I'm still fairly new to the Arduino world. I got myself a kit with a clone board couple of months ago and have successfully prototyped the project and got it to the state I want it to be. I now want to create 5 - 10 working models of what I've done.

I'd seen on Amazon that I could get 5 Nano clones for about £10 and this seemed ideal to me. Until I saw that people were complaining that some Nano's aren't quite a direct replacement for the Uno that I have working. There's some kind of problem with loading the software from the IDE.

I really don't want to do anything more than just load my software onto the Nanos "As Is" using the IDE I already have.

Can anyone recommend what I need to look out for to ensure that the Nanos I buy will work this way please?


The Arduino Uno and Arduino Nano are fairly compatible.


  • The board layout isn't the same, Nano's won't wield a classic "shield".
  • Nano's don't have a barrel jack.
  • Nano's (usually) have a micro USB connector. While the Uno has another one.

  • But, Nano's are smaller, withouth leaving out the USB connection.

But wait!

Microcontrollers of the same family are quite scaleable, Nano and Uno might even have the same micro on it! Be sure your Nano has the same Atmega328(P?) chip as your Uno. Check if the pins you're using, are accessible on the Nano. Then you should be fine.

There is a little problem with cheap Arduino Nano's, I've bought 2, from 2 different vendors. They we're about 3$.

  • The first one featured a counterfeit FTDI chip. By installing the latest FTDI drivers, my FTDI actually got bricked. I had to undo this by using M_PROG or some EEPROM flashing tool to unbrick the chip, and install older drivers (which didn't corrupt it).
  • The second one featured an CH340G usb-serial chip. I had to download and install the drivers from a chinese website. But Windows wouldn't install unsinged drivers that easily. You have to go into advanced boot options mode and allow installing unsigned drivers.

Getting these Nano's working took me an reasonable amount of time. But they now are working quite well :) It's something to take into account when buying cheap.

I wouldn't really bother for the alternative crystal, as long as they're 16Mhz. For time-critical behaviour, I wouldn't rely too much on your crystal.


... people were complaining that some Nano's aren't quite a direct replacement for the Uno

First, I hope you have understood that the Nano and Uno have totally different board formats. The Uno is the classical Arduino format. And the Nano is for breadboards.

Second, (and this will have to be a guess in lack of info or reference in your question) the Nano USB hardware on clones may differ and require another device driver. There might be other component selections to reduce the cost such as alternative a crystal for the oscillator, protection fuse, etc.


  • The project I'm doing is just controlling RGB LEDs. All I need is to connect to one digital pin on the board and supply it with power. I was hoping I could solder a wire to a pin, load the software then seal the entire thing in a box with power in and power/signal out.
    – Lefty
    Jan 23 '16 at 13:40
  • 2
    An even cheaper solution is then to use Pro Mini clones. You would have to buy a FDTI or USB-RS232 module for sketch uploading. Jan 23 '16 at 13:51
  • Why use such a complex system when surely a little 8-pin ATTiny would be a better fit?
    – Majenko
    Jan 23 '16 at 15:27
  • @Majenko the ATTiny looks interesting - but I doubt very much if it will be a simple replacement for my Uno. Can you point me to any further reading please?
    – Lefty
    Jan 23 '16 at 18:46

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