Ok, we’ll come clean. [Design Build Destroy] didn’t really add any memory to his Arduino Nano. But he did get about 1.5K more program space when compared to the stock setup. The trick? On some Nano boards and clones, the bootloader is set to use a large block of reserved memory, but Optiboot only requires a fraction of that reserved memory. By reprogramming the bootloader and changing the configuration fuses, you can reclaim that unused memory.
Of course, you can’t easily overwrite the bootloader and fuses over the serial port to prevent you from bricking your device. The video below shows how to connect another Arduino to do the programming. You could also use any dedicated AVR programmer you happen to have. Oddly, the Uno already uses Optiboot with the same processors, and is set correctly and the video shows the differences in the configuration between the two in their default state.
Of course, depending on where you get your Nano devices and their age, you may already have this set up at which point you won’t gain anything, but you should be able to easily tell if you need to go through the steps or not. The same trick will probably work with any older Arduino boards you have laying around if Optiboot supports them. What can you do with the extra memory? Maybe speech recognition?
[original story: Hack a Day]