Description: At SparkFun we use many Arduinos and we’re always looking for the simplest, most stable one. Each board is a bit different and no one board has everything we want, so we decided to make our own version that combines all our favorite features. The SparkFun RedBoard combines the simplicity of the UNO’s Optiboot bootloader (which is used in the Pro series), the stability of the FTDI (which we all missed after the Duemilanove was discontinued) and the R3 shield compatibility of the latest Arduino UNO R3.
The RedBoard can be programmed over a USB Mini-B cable using the Arduino IDE: Just plug in the board, select “Arduino UNO” from the board menu and you’re ready to upload code. RedBoard has all of the hardware peripherals you know and love: 14 Digital I/O pins with 6 PWM pins, 6 Analog Inputs, UART, SPI and external interrupts. We’ve also broken out the SDA, SCL and IOREF pins that showed up on the UNO R3, so the RedBoard will be compatible with future shields. This version adds an SMD ISP header for use with shields.
You can power the RedBoard over USB or through the barrel jack. The on-board power regulator can handle anything from 7 to 15VDC. Check out the related items below for a compatible wall-wart power supply.
Not sure which Arduino or Arduino-compatible board is right for you? Check out our Arduino Buying Guide!
Based on 60 ratings:
9 of 9 found this helpful:
I own several of these, some of them different revisions of the board. They all work great, and the price is really good. Always check what the currently shipping boards look like though.. the USB connector on these are USB Mini-B which differs from the Arduino UNO R3’s normal USB ‘B’ connector. (i.e. be sure to have the right USB data cable on hand to program the board)
I believe the earlier versions of this board did not break out the pins above D13 (SCL/SDA/AREF/GND) as female headers, but the more recent ones do, so that’s good news for any shields that may have relied on those header connections.
I’ve not encountered any problems programming these with the Arduino IDE as long as you select the correct board type in the software.
I like the nearly perfectly smooth back of the board that results from the surface-mount components, too. I feel like I don’t need to worry as much about rubber feet or standoffs beneath the board to avoid accidentally shorting something.
Buy a few for the kids! My kids love ‘em and are now constantly asking me to buy them some Picoboards..
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I bought this about 2 weeks ago and have been developing on it just about everyday since. It’s 100% compatible with the Uno and haven’t had any issues with its functionality. Its $5 cheaper and just as good.
Only change i would make is the on-board resistors seem too bright. A bigger resistor to make those a little duller would make this perfect.
4 of 4 found this helpful:
Only complaint I have is that it uses a mini-USB instead of micro-USB, because I have a ton of micro-USB cables lying around. I must have missed that in the product description.
Fortunately, I found an old cable in my workshop and was able to program it without running out to grab one.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I heard about Arduino from my uncle when I discussed about my interest in electronics and especially in controlling stuff. Then I did some digging and found your awesome page with lots of good stuff there and saw the Inventors kit. The collection of motors and servos and interesting sensor made me grab my wallet and order it immediately. Once it arrived, I haven’t done nearly anything else than programmed it. So, it was a really good purchase and got me even more interested in electronics ! You have also lots of other good stuff to buy. If I had the change I’d buy all of them but, you know, money…
P.S. The emails You send have good news about all the new stuff and I would also raise a thumb to your tutorials and product reviews!
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Just starting out with programming and prototyping with Arduino and this board along with the starter kit has been great.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
It’s pretty much an arduino uno that is slightly better in many ways. The only gripe I have with it is that the female headers on one side have a gap. That gap is not .1 spaced which means you can’t make a shield with perfboard. That is actually a carry over from the uno and is not really the redboard’s fault.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
The redboards are nice Uno-compatible boards, except for one problem: recent versions of Mac OS X have broken (or omitted) the FTDI drivers. It works find on my old Mac 10.6.8 OS, but students have been having trouble on newer machines. Since the main reason for choosing an old, slow processor like an Arduino compatible was for ease of use by beginners, this broken-driver problem is very irritating.
Sparkfun should test post instructions on the Redboard site for fixing the Mac OS driver problem (there are a few scattered mentions on the Arduino forums, and the FTDI page linked to by Sparkfun is not straight-forward enough for novices).
