Though you can’t go wrong with brand-name, having several Arduino clones in your tool-chest is never a bad idea. Mistakes happen, whether it be soldering, incorrect power being supplied, bending pins, etc. Many times you may need to implement a quick one-off project, and it’s really handy to know you have a couple of these laying around.
Luckily, you can pick up a set of various clones on the cheap nowadays. There are quite a few brands out there, but some of the more well-known and recommended brands are listed below based on personal experience and the amount of discussion online. Of course, Arduino clones aren’t without their problems. Some of the main problems include:
Common cons of Arduino clones
- Loosely supported serial IC’s (e.g. FTDI clones)
- Manufacturing variances
- Slight differences in the PCB
Pros of Aruino clones
- Well, there is mainly one. They’re cheap! So you don’t have to worry hasty soldering mistakes, accidentally frying them, etc., and you’ll know if you ever need some kind of one-off project you can grab one and get going.
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1. ELEGOO Nano Boards
Elegoo? Elegant-goo? No matter, these come in a 3-pack usually priced under $15.
They use a common CH340 UART/Serial chip, which if you use Windows, you’ll have to install a driver. They come with unsoldered header pins, which is usually preferred.
2. LAFVIN Nano Boards
Lafvin? Laughing-Vin? No matter, again these come in a 3-pack usually priced under $15.
Like the ELEGOOs, they use a common CH340 UART/Serial chip, (which if you use Windows, you’ll have to install a driver.) Though the big difference with these is that they come with pre-soldered headers, even the 6-pin ICSP header on the very end. So these could be a better choice if you often use breadboards for prototyping.
3. KEEYEES Uno Boards
KeeYees? Keys-Yes? No matter, again these come in a 3-pack usually priced under $20.
Once more, these use a common CH340 UART/Serial chip, (which if you use Windows, you’ll have to install a driver.) One advantage here is the accessories included: 3x USB-B to USB-A cables, male header pins (not sure why, but why not), and even 3 sets of Dupont jumper wires! Not too shabby.
So there you have it. Though the names are strange, these Arduino clone brands work great for the most part and will not leave a dent in your budget.