basic Breakout. If KB33 version of Arduino MINI board is used then we need this FTDI breakout circuit otherwise for KB50 version there is no need of this FTDI breakout circuit as this version comes up with USB support.

PROGRAMMING OF ARDUINO MINI

  • Arduino IDE is used to program this board just like other boards of Arduino
  • For transferring code / program to our board we have to use FTDI breakout circuit for KB33 version and USB connection for KB50.
  • C language is used for writing program
  • To transfer our code we don’t need any external burner

SHIELD COMPATIBILITY OF ARDUINO MINI

Unlike other boards of Arduino, this board is not compatible with any shields used with other boards of Arduino. One approach of connecting shields with this board is to hard wire MINI with any Arduino shield.

PROJECTS WITH ARDUINO MINI

Arduino MINI is mostly used in those projects where our space requirement and board size is of great concern. Some of the projects in which Arduino MINI is used are listed below

  • IoT applications
  • Mobile applications
  • Embedded systems
  • Display systems
  • Automation
  • Security systems

Thanks for your attention in reading this article. We hope you enjoy it. Any queries related to this topic can be asked in comment section below




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