Project:Nanode/Building a Nanode

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Building a Nanode - in Words and Pictures

Here's how to build up a Nanode as a step by step guide. At most it should take you a couple of hours.

Then you can move on to testing and Nanode Applications

Please Note In the interests of keeping the price down Nanode does not have the FTDI serial/USB chip on board - and in this respect it is like the Arduino Pro and Pro Mini.

You can use either an FTDI cable, FTDI adaptor board or an arduino without the ATMEGA chip plugged in as a serial/programming interface to the nanode. You will need one of the three in order to flash firmware to the nanode.

These can be bought cheaply from Ebay Make sure you buy the 5V version.

Or try the cheaper USB/Serial adaptor from Cool components

If you are new to soldering and want some tips - have a look at this guide.

Note - the spare components, (4 resistors and 2 zener diodes) are no longer included in the kits from board 0770 onwards

Step 1

First identify the kit contents

Version 5 Nanode - Component side of pcb

Here you see all the resistors, capacitors, connectors, crystals and ICs needed to make the standard build of Nanode 5.

Everything should be supplied in a pink antistatic plastic "zip" bag. This early photo shows two 10R resistors - whereas there is only one needed.


From kit No. 0770 onwards, the two 68ohm resistors, 1K5 ohm, 1M ohm and two 3V6 zener diodes are no longer included

IC Sockets - special note

Some kits will have been supplied with five of the 14 pin IC sockets. This is because the supplier ran out of 28 pin sockets. No problem - Just put two together to make up the 28 pin sockets, making sure you have the pin 1 notch at the correct end and not both ends!

MAC Chip

If you have one of the later kits, you should find that the tiny MAC address IC has already been soldered in place on the back of the PCB.

This is the safest place to put it - as it would be very easily lost of put separately in with the rest of the kit components.

On the back of the pcb, on later kits, the tiny SMT MAC chip will have been already soldered in place for safe keeping

A 32 pin connector strip is supplied to help you connect you Nanode into a breadboard.

Spare Components - no longer included from kit 0770 onwards

The following components are for the Vusb option - they should not be fitted in the basic kit:

2 x 68 ohm resistor

2 x 3V6 zener diodes

1 x 1M resistor

1 x 1K5 resistor

Step 2

Now orientate the board so that the writing is positioned like this. Note how the component value has been written underneath or close by the component location.

Version 5 Nanode - Component side of pcb

This is the basic starting point for the build sequence. The pcb is built in an orderly sequence starting with the resistors and small components that are low on the board and then working up to the bulkier parts like connectors.

Building a Nanode is just a case of replicating the steps shown in the following picture sequence - no real electronics experience needed - just basic soldering skills.

Before you start

Read through this build sequence familiarising yourself with the proposed order of steps.

You may be supplied with five 14 pin sockets to make up into 2 x 28pin + 1 x 14 pin

Useful Tips These arose from the experiences of 30 new builders over the London Hackspace Nanode Weekend

1. Some kits will have been supplied with five of the 14 pin IC sockets - see photo above. Just put two together to make up the 28 pin sockets, making sure you have the pin 1 notch at the correct end and not both ends!

2. Assemble the two green screw terminal connectors into a single 4 way block as shown in the photo above, before you solder - you won't be able to do this if you solder them on individually!

3. Space the two metal crystal cans about 1mm above the pcb. This prevents the risk of the metal can shorting to any of the vias underneath.

4. Pay particular attention to the orientation of the 3V3 regulator - note it's NOT the same as the screen print legend. We had to change the regulator for one capable of more current and it came with a different pin-out. Follow the photographs carefully.

Step 3

We start with the resistors that make up the central strip. Resistor leads should be bent close to the resistor body within about 1mm.

A tip for doing this without tools - Hold the resistor between thumb and first-finger, and use the other hand to bend the resistor lead over the thumb nail.

Work methodically, - it looks neater if the resistors are all inserted the same direction so that the colour code can be read easily from the left hand side.

First we add the five 10K resistors - the colour code is Brown Black Black Red (The last band on all resistors is Brown).

After you have soldered the five resistors from the underside of the board, cut off the excess leads using side cutters.

Add the 5 10K resistors

Step 4

Now we add the four 51R resistors - the colour code is Green Brown Black Gold.

Adding the four 51R resistors

Step 5

Now we add the three 270R resistors - the colour code is Red Purple Black Black.

Adding the three 270R resistors - note the one on the extreme right

Step 6

The remaining 1R, 10R and 2K resistors are added.

1R has the colour code Brown Black Black Silver and is fitted in the position marked "ferrite".

The silver and gold colours look very similar in certain light conditions - if in doubt use a multimeter to check the value before you fit it.

10R is Brown Black Black Gold

2K is Red Black Black Brown

Note - we will not be fitting the two 68R resistors, the 1K5 and the 1M on the right hand side near the USB socket - these are a later virtual USB option - retain them in the kit to be fitted when the software for this option is released.

Adding the remaining 3 resistors

Step 7

Add the IC sockets making sure that the pin 1 "notch" lines up with the notch in the symbol on the pcb.

It's best to tack diagonally opposite corners to hold the socket in place whilst the rest of the pins are soldered. Make sure they are fitted flat on to the board.

