Nano Survivability

The Nano in the Raduino is readily damaged from wires touching 12v points, being exposed to RF, and from the Raduino being plugged in to the DuPont connector incorrectly.   Since the middle of 2018, these have been socketed, making it relatively easy to replace the unit.  Earlier units were soldered in place.

Ted K3RTA asks, “Have any of my fellow uBitx / Bitx40/20 owners experienced a different life span or robust survival rate between US$22 authentic Arduino processors over their cheap-as-dirt clones out of the Far East?”

A response from Jerry KE7ER

“Some of the Nano failures reported here can be attributed to not enough protection on the IO pins.  For example, a couple pins going out to a keyer may as well be protected from static discharge with series 1k resistors. Raduino should have protection against reverse power.  RF could conceivably get into some of these wires and zap an IO pin, though I tend to doubt that unless very long.

I had one of my stock Nano’s go south, though it could well have been something I said.  Several reports in the forum of stock Nano’s working out of the box, but sucking far more power than they should.  Suggests to me a Nano clone manufacturer with a quick go/no-go test, but not much more in the way of quality control.

When mine blew I then bought three from Elegoo at over $4 each, no troubles with them.  Expensive? Well not really, but there are Nano’s on Ebay for down around $2. Those $2 ebay boards have little pressure to maintain quality control, all they need to do is get their board a nickle cheaper and ship something that vaguely works. Seems likely that some would be built using somebody else’s reject parts.  Elegoo has a name to defend, they get good reviews, and likely monitor their sources closely for trouble.  At least, that’s my theory.  Seems worth a few bucks to (slightly?) reduce my odds of spending a day tearing at my hair.  What little hair (and time) I have is well worth $5.

I have yet to spend big bucks on a genuine Arduino Nano.

A response from Jack W8TEE

There’s no doubt that “real” Arduino boards rarely have any problems when used and are of better quality than the clones. I used nothing but the real thing for years. Somewhere along the line I started trying the clones…

I’ve been pretty lucky with the clones. The biggest problem I’ve had is the non-standard drivers. However, in most cases, downloading/installing the CH340 device driver fixes that problem. More recently, I thought I was seeing the driver problem again, but even installing the CH340 didn’t fix it. Turns out some of the clone manufacturers are using an ancient bootloader that is confused by the recent versions of the IDE. Fortunately, it’s easily solved. Use the menu sequence Tools –> Processor: “ATmega328p” –> ATmega328P (Old Bootloader) and do another compile/upload sequence and that should take care of it.

At times, I do feel guilty that I’m no longer using the “real” Arduino controllers. I try to make up for this by making a small donation every time I download a new release of the IDE. I think that probably more than makes up for the small profit they might have made had I purchased the real thing. I hope so. I also hope everyone else does make some kind of donation from time-to-time. Now, if they want to integrate a full symbolic debugger….