Way back when the Arduino started out, you could lay out a single sided through hole design. People were encouraged to make their own. Then along came computers without serial ports and the need for everything to be USB and suddenly you couldn’t design an Arduino without a 4 dollar surface mount chip. So some of us looked for alternatives to the 4 dollar part and wound up creating examples of what would become the UNO and Paul Stoffregon’s Teensy Series.
Last year I started looking at the MCP2200, which comes in a dip and is less than 2 dollars in small quantities. Best part is that it is really a full blown USB microcontroller the PIC18F14K50. I know some of you are listening to me (HATER OF PICS) and saying BUT YOU HATE PICS!. And I agree, its a neurotic half baked architecture without a decent open source tool chain which generally survives by throwing peripherals willy nilly and through Microchips extremely liberal engineering samples.
But I like this PIC.
And here is why. For less money, it does two things that the At90USB162 and the atMega8/16/32u2 don’t do.
1. It has i2c and usb (as well as spi).
2. It comes in a DIP (as well as packages that are smaller than either the ftdi or atmel chips)
Which puts us once again in a world where we can breadboard and build our own Arduino based designs without any extreme surface mount reflow setup. In other words we can make boards that most people can put together by themselves. So I am working on a through hole Arduino compatible design and should have the first test boards this week.