Hardware Hack: Arduino Inside!

I ordered an Arduino Pro Mini for a project I'm working on. But got all excited last night when I had my netbook apart for a RAM upgrade. I stumbled into tnkgrl's post about modding the Acer Aspire One and I got a crazy idea: my new Arduino was small enough to fit inside my netbook!

No more blu-taking my Duemilanove to the lid and having to assemble and disassemble it every time I stowed my netbook. And better yet, with tnkgrl's help, I soldered in connections direct to the mainboard, so all of my external USB sockets are still available. Hot stuff ... literally!

If you don't have an Aspire One you probably haven't discovered that a RAM upgrade requires an almost complete disassembly.

Why just do a snap-in RAM upgrade when you could take a soldering iron to your motherboard and potentially brick the whole netbook? Must have been the wine giving me courage (or stupidity) at this point! And yes, the two wires above were soldered together. I had to resolder them.

Wired and tested!

And now, in the bay that might once have housed a 3G modem...

... an Arduino Pro Mini resides, complete with FTDI break-out board. I can now write and test libraries for Arduino anywhere, anytime, with no set-up to do. As I've soldered-in a mini-USB cable, I can even replace the Arduino in under a minute if I need to. Highly recommended hack!

That is all.


  1. Thanks for sharing such useful and updated information with us. I am sure that the connections are established direct to the main board and all of my external USB sockets are still available and able to work properly.

    Thanks & Regards
    Power Protection

  2. why not put connections to the arduino ports on the outside so you can also prototype with a bread board or something.

  3. Nice build! For those wanting the arduino ports routed externally, you'd Probably want to use a Nano (smaller, and no need for FTDI adapter). As for routing Arduino pins externally, an old IDE cable could do this, but you'd need to protect the cable end from dirt. I've been thinking about embedding the arduino into my old DVD-ROM drive so it is protected...


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