IC Socket alignment
Flip the pcb over and tack diagonally opposite corner pins first - note an early pcb - MAC IC not fitted
Then solder every pin

Step 8

Add the four 22pF capacitors marked 22 and with a flash of black paint, and the two 10nF capacitors marked 103

Add the brown ceramic capacitors

Step 9

Add the 25MHz crystal marked 25.00SCA. Crystals should be inserted so that they are lifted approximately 1mm above the pcb to prevent possibilty of metal can shorting to vias beneath.

Add the 25MHz crystal so it is about 1mm above the board

Step 10

Add the 16MHz crystal marked 16.00SCA

Add the 16MHz crystal so it is about 1mm above the board

Step 11

Add the seven 100nF capacitors, colour blue and marked 104. There is a spare location for a 100nF capacitor next to pin 1 of the ATmega328 IC. Do not fit any component in this location - just the seven in the picture.

Add the blue 100nF ceramic capacitors

Step 12

Here is the board so far - more than half way.

The board so far assembled

Step 13

Solder in the "shield" connectors. There are 2 x 6 way and 2 x 8 way SIL sockets. Make sure you get them in the inner lines of holes and that they are fitted straight and vertical. Best to tack one end pin whilst you hold them straight - check the alignment then solder the remaining pins in place.

Fitting the four Shield Connectors

Step 14

Add the three 10uF electrolytic capacitors - noting that the longer lead is the positive which lines up with the + label on the pcb. You can also confirm the orientation by looking at the position of the white stripe (-ve) in the photograph.

Add the three 10uF electrolytic capacitors

Step 15

Add the FTDI header - a 6 way right angled header on the right hand side of the pcb. Make sure it is straight and level.

Fit the 6 way header for the FTDI cable

Step 16

Fit the right angled reset switch

Fit the Reset Switch

Step 17

Add the 5V regulator as shown and the 4 way screw terminal block. You may need to assemble the two 2 way terminal blocks to make a 4 way - BEFORE you solder to the pcb.

Fit the 5V Regulator and the Screw Terminal Block

Step 18

Fit the 1N4001 protection diode as shown - noting that the banded end is lined up with the band on the pcb legend

Fit the 1N4001 reverse polarity protection diode

Step 19

Now - the tricky part. The 3V3 regulator needs to be fitted in a certain way - but not like the pcb symbol. Copy the orientation as in the next 2 pictures.

Fit the 3V3 regulator - turned so it's exactly as shown
Fit the 3V3 regulator like this!

Step 20

Now we test the board to make sure that the 5V and 3V3 power supply rails are working OK. We do this before we insert any of the ICs (as more than 60% of the kit value is in the ICs and we don't want a premature fry-up).

Put the positive probe of the meter on pin 14 of the 14 way IC socket and the negative probe on pin 7 of the same socket.

Insert the FTDI cable with its black wire closest to the centre of the pcb. Look for a voltage close to 5.00V.

To measure the 3V3, keep the black meter lead on pin 7 of the 14 pin socket and put the red meter probe on pin 28 of the far 28 pin socket as shown. Look for a voltage close to 3.3V

Measure the 5V like this!
Measure the 5V like this!
Measure the 3V3 like this!
Measure the 3V3 like this!

Step 21

If the voltage tests check out - we can fit the remaining parts - the Mag-jack connector, the USB connector and the Red LED.

The Mag-jack has 12 pins, 2 lugs and 2 prongs to insert, and can be a bit tricky. Line it up carefilly and gently push it home. Make sure all the narrow pins have been correctly inserted through their holes.

Solder in place including the 2 metal prongs.

A similar process for the USB B socket.

The Red LED is fitted such that the long leg, the anode, is inserted in the hole closest to the edge of the pcb.

Very nearly finished

Step 22

Now we come to fit the ICs into their sockets.

Remove the power (FTDI or USB) from the pcb before inserting the ICs!

The ICs can be added - making sure you have the correct position and orientation.

Don't get the ATmega328 and the ENC28J60 in the wrong sockets - as that would be bad, quite bad.

The ATmega328 will be supplied pre-programmed with the bootloader.

Some ICs will have their pins slightly splayed. This can be fixed by pressing the side of the IC firmly against the bench top until the pins are straight and parallel.

Running the "Blinky" Test Code

Your Nanode is now ready to run Applications

Before You Start

Nanode uses an ethernet library which was written specifically to drive the ENC28J60 ethernet controller.

This device is used on several similar designs, and it must be noted that the library needs to be tailored so that it correctly addresses the ENC28J60 via digital pin 8, and not pin 10 as used in some ethernet shields.

To do this look at the DHCP test sketch and identify the line


for Nanode version 5 users this should be changed to:


Pin 8 is the pin used by the microcontroller to select the ENC28J60 for the SPI bus and if you don't add this, the MCU won't be able to communicate with the ENC28J60.

If you forget to do this, when you first power up there will be a message

ENC28J60 Version 0

This will appear as ENC28J60 Version 7 after the change has been made and you will know that all is well.

We are in the process of creating a Nanode specific library that defaults to pin 8, so this change will not be needed in the future.

Random comments

May be better to postpone insertion of the IC sockets until after the small 100nF cap's have been inserted.

Likewise for the LED - leave it until after the IC sockets.