Two accomplishments today. First, I was able to use the Atmel 328P chip outside of the Arduino board. What is the benefit of this? First, cost.. The Arduino UNO is currently $25 but the Atmel 328P is only $1,86 if you buy it on eBay, and only a few dollars more if you buy it from some place else. However, you are going to need a few more components such as a 16MHz crystal, a few capacitors, resistors, voltage regulator, wires, and something mount it on.. All told, probably another $5. Now you won’t have the nice board, the USB to serial converter, the 3.3volts power connection (could easily use two resistors to create a voltage divider to step the 5V down). So it is not an apple to apple comparison. But if you want to have these chips in a lot of little projects, then you are going to have a lot more options when the price gets to the $5-$10 range instead of the $25 range.
Also, you can compact the design down to just what you need. You have more control over the final form factor. And this is also a good step into the world of microcontrollers in general. Before you know it, you will be programming the entire Atmel family of chips..
So, how to get started. There were a number of really good tutorials that I looked through.:
Here is some more info about the module and how to use it:
Data Sheet” (DS39776)http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/39776C.pdf