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!
If you need to set up FTDI based boards in a lab environment where users don’t have permission to install drivers, an administrator can install the driver once, and then make the computer skip installing drivers for every new FTDI device by making a registry change. This solution can sometimes fix this specific problem.
See this page on the FTDI website for directions how.
The SparkFun RedBoard is slightly bigger than the Arduino Uno. Therefore, certain Arduino Uno enclosures will not work with the Redboard due to the narrow tolerances they have. Also, the LEDs are positioned in a different location on the board compared to the Arduino Uno so certain features of some enclosures will not work.
We have found that these Arduino Uno Enclsoures: clear and black ] are not compatible with the RedBoard. The tolerance was too small for the Redboard to fit. We have found that this Arduino Project Enclosure is compatible with the RedBoard.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
See all skill levels
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels
Based on 35 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This seems to work fine as a cheap Arduino alternative. Getting the FTDI working with Mac was a pretty big hassle, though. Once that part was accomplished, everything works fine.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
After years of on/off tinkering with Arduino I finally bought ten of these to standardize and replace my aging collection of taped-up/hacked-on Genuinos and brand X knockoffs. I love the USB Micro/Mini/whatever instead of the needlessly big USB-B metal shielding that would short out on the bottom of whatever shield was installed on classic Arduinos.
2 of 3 found this helpful:
It’s great and made in the USA. Got this for a good discount during the arduino day sale. It still was twice as much as a cheap eBay clone, but it’s four times as reliable. Sparkfun is a company I would highly recommend. Good customer service and friendly staff.
5 of 8 found this helpful:
Wish it had a micro-b USB connector instead of mini-b.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
I used this to replace my Arduino Uno and it works perfectly!
Very easy to use! Does exactly what SparkFun said it was going to do.
Great for the price, easy to use. Love the mini-USB connector, SMD components, etc. This is my go-to board for smaller projects.
No problems getting running with the Arduino IDE, works great.
Sparkfun’s arduino uno version is great, no reason not to choose it over alternatives.
Easy to use, works perfectly, and saves you money!
I bought this to replace a genuine UNO that I had to “donate” to a robotics project that my wife and I ran for her elementary school. This is not my first RedBoard either. I think they are just great.
Really great … I liked the board with the lights … all my projects are tested with it. really loved it more than the ordinary UNO board. thanks for this.
Works great. Good price. We had to rummage around the house for the right USB cable, but eventually found a selection of them.
I didn’t know anything about Arduino or programming before I bought this, but in less than a week, thanks to all the freely available code out there, I was able to connect two analogs and one digital sensor - piezo, FlexiForce, and 9DOF - and am already generating real-time data for a school project. I still don’t understand some (most?) of the quirks of the Arduino language, but I am assimilating it almost unconsciously. As for the board, you really can’t beat it for size, price, and functionality. I also give a tip of the hat to SerialChart for providing free access to their serial data monitoring software. It’s simple and it does what I need for now without fighting with MatLab or other software. Happy to be a new member of the community.
The RedBoard did what I needed. This was my first Sparkfun project and when I had some questions, your technical support was available via email and answered my questions within about 24 hours with good answers. It has been easy to work with. The tutorials are very helpful. I’m not an engineer and I’ve been able to do what I wanted so far. I’m now getting in a more sophisticated project and hopefully it will work as well.
just like Arduino
Overwrote the boot loader and use an AVR-ISP-MK2 to upload HEX files. Works as expected. Board quality seems high.
The only reason why I didn’t give 5 stars is because of shipping. Which I had to wait 2 and half weeks to receive the board, but it was worth the wait. I love how all of the components are surface mounted on this board.
I use these for all my Arduino projects.
My first purchase was the Inventor’s Kit which includes the RedBoard. I decided to follow some YouTube online lessons to introduce myself to basic electronics. This kit was recommended. I am very happy with SparkFun online support of their products which allows me to quickly install software on my Mac for development. Unfortunately, I did not do well in coding one sketch I created with regard to using the AREF pin. I had been forewarned about Magic Blue Smoke territory before I took the plunge. Magic Blue Smoke won & I learned something! Ordered 2nd RedBoard and progressing along well. Very happy with this product!
Whilst arduino and other arduino replicas work out of the box with Mac - this does not - I understand it is possible - but much more fiddly than I was expecting.
The isolation of the USB port from the processor was the primary factor in my choice. Several similar products commit interface components to the board design that limit the flexibility of the product(i.e. compass, accelerometer and/or gyro). The simplicity of the board allows the installed program to be easily monitored and/or adapted to desired changes in interface hardware. The surface mount components allow for a lower profile for adapter boards and low risk to accidental short circuits. For interest in Arduino-like design/development this is the best choice for flexibility. I have used several micro controller products over the years and feel this is a good design choice.
Great alternative to the Uno: works the same — and I like the USB mini-B plug more then the full size.
I use in both chemistry and physics, the students love using them and they seem to take abuse very well. Thumbs up!
I have always been a fan of Spark Fun and Arduino. Use them on several prototype projects. These boards are well built and provide great functionality. Arduino is a great development platform.
First Arduino board and no complaints at all. Integrates easily with the Arduino IDE and was able to start working right away. Plus the Sparkfun tutorials, documentation and codebase is really useful.
It seems to work well and the only complaint I have is that it seems to take longer to program this unit compared to some other devices such as the Nano and Mini for some reason.
It is however a great size and perfect for most things when used in conjunction with a Quiic Shield.
Just using this for a quick project. Much easier to set up and had a blinky program running within 30 seconds. Built in FTDI chip is really nice. Just wish it had maybe an extra VDD pin or two for powering more circuits.
I have had a couple of these boards running continuously for over two years. One red board is in an outdoor weather station and it’s been running well through winter freezes and summer heat. Another does continuous readings from a geiger counter to monitor background radiation levels. (Looking nervously toward the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power plant.)
I’ve used red boards in several other projects and I have had no complaints. I can also vouch for the fact they run fine at background radiation levels up to 0.25 uSv/hour, about double the normal rate, for a couple of days. (Again looking nervously toward the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power plant.)
This boards are very reliable, have a great price and great support :D
I was able to quickly set this device with the help of my son. He used one in school which got me interested. Ive been programming for work for the past 10 yesrs so its pretty easy to do basic things or find the code on the internet. I’ve been able to make a display and a countdown timer. With my son’s help we’ve figured out how to use a reed switch and light up different LEDs. End state is a tchometer and speedometer combo for my 1976 RD400. Having fun along the way is a plus.
Performs as expected, and meets all the requirements.
I am teaching another round of Intro to Programming using the Arduino classes at the K5COW Cowtown Amateur Radio Club in Fort Worth, TX. The RedBoard makes an ideal platform to begin learning to program. The students in the class quickly progress from blinking the LED, to sounding a piezo beeper, to sending their name and/or radio callsign in Morse Code, to displaying buttons on an attached TFT color touchscreen display, to sampling the outside world & displaying real-time status on the TFT color touchscreen display. Thank you for making this product available for purchase. For anyone looking for a quality Arduino UNO equivalent, I would highly recommend the SparkFun RedBoard as an excellent choice !! MJCulross (KD5RXT)