A huge problem solved

Above: You can see it's a clone. At closer inspection,I found that «Reset» was misspelled «Resrt» (right picture above).

Below: The chip itself does not have the well known «ST» -logo on it.

In order to continue my hobby, I soon needed to move from kits and over to a controller, so I could develop my own ideas as I would be able to code the controllers myself.

First, I thought Arduino. I ordered this Arduino Uno clone, and tried to program it by USB. 

Well that didn't work! I got a USB to UART (serial) converter (the one at the left on the lower picture under).

Now, that didn't work either (damned!)! The code just wouldn't go in!

After a bit of research on the net, I found that I could use the STM32, «blue pill» controller in stead, so I bought a couple of clones and a STLink programmer for them. 

Since they were clones, I could not program them with the STM IDE, as they had wrong serial numbers. 

Therefore I tried with the Arduino IDE, since that should present no problems - well, it did. The «blue pill» wouldn't take the code either. I bought clones from another seller, with the same result.



Later, I bought another USB to UART converter, but to be honest, I haven't had time to try that one yet.

More or less, I was at a loss!

I really didn't know what to do next.

I'll sum up:

  • I have tried to program on two different PCs with Windows 10 and, in case that was the problem, I installed Linux (It's Linux Mint I prefer) to try programming from that. Did not work!
  • I have tried clones of two different controllers without being able to get code into any of them.
  • I now have 1 UNO R3 and (no less than) six «blue pill» clones that I haven't been able to make work yet (maybe I never will; I don't know).
  • I have four different adapter to the USB-port that all are going to be able to code my controllers, but NOOOO! Those I will use for other stuff, so that's no biggie.
  • I was a bit tired of the whole thing, really!
  • Last point: I never give up unless I have to. The reason why I manage to do so many things is that I do not give up until I've managed to do what I set out to do.

So it didn't look good, really. Now I had to try something else.

Above: This is also a clone, but this thing is open source. It should be possible to make an exact clone!

Below: All the code machines I have collected....

Above: This ain't no clone!

So I looked around and found what looked like a original Arduino UNO R3 for 5€. A bargain!

I was almost sure I was going to be fooled again, but at only $6 plus VAT I just had to try - usually they cost about 12€ - 15€!

Being the tough (stupid, maybe) guy that I am, I also ordered 10 «ATMEGA328P-PU Microcontrolle​r With ARDUINO UNO R3 Boot loader» that I paid about 22€ for that.

The 10 chips came a week ago, so I just put them in a drawer, waiting for the UNO to program the chips on.the UNO, since that's got a socket to put the chip in.

A bit later I read that if I change the chip too many times, the socket would turn loose and wouldn't work properly, thought I'll handle that by making my own programmer. Maybe something like the one below?

I know that tere's more to it than that, but I think I can make one of these.



Above you can see the original Arduino UNO (yeah, It turned out being an original) and one of the ATMEGA328P-PU Micro controllers I bought.

I put a USB-cable between my PC and the UNO and tried to load the «Blink» example sketch in Arduino IDE.

And, just like magic the built in LED on the UNO blinked at my command! It actually worked! I changed the code (no I can not code for Arduino yet, but I manage to change the milliseconds between the blinks), and tried again. It worked again!!

I finally had a working controller (so naturally, I have ordered another one - just to be safe)!!!

The next test was (of cause), to change the IC with one of the other I have and try that to.
Lo and behold, even that worked!!

Now I think I'll stick to the  ATMEGA328P chip. OK, it's only 8-bit, but it's THT (Through Hole Technology) and more than fast enough for me.

But, hold on a minute!

Even if I still think a chip and some resistors and condensators are cheaper than using developer boards inside your builds, there comes new stuff all the time, and if you don't watch out you'll be left in the dust, crying.

The Raspberry Pi Pico has just arrived and should cost less than 3.50€, and that's not too expensive to leave inside a project. It's code-able in two languages (C and MicroPython), and you just upload the code as it is an USB-disk. 

I have ordered one of these. Didn't find them in Norway yet, so I bought one from Denmark to have a look at it. Was expensive though. I had to pay 12.25€ to get it. I am still looking forward to getting it, as it is far more capable (link above).

So, If this goes as I hope, I will use the Arduinos for normal use and maybe the Pi Pico for the projects that demands a bit more of the controller. 

First and foremost, now I have to learn how to code for the Arduino and how to use the chip in my projects. I am thinking of making a true binary clock and have even ordered a real time clock module to keep the time when the power disappears.

I have also found some seven segments that are 12.5 cm high. That'd be good for a clock too.

We'll se, the important thing is that I now can code controllers, more specific the Arduino, so the whole  world is ahead of me again!