Lira, an Arduino-compatible microcontroller

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2013 in Arduino, open source by DP


Lira is an open source Arduino-compatible microcontroller designed by Lyratron:

What I came up with is the Lira. It is, as you will see, little more than a breakout board for the ATmega328, but it provides all the bare necessities like voltage regulation, basic power conditioning and an FTDI programming interface. It’s the smallest, simplest, cheapest design I could come up with that still uses through-hole components for ease of construction.

Via Adafruit.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am and is filed under Arduino, open source. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

11 Responses to “Lira, an Arduino-compatible microcontroller”

  1. Paresh Mathur says:

    I don’t understand several things about this board. I feel this is unnecessarily two layered. The same thing could have been done easily in one layer and etchable at home too. Also there are some things in the components themselves which I don’t understand. Like for example, in JP3 why do we have a ground? is the user going to jam in both the pins for the xtal and the ceramic caps in the same place? I would have to look into the programming header choice too.

  2. Chuckt says:

    Other than the setup fee for the boards, it is economical for teachers to use this rather than a full Arduino.

    I’ve emailed the project creator and he promtly got back to me so if you have a question, I’m sure he would answer it for you.

  3. Paresh Mathur says:

    Yes alex, that is more inline with what I had thought of.

  4. James says:

    While I don’t like to rain on a parade, I’m just not seeing where this board’s niche is.

    There are smaller boards, so it’s not that.

    There are cheaper boards, so it’s not that.

    There are single sided easy-to-homebrew-boards, so it’s not that.

    I guess perhaps it’s just a because-i-can board, in which case that’s cool, but it’s not really marketable I think.

    Personally, the Diavolino from EvilMadScience is cheaper (11.95 without headers and regulator), better looking, uses the “standard” form factor, and is completely customizable in terms of what you do and don’t use.

    Anybody and their dog can make an “Arduino Compatible” board. Making one which actually is any better a choice than any of the other bajillion variants is a harder task.

    • Zeta says:

      Design wise, I think it has certain advantages over other designs, in particular over the diavolino.

      I think it’s main apeal is to breadboard users. Most of us (even dangerous prototypes) have done our own breakout boards and modules in a form factor that can be easily plugged on a breadboard. Most experimenters (and therefore learners) have always used and will allways use a breadoard because in a breadboard the circuit can be easily reconfigured.

      You want a small module because you don’t want it take your whole breadboard. To make it as small as posible you need double side otherwise you end up with a bigger than necesary board like the diavolino. Are there smaller boards? Yeah, using SMD parts you can make it a litle smaller, but they wanted to make it TH, it is their design choise. A batch of single sided pcbs cost the same as dual side pcb anyways.

      You could easily get 20 of these boards for 10 bucks on seeed other pcb service. Therefore it costs 50cents per board. Add a couple of capacitors, resistors, a regulator and headers. in the end the cost is driven by the cost of the Atmega328.

      The down side of this board (and actually all arduino boards is) is that it does not contain proper debug functionality.

      By the other hand. I really dont see the use of the diavolino. You said: “(diavolino) is cheaper, better looking”
      lol you gotta be kidding. I know, I know, looks are relative.

      It’s too big for a breadoard. You also don’t really want to leave a big board on a permanent project. Price wise, you could get a full arduino clone for 15 bucks no need for the external usb/uart cable. And finaly, the diavolino has to be the ugliest board ever!!

  5. Chuckt says:

    The Lira’s appeal and niche is affordability and small form factor.

    If you paid $30 for 30 Arduino’s to use in a classroom, you are talking about $900 plus FTDI or USB cables..
    If you are talking about using a Lira, you are looking at an $8 board, a chip and a few components.
    If you have a $2 Microchip Pic, you are looking at $60 a classroom plus small breadboards, small components and one or two Pickit 2’s.

    It is a no brainer that the $30 Arduino doesn’t make sense for an elementary classroom.

    • Zeta says:

      Are you saying a bare (unpopulated) Lira pcb board costs $8 USD?

      • Chuckt says:


        The price I was quoted was $8.30 (plus shipping and handling) plus Batchpcb has a $10 setup fee. I believe Peter put the Gerber files in a download so you can basically get it made anywhere you want but a fully populated Lira should cost $15 to make yourself.


  6. WestfW says:

    Looks a lot like the Modern Devices “Really Bare Bones Arduino” board; one of the very earliest “value-added” arduino clones: (also available as a bare board.)
    This was also modified to make it single-sided and even easier to home-etch…

    > “It is a no brainer that the $30 Arduino doesn’t make sense for an elementary classroom.”
    No, it isn’t. First of all, you’re comparing a board an arduino that plugs directly into a computer using a standard cable, with a “bare bones” device that uses a special (expensive) cable that is easy to plug in backwards, plus a breadboard (more $) if you want to connect things to it. Secondly, you’re comparing a fully-assembled board to a kit; a kit that SOMEONE has to build. Thirdly, the education market is WEIRD. You can look through pretty much any “educational” catalog and find a bunch of overpriced … stuff whose main claims to fame involve a tightly coupled curriculum or textbook, some agency seal of approval, unusual robustness, and undue attention to “safety.” (you weren’t going to assembler those Liras with lead-containing solder, were you? Horrrors! Kids could put those in their mouths!) If you’re going to go into a classroom for a one-day “this is a microcontroller” guest-lecture, and give everyone an arduino-compatible, then the difference between a $10 per-person and a $30 per-person system might be important. If you want microcontrollers in a classroom as a normal part of some class, than the expensive part is likely to be training the teacher.

    • Chuckt says:


      I know of a teacher who was teaching 3rd and now he’s teaching 4th. He teaches the kids electronics but the school isn’t going to put out $900 to train the kids who don’t have the attention span.

      I also went to college with college kids who had to collaborate in a group and most of them didn’t care and didn’t like the fact that I talked so much because they weren’t interested in trying harder and harder to get a better grade. We were also taught how to summarize for college because the reason kids fail is because they try too hard and it is easier to remember a summary when I can summarize a paragraph in two words instead of remembering 30 or 60 words. In the same way, it is easier to teach kids a few things about microcontrollers then expecting them to master it. Some care and some won’t. Some will master it and some won’t. It isn’t a prerequisite for getting through school yet.

      Do you know what the elementary teacher teaches 3rd graders? How to make music with transisters and resistors? Are resistors and transistors made with lead? Only if they aren’t ROHS. Do the students put them in their mouths? Does the school allow anything they don’t want their students to do? No. A microcontroller project would have to get cleared with the principal before any kids were to get involved.

      One or two people could build 30 Liras in a couple of evenings or weekends. It isn’t that hard. Does it have to be Liras? No. They could use Microchip pics? They’re not ARM chips and we’re not expecting students to learn CPU tricks either.

      In 9th grade, a kid in my class put a paper clip in the outlets and burned several out and he got detention for that. I don’t want my kid to play gymnastics but but he does and kids can get hurt in any sport too.


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