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A microcontroller (MCU) is a small computer on a single integrated circuit. In modern terminology, it is a System on a chip or SoC.

Community > Groups > Microcontrollers > How to Creat a Microcontroller Circuit Board
How to Creat a Microcontroller Circuit Board
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Don Caprio

Let’s get ready to circuit board desiiiiiiiiign!
We are now in the fourth part of the microcontroller tutorial. We have a microcontroller circuit diagram ready. It’s time to make a circuit board. I love this part. This is the “magical” step that takes the idea we started with and turns it into something real.
But let’s recap. So far we have learned:
  • Part 1: What is a microcontroller?
  • Part 2: How to choose your microcontroller?
  • Part 3: How to design a circuit diagram for your microcontroller?
In this fourth part, we are going to create a circuit board for our circuit, then get this board created in one way or another. This can be done in several ways, as we’ll see later.
To design our circuit board we’ll use Cadsoft Eagle. It’s available in a free version and works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Designing Schematics For Our Microcontroller Circuit

The first thing we need to do, is to put our schematic design into Eagle’s schematic editor. If you are not familiar with this process, check this out: How to create schematics with Eagle
In the previous part of this microcontroller tutorial, we decided on which components to use and how to connect them. Here is the circuit diagram we ended up with:
The ATmega32U2 microcontroller, is not in Eagle’s default library. I could have designed my own custom component, but to save time I used a library that I found here:
For the USB connector, I used one from Sparkfun’s library here:

Designing Out Board Layout

The next step is to design the board.
In Eagle, we can click on the «Board» button in the toolbar to open the design editor. If no board design exists for your schematics, you will be asked if you want to create one. Answer «Yes» to this.
I always start out by defining my board size. I know that I can get really cheap prototypes if I stick to 5cm x 5cm (1.9685 in x 1.9685 in), so I will set my board size to this.
Now it’s time to place the components onto the board and draw the connections.
In this design, I wanted to draw only on one side, so that it would be easier to mill or etch the board – just in case I wanted to do this.
You can download the finished design here:

Making the Board

There are three main ways of making a board from an Eagle design; etching, CNC milling or ordering from a prototype manufacturer. Earlier, I’ve written an overview of the three methods.
In my opinion, the easiest way is to use a PCB manufacturer. It takes a bit of time to wait for your board, but at least everything will be done properly. This does not have to be expensive. You can order 10 boards for $10 at some places. And the cheapest shipping option can be only a few dollars.
To find the best option for you, I recommend checking out that allows you to enter your board details and country, then find both price and delivery time to your country.
To see exactly how you can prepare an order of cheap PCB prototypes, check out this video:
I ended up ordering my boards from Because I wanted to get my boards fast to continue the tutorial, I paid for the fastest shipping option. Hopefully I will get it very soon.

Getting Components

A board without components isn’t very interesting. So we need to get out hands on some components too.
There are many stores that sell components online, check out my recommendations here.

Complete Parts List

Part Description Value Package
C1 Capacitor 1µF SMD 1206
C2, C3 Capacitor 12-22pF SMD 1206
C4 Capacitor Polarized 10µF Through-hole
JP1 USB Connector USB Type B Receptacle Through-hole
JP2, JP3 Header 8 pin Through-hole
LED1 Light Emitting Diode 1.8V Through-hole
Q1 Crystal 8 MHz SMD C49UP
R1, R2 Resistor 22 Ohm SMD 1206
R3 Resistor 200 Ohm SMD 1206
R4 Resistor 10k Ohm SMD 1206
S1 Momentary Switch Through-hole
U1 Microcontroller ATmega32U2 TQFP-32
If you can’t find a specific part, you could use to find out which stores that has the part you are looking for.
Now we just need to sit back and wait for the boards and components to arrive.
Statement: This post is only the personal view of the author and does not represent the opinions of


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