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Noob: newly purchased arduino in peril, FEZ to the rescue?



I am a total n00b, not an idiot. Although similar, there are fundamental differences, so please bear with me.

I crippled an arduino clone (seeeduino mega) that I had JUST purchased a week prior, by accidently dislocating its tender, fragile little mini USB port. Me, being the extreme rookie that I am… with $2.99 Fry’s Electronics soldering pen in hand, set forth to do a SMD scale repair job on said 'duino. After inhaling a good dose of toxic solder flux fumes for a couple of hours, I came to the realization that my unrelenting persistence would only worsen this situation. At first I could see the 4 traces on the PCB to splice into, and came OH SO CLOSE to NAILING it (until that huge blob of solder messed up what was surely a cold solder joint to begin with)!!! But with each failed attempt the traces got shorter and shorter… and now there are but a few millimeters of conductive goodness remaining beside the lurking presence of an unsympathetic FTDI chip. For a moment I thought this was a sign from the heavens, telling me to turn away from this growing compulsion of mine; to no longer spend an irresponsibly, disproportionately large amount of my meager income on green laser pointers, ultrasonic rangefinders, a broad selection of electronic components of which I have no usable comprehension of, and of course, microcontrollers. Maybe it would have been better to turn my back and walk away from it all, But as I stared at the newly disassembled roomba that lay before me, it became clear that there was no denying fate, and my fate was with the FEZ.

So anyway I bought a Domino to replace my arduino, and now I am super paranoid of bricking or crippling or maiming my new toy, to the extent of it becoming a roadblock to my progress towards my ultimate goal of building “something cool with motors and (green) lasers on it”. MY QUESTION IS:

The processor and nearly every component of the arduino seems to be intact, as I am able to power it up and use the stepper motor sketch that now seems to be indelibly etched into its memory. My problem is that I’m afraid that if I make another attempt at a green wire splice on the PCB, I’m going to roast that FTDI chip which sits very very close to the only spot I can see this ambitious soldering feat taking place. Chances are I roasted the FTDI already (I’m not sure how heat sensitive of a component FTDI chips are). Is there any way I could use FEZ to program the arduino, sidestepping the whole FTDI component? At the very least is there a way to use the arduino as a slave or a “firewall” or maybe a breakout board(?) of sorts so I can plug various components in to my FEZ and not have to down a valium every time I try? Of course I know that in order to make any progress with embedded systems and the like, I’m going to have to have a better understanding of electrical circuits/currents/resistances/voltages/algebra/7th grade math/life in general and whatnot. I just can’t help the nagging feeling that FEZ can help bring arduino back to life and enslave it to do its dirty work while it sits, stoically perched atop a throne of .NET framework awesomeness and dominion. I also considered maybe trying one of those conductive silver pens to draw a trace leading to a larger, open area where my huge solder blobs have a chance in hell of working and not bridging to 12 other pieces of metal along the way, but I have no experience with these expensive pens and while I bought one the other day for $12.99, I couldn’t justify keeping it so I returned it. BTW I have a dual H Bridge motor driver board and an easy stepper board that I bought from sparkfun at the same time I bought fez, knowing full well that I lack the experience to prevent another microprocessor maiming from occurring. I am slowly becoming familiar with them, but hell… I spent like $50 bucks on that arduino and the flashing, playfully flickering LEDs on it taunt me and make me want to force it to suffer, toil, and do my bidding. Many thanks to all who had the patience to read through this unncessarily verbose post of mine, it’s probably pretty evident that I don’t get out much nowadays. :wink: So should I just move on with my life and try to forget that my little arduino ever existed? or is it still a usable piece of circuit board?


I feel for you Gil.
Have you seen this from Gus


You can still use the Arduino, even if the FTDI is roasted, by going directly into the serial headers. You will also need to wire up some circuity to do an “auto reset”, but the Arduino isn’t useless as long as you didn’t hose it up too bad.


Awesome thanks guys! super stoked. ;D



The FT232 would have been soldered to the board in an SMT oven at over 200C, you wouldn’t have killed it with a cheap soldering iron! Blowtorches kill them, soldering irons do not!

If can get a fine tipped soldering iron and some very fine wire (28awg or smaller) you can just hook some wires up to the traces on the PCB :slight_smile: