Arduino on a BreadBoard and using the MRF24J40MA ZigBee module

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 the configuration I used to burn the boot loader onto the Atmel 328P.
To program it I just inserted it into the Arduino, downloaded the program, and then removed the Atmel 328P.
Here is the configuration I have it to run the “Blink” Example  (This is the “hello world” of arduino)
My other accomplishment today was getting the MicroChip MRF24J40MA module working with two Arduinos.  Starting out small, I have it so you can press a button on one arduino and a LED comes on the other:  (It really needs to be shown in a video.  I hope to upload one in the next few days)
20141118_164112 20141118_164119 20141118_164336 20141118_164339



Here is some more info about the module and how to use it:

Data sheet:

Information about data interface is in the datasheet for “MRF24J40 IEEE 802.15.4™ 2.4 GHz RF Transceiver

Data Sheet” (DS39776)

Great Example of how to use it:
Now I would like to be able to combine the two above so that I only need the Atmel 328P and the MRF24J40MA module.  Then I will hook up some sensors (light, temperature, humidity, gas, accelaramotrs, etc.)  Then I plan to have some of these modules through out the house feeding data into a central unit that then is loading it into a database.  Then I will be able to see how different parameters of my house changes over time.  I think I should be able to have a working prototype up by the end of day tomorrow.

One thought on “Arduino on a BreadBoard and using the MRF24J40MA ZigBee module

  1. Nice work, I have try communication between 2 device (arduino+mrf24j40ma), but I can’t receive the message from the sender. Can you tell me how to resolve that ??? maybe you can send me your code to my email. I want to try that.
    Thanks so much….

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