Remember when I wrote about Cheap Arduinos? Well, if you do, maybe you remember the Diavolino.
The Diavolino is a damn cheap Arduino clone, coming in at about $13. (I say “about” because if you want some headers, or a battery pack, or a chip socket, it’ll run you another few bucks… but still, you can get away with just $13 for the base kit.)
Even though I said there was an “extremely detailed assembly guide” there were a few places where I got slightly confused, mainly just in the “power options” section. (I wasn’t even drinking when I put this kit together, unlike the last kit I built.) Since I got the Diavolino with the 3 x AA battery holder for $1, it was simple to just go with that option. Obviously you’ll need a FTDI USB-TTL cable to connect it to your computer to program it. Again, leaving out the on-board USB makes this kit nice and cheap. (I did get a socket for the chip, as I don’t like to solder chips directly into place.) My only real complaint is that, even though the board looks cool in red and black, it can be a little hard to read the type on the board to locate the correct pins. Then again, I tend to prototype in dimly lit rooms.
I got this kit put together in about 40 minutes. (In fact, I even made a time lapse video showing the assembly.) This seems like a pretty simple kit for a beginner. In fact, I could see the Diavolino being used as a kit put together in a class for people wanting to learn soldering and basic Arduino programming. (As long as you can send them home without an FTDI cable.)
The Diavolino appears to have been designed knowing that in being low cost, a few sacrifices had to be made, and I’m OK with that. If you know how you want to use it, it shouldn’t be an issue at all. (This one is destined for a robot.)