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I also call them ‘ol trusty. SparkFuns one of the few companies that kicks money back to Arduino, and being possibly the last company still manufacturing in North America it’s worth supporting.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
My only complaint so far is the obnoxiously bright LEDs that are on this board. No more stealth with this thing. Otherwise its an amazing product as usual from SFE!
3 of 4 found this helpful:
What can you not love about this board, it gets the job done and supports out favorite company.
2 of 3 found this helpful:
The only complain—whats the the 30 billion LUX green LED!
Guys, waaaaaay to bright!
I have tested many different operations with the new RedBoard and it works just fine.
Works great, but if you touch a wire going to ground with one going to the 5v or 3.3v, the board destroys the driver, forcing you to at least restart the computer you’re on. Other than that, it’s great - $6 cheaper than the uno, and cheaper shipping than on Arduino.cc
This is a great board. They have worked for all my purposes so far. No compatibility problems. I currently own 4 and highly recommend them. Thanks SparkFun!
I have tried it with the LCD / switch shield and a few other sensors. Everything worked first time. Extensive library of code that is easily modified.
I don’t know a lot about programmable IC’s at this point. However I must say delivered in good condition and tested basic functions. I am happy with the purchase and hope to learn a great deal as I embark on my automation and robotics hobby. This should be a good start.
Boots up much faster than the Uno! Also, the bottom side is nice and smooth. Easy to setup the Arduino IDE on both Mac and Windows. My only complaint is that rather bright green power LED.
I chose this over the current Uno R3 due to the mini-b header. So much less overkill than the full size one on the Uno, and I have plenty of cables kicking around for it. I also like the use of the FTDI chip for the interface, it’s super easy to get it to play nice with things.
I’ve partnered my Redboard up to a CNC shield from Protoneer, slapped the GRBL firmware on it, and within about an hour had my stepper motors happily executing g-code being piped over from Universal-G-Code-Sender…
It’s inexpensive and works well. The power LED is too bright, but it’s not a problem.
Never owned an arduino, but this little board has run all of the arduino code I have thrown at it. A very good purchase for me!
Get the FTDI drivers for Windows was bit daunting. But that’s all on Microsoft. If booted right up, grabbed com port 8 and ran all my old Adruino sketches. Currently it is running 21 shift register to light up a run of 168 LEDs. Great product and the prices was so good I ordered a second.
My son and I are having a blast learning all the things it can do. Our goal is to build a robot but we have ways to go. Baby steps for now. The hard part is learning to program.
The board itself is perfect. It would be nice to have Fritzing part, more tutorials, etc.
Does Sparkfun pay a royalty back to the Arduino Project when you sell these? I like the SMD and the USB connector better, but I am using these at work and my BOSS pays for them. I want to make sure that Arduino sticks around for a while. Thanks.
Hi Paul - No but we’ve tried multiple times since the first RedBoard version. Arduino has declined royalties up to this point. I believe it’s because if Arduino did accept royalties on unbranded derivatives it would look like tacit approval of boards out of their control. There’s an article’s worth of writing here but SparkFun will always try to find ways to support the Arduino community. We do pay royalties on the approved Arduino Pro, Pro Mini, Fio, and LilyPad. Thanks for the excellent question and review.
works just like the uno! Cheaper and has a mini usb!!! Thanks Sparkfun! :)
Loads arduino sketch which is a quick step into processor control. Great platform if you don’t want to build from scratch. In the future you can learn to program the processor.
Less time soldering/wiring/debugging and more time making/coding useful projects.
This was my first Arduino, and it works flawlessly. I’ve prototyped lots of projects and used with shields, but have overwhelmingly used it to program ATTiny processors. I accidentally learned I can program them without the ground-reset resistor or capacitor that seem to be required with the official Uno boards, so that’s incredibly convenient. The smaller USB connector is also a big plus, but people aren’t kidding when they say the LEDs are BRIGHT. Not enough to cost a star or even really bother me, but it’ll kill your night vision if you’re running it somewhere dark.
My first Arduino and it’s living up to its billing. I’m an EE by education and trade and I’ve built my own boards for small control projects, but I’d honestly rather just pull one of these out for all future needs. It’s super simple to set up, the IDE is intuitive, the price is reasonable and the footprint is minimal. Also, confession time, I hate soldering. Just hate it. This is exactly what I’ve always wanted and I’m not sure why I waited this long to get it.
