For those of you familiar with buying Arduino-related products on eBay, you probably would have seen a slew of cheap Arduino Nano boards (specifically the V3.0 ATmega328 16M 5V) being sold ($4 vs. $7.50).
So, what’s the catch?
Well, instead of the more common FTDI (FT232) chip, these modules include a CH340G USB interface chip, which is apparently much cheaper. Now, while the FT232, and specifically the FT232R, can throw driver errors (see this post for discussion), the CH340G requires a specific driver. I found the driver online although there were only Chinese instructions. However, installation is very straight-forward (on a Windows 7 (64 bit) machine, at least.
HERE’S MY DISCLAIMER…
I cannot attest to the quality of the download files. I have tried it, successfully run a Microsoft Security Essentials scan and it does not trigger any issues with virus protection. Please proceed at your own risk!
Click here for the driver software
Before connecting the Nano to your USB port:
- Download the “ch341ser,exe” file and run it.The software extracts about 8 files.
- The software asks whether it can install the CH341SER.INF driver for the CH340 chip (Version 11/04/2011, 3.3.2011.11). Click INSTALL
- A Windows message asks whether the driver has installed correctly. Click YES.
- Connect your Nano.
- From Control Panel, open Device Manager and Ports. If installed correctly you should see an entry “USB-SERIAL CH340 (COMXX)
That’s it… Cheap Nanos for all!