I’ve been thinking more and more that it’d be useful to explore smaller form factor Arduinos and clones for future space restricted projects – and though there’s plenty to choose from as a start I opted for the Adafruit DC Boarduino (Arduino Clone) Kit (w/ATmega328) – v1.0 for $17.50 and “a tweaked out FTDI FT232RL chip adapter” in the FTDI Friend + extras – v1.0 for $14.75.
My previous experience of other Adafruit kits – such as their Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield – gave me confidence it would be well documented and supported – and this particular combination seemed both cost-effective and flexible… saving $7.50 on the USB version – albeit losing the USB power and USB-serial converter, rx/tx LEDs and the rx/tx 1K series resistors… and $5.25 on the standard USB FTDI TTL-232 cable yet gaining “a little extra – in this case it’s the extra-long headers that you can use to plug it into a breadboard, or a 6-pin extension cable (which will also let you rearrange the wire order). There are also blinkies, 2 red & green LEDs that pulse when serial is sent or received. In a pinch, you can even use it to program AVRs (it’s a bit slow but works!).”