The best thing about this product is that it’s really easy to just hook it up and start learning and hacking. I’ve used an Arduino Uno in the past, and it had issues with driver signature enforcement. But this RedBoard rocks! You just plug it in, download FTDI driver as an executable file, you install it and that’s it! Keep up the good work sparkfun!!!
RedBoard currently you can use the Arduino hardware can communicate with using MATLAB. Works fine!.
I bought the RedBoard a few weeks back and I’ve been working with it about one week. I also have an Arduino Uno. I use them interchangeably, but the RedBoard has surface mounted parts and the bottom of the board is totally smooth, with no protruding pins. I’ll be working with students (Jr High and High) and a board that can only short on one side cuts my worries in half. The RedBoard is terrific.
The board acts exactly like an Arduino-brand board. I like the fact that the smaller USB connector was used, but I think it would be even better with a micro USB connector.
Does what stated to do. Great support
This is the 3rd redboard for me. Seems to function well. Saw this as a reasonable compromise between a real uno and another clone that may not be as stable as the redboard.
Well engineered and assembled, a worthy Arduino offspring! Relatively inexpensive, i keep finding an excuse to add one to my order. Excellent HookUp guide (I checked it out just to be thorough). I would prefer that the guide explicitly indicated where the SPI connections were implemented (but these are identified on the schematic). I covered all the LEDs with electrical tape - they are very bright!
I did run into a component that was knocked off in shipping. So one didn’t work correctly upon arrival. But that happens and SparkFun support quickly sent me a replacement.
Works great with the SparkFun ESP8266 WiFi Shield!
Please increase the resistance to the LEDs on future boards to decrease the brightness.
I though the others were just being meticulous, but they weren’t. The LEDs are indeed much too bright. They were so bright that plugging in a wire blinded me. I had a big black dot in my vision for the next 10 minutes while I was coding. This happened many times until I couldn’t take the black dots anymore.
Ended up coloring the LEDs with a black sharpie; they’re so bright that they now match the Arduino’s brightness after coloring them in.
Other than that, it is an excellent board. No technical problems and I’m very pleased with its performance.
I will teach a class in robotics to middle school students this summer. I purchased the board for evaluation and budget. I am happy with both aspects, no glitch’s to speak of and it keeps my budget number under control. You can expect my order for more when I get final approval.
I had no problems using the board with the board using arduino so far and everything worked out of the box. I can definitely recommend this for less experienced people as it is inexpensive and the arduino environment will support it without any configuration effort other than selecting the correct virtual com port.
Worked well once I found the correct (SparkFun) USB cable. Not all USB charging cables have the data lines connected. At least the USB connector does not short against any add-on shields. Now, if just the power connector were a tad smaller…
I’ve used a few Uno variations and this is definitely my favorite. Why? That snazzy red color, of course!!
OK, that’s not the main reason, but it actually is a factor. The red board color provides great contrast to the white lettering making it much easier for my middle-aged eyes to ensure I’m using the correct pins.
Speaking of lettering, all markings are crisp and clear. The size, position, and font also lend themselves to increased readability.
Other reasons this is my fav board: - Mini-B USB connection versus full-sized B connection. Although I have about half a zillion Micro cables laying around the house, the Mini connection is more secure. - Use of SMD components. No clearance issues! You lose the ability to pop out the ATmega328 but eh, who cares. I’d rather use an Arduino Micro or Nano if I need a smaller package. - Quality! The board is precision cut and assembled with love. - Support and documentation. Sparkfun is one of two companies I turn to when I need a well documented widget. (The other may have been named for the Countess that worked with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine.) Other companies, such as the the one that rhymes with Bain Fart, pale in comparison. Seriously, having access to solid reference materials, libraries, and examples is immensely valuable.
Still reading this review? Well stop it and Add to Cart already!!
This is an exceptional alternative to the arduino brand.
I bought this Board to program The Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) on a quad copter I built. after finding the right program files the Redboard Ardunio made this simple and easy to connect and interface with the chips on the ESCs. I Hope to find more uses for this product in the future.
