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I've just almost finished building the Single Side Arduino, but I'm missing one component: the 100uH inductor L1, right next to the pin 7 VCC of the chip. I am wondering what is the purpose of that inductor, since over that line there is only DC.

What is that inductor for? Do I miss something if I just replace L1 with an straight wire?

The schematic in high resolution is here.

Edit: the only molded/colored inductor at hand (the only one available on all the electronic stores in my little town) is 27 uH, +/-10%. Is it a good enough replacement for L1? Is there an easy way to build my own 100uH inductor? Here you can see the board building progress :)

enter image description here

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What is that inductor for?

As you point out, the inductor connects the main board power net to a dc power input of the uC.

The purpose of the inductor is to be sure that the input to the AVCC pin is really dc; even if there is some noise on the main +5V net.

For example, as the digital logic in the uC changes state, it will draw impulses of current in to the VCC pin. These will cause the +5V net to have small voltage variations. The inductor isolates the AVCC pin so these ripples don't affect it.

If you replace the inductor with a short circuit, you may see slightly more noise in the ADC readings made on analog inputs to the uC.

Edit

First, I just picked up on the fact this is a single sided board, and looking at the files on the SSA website it does look like this has caused some compromises in layout --- notably the lack of a solid ground and power planes. With this in mind, if you want to use the analog inputs, it's probably a good idea to have some kind of inductor here. If it were up to me, I'd also add some higher value capacitors (say 1 uF and 10 uF) in parallel with C3 and C6...but that might not be realistic for mechanical reasons.

27 uH, +/-10%. Is it a good enough replacement for L1?

The board should be totally functional if you use this part. It would certainly be worth building it that way and testing it.

If you see excessive noise (more than your application can allow) on the analog inputs, then you should work harder to find a 100 uH inductor. Or for a quick kludge, wire two (or more) of your 27 uH parts in series.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "I'd also add some higher value capacitors (say 1uH and 10uH)..." Wait, did you mean higher value inductors, or 1 uF and 10 uF capacitors? :) \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Dec 28 '12 at 6:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JYelton Sorry, I meant capacitors, 1 uF and 10 uF like you say. Fixed now. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Dec 28 '12 at 6:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ vz0, Just a note, @dext0rb and I were discussing this in chat, and he noticed (and I should have) the filter is resonant at 50 kHz, meaning if there is any interference source at 50 kHz, this filter won't help and will probably actually hurt your analog readings. Hopefully he will add an answer to show this result. If you want to get full performance from your analog inputs, you may want to do some simulations (including important parasitics) on this filter and optimize it before you move on. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Dec 28 '12 at 6:40
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The inductor is going between the chip power pin, and the ADC power pin. Every AVR datasheet I've ever looked at says those connections should be through a low pass filter. The inductor is acting as this low pass filter, keeping any high speed switching noise from getting to the ADC power pin. The AVcc pin is decoupled as usual since the inductor acts as a short to DC.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @vzo Rather than modify the question in this manner, you should probably ask a second question. The first is "what does this inductor do" and the second should be "substitute inductor tolerance or build one myself?" \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Dec 28 '12 at 6:23

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