We’ve come across many an Arduino-compatible in the Maker Shed. It seems that everyday someone tells us about a smaller, newer, or differently designed version of the original. We’re always a bit leery of selling new clones but when the Menta came around we knew it was different and had to have it (we even added it to our Mintronics line-up!) To find out why, we asked Limor Fried, the founder and engineer at Adafruit, to talk about the Menta and how it differs from other Arduino-compatabiles. Here’s what she said:
Introducing the Menta, a portable minty Arduino-compatible project that fits into a common mint tin. I’ve always like electronics in mint tins and wanted an Arduino-compatible that not only fit inside the tin but also had a built-in prototyping area like the ProtoShield I designed. We took our super popular Boarduino series, wrapped it with a prototyping area, and mounted it to a rounded PCB that slots directly into an Altoids-sized metal tin. We included everything you expect to jump-start your project; a DC power adapter with polarity protection, beefy 1 Amp 5V regulator and 250mA 3.3V regulator for 3.3V devices, green power LED, red blinky LED, standard ISP-6 reprogramming header, FTDI interface plug to connect an FTDI Friend or cable, and female headers so you can use standard Arduino-compatible shields. We also added four mounting holes so you want to attach it permanently to a box or plate, and added a massive prototyping area so you can have your finished project fit completely into a protective box.
Here are her favorite things about the Menta:
Fits perfectly into a common mint tin – an easy-to-find and durable enclosure.
It’s shield-compatible! You can plug in any shield with standard Arduino pinouts.
It has a built in prototyping area for a fully enclosed project.
The high quality, USA-made PCB is the best PCB we could get and will survive beginners, soldering and de-soldering.
We gave it 4 massive mounting holes with no parts in the way, making it the perfect Arduino solid attachment.
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Couple general questions about minty boards
1) What is your preferred way to insulate the backside of any of the minty boards from the metal of the minty tin? (standoffs I have used make board too tall)
2) what is your preferred way to make holes for wires and protect the wires from sharp cut edges?
1) we include bumpers, they give you just enough standoff, or use standoffs/hexnuts
2) use a step drill
Bumpers? you mean the small stick on feet? I’ll look for some next time I’m at the hardware store. Need to be pretty small to fit in open spaces/over mounting holes. Thanks. (are you going to add them to other kits or sell them as extras?)