0 of 1 found this helpful:
This is a very nice board. It was my very first Arduino compatible board, and it has not failed me yet. The Atmel chip does get warm during PWM, but not so much that you could not keep your finger on the chip. I like the SMD chip, but might go with an Arduino with a DIP package for my next purchase.
works great and a very good value!
My first Arduino board and I am very pleased. Up and running in minutes. I installed Visual Micro for VS2012 and my first Arduino project came together without a hitch, complete with 3.5 color TFT via SPI. The mini USB is good. Micro USB is better only because I have more cables lying around. I like the FTDI, flat bottom, and yes, the color. Probably get another one soon. I’d like to play with the Due for a product prototype, but what I read about the port setup sounds like it would be a hassle for many people. Be nice to see if SFE can come up with their version of the Due, I’d get one in a second. Lastly, the regulator gets a “little” warm with the TFT running of the board with an external 12V supply. This board has taken quite some abuse but it hasn’t quit on me yet.
EDIT: I’ve come to realize that the mini USB is indeed preferable to the micro USB due to it’s sturdiness. I don’t worry about the micro plug getting ruined as things get moved around on the workbench and plugging it in the wrong way is impossible.
Works easily and as advertized
I’ve been slowly getting into the Arduino world and looking for an affordable way to replace/add to the 15 year old basic stamps in my classroom (I still use one of the Board of Education that were given away the day their website opened). Sparkfun was great about working with me to get the educator discount and set up purchase order capability. The price for the redboard is great and it works flawlessly with the Arduino IDE. I especially like that it uses the common USB A to mini B cable. The only drawback is that one cannot replace the Atmega328 as it’s a surface mount on the Redboard. Bought one for myself and soon after ordered 10 more for the class.
Simply the perfect one! The only complaint is about the brightness of the LEDs on board.
Using it as a weather station, works great, no problems.
Using it with grbl firmware and gShield to drive a pair of steppers on an automation project. I just plug the Redboard into the USB, power the gShield with an external 24v supply, and use grbl-Panel for the GUI. I have quite a bit of experience with CNC and CAM hardware, and I’m very impressed with the performance I’m getting from this simple system for very low cost.
I ordered the inventors kit and an inexpensive robot chassis initially. After going through the inventor’s kit projects I was ready to start combining them to build my first robot. When I hit a snag I found the tech support folks very knowledgeable and responsive. This is a great way to get into electronics and robotics. So no complaints about the redboard. My one suggestion overall would be to keep the site more current. There are projects described that use discontinued parts, and sometimes the sample code is for an older rev of the Arduino board. But in all those situations the tech support folks helped me through it.
thanks - great hobby.
There are no programs that I have put through it that have had issues. Love this board. Good mix of quality and price point. Highly Recommended.
I own three or four of these and I really like them! A little cheaper (in price) than a standard Arduino and still does the same thing. I’m mostly using them in turnkey projects, like CNC control with GRBL and my custom GRBL interface shield. A good no-thrills clone that does it’s job well.
It worked well with the line follower project I was doing. My only concern is that the on board LEDs are extremely bright and very hard to hide away. Nevertheless, I will be purchasing more boards in the future for additional projects.
I’m fairly new to arduino, and up to this point have only used the “real” Arduino Uno R3.
I wish there was a 3.5 rating possible.. because I think that’s what my actual first impression is.
It programmed just fine, but the AI header and DC barrel jack are both soldered noticeably crooked with respect to the board. Is the header crooked enough that it won’t accept a shield? I don’t know… but it might be???
Like the idea of it all, and the price is good, but I guess I was looking for a professionally-assembled board?
I’m going to add a star back (now a 4 rating), and wait and see how it works with shields. The AI header is definitely crooked / offset a bit, but perhaps not so much as to hinder shield attachment, especially if it’s a shield where I’m installing the headers myself. It doesn’t appear that the AI and Power headers are lined up perfectly on the images above on the product description itself, so perhaps the header alignment is of little consequence in actual use…
Hi, Sorry you received a crooked header on your board. I’m not sure how that slipped past our production team, however we do have a great production department that is always improving their processes and tests. If you would like an exchange on your board, please contact us at https://www.sparkfun.com/returns
I use this as the intro board for students before we move them to the mini for smaller projects. They can easily use jumpers to a breadboard and the excitement they get from making a light blink when they press a button is amazing!