Electric Imp Shield

If you aren't familiar with the Electric Imp, it essentially provides an easy, integrated way to connect almost any hardware device both to other devices and to internet services. It's more than just a WiFi card, or even a WiFi module with processing built in - it's an integrated platform that deals with the drudgery of connectivity, allowing you to concentrate on the application instead of the mechanics. Of course, if you're developing for it you'll need a way to get in there and poke around. The Electric Imp Shield allows you to connect your Arduino project to the internet through your home WiFi network. This way, your Arduino can take advantage of the Imp Cloud service and connect to HTTP APIs.

The Shield connects one of the imp's UARTs (Imp pins 5 and 7) to either the Arduino hardware UART or a software serial on pins 8 and 9. It defaults to the software serial, but there are jumpers on the bottom side to set it to the hardware serial. A couple imp pins (8 & 9) are also connected to LEDs. They can be disconnected via jumpers on the bottom, if you'd like.

Because the Electric Imp can draw up to 400mA on the 3.3V line, this shield has its own voltage regulator which is fed from the 5V Arduino line. Most Arduino compatible boards should be able to handle this amount of draw but beware that some clones that use less robust VREGs could see trouble.

Electric Imp Shield Product Help and Resources

Wireless Arduino Programming with Electric Imp

February 24, 2014

Reprogram your Arduino from anywhere in the world using the Tomatoless Boots wireless bootloader with the Electric Imp.

Electric Imp Breakout Hookup Guide

June 25, 2015

An electric imp HUG! Provides an overview of the imp card and breakout. Both hardware and firmware subjects are covered.

Arduino Wireless Communication via the Electric Imp

April 8, 2014

How to communicate between an Electric Imp and Arduino using serial.

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

2 Soldering

Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

2 Electrical Prototyping

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


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Gus Smith / about 11 years ago / 2

    I just got this shield and it is working. I also have this display https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11442. But when I use the Wire library functions my sketch stops working right after Wire.endTransmission();

    I am using the Arduino I2C pins A4,A5 on the shield.

  • mjkuwp / about 11 years ago / 2

    I like this board and the Imp. I got it up and running in just a handful of hours. I had to cut the "CS" trace because that pin was already used by my system. I also cut the traces that were defaulted for software serial and solder-jumpered the UART 57 (pins 5 and 7) of the Electric Imp to the Arduino. I am using Leonardo boards so the hardware UART was available.

    I started with the code by Jim Lindblom and modified it slightly to work on my system.

    Now my Arduino-based testing machine is on the web. Awesome!

  • Does any one know if this shield has the ID chip for the imp In the website it says we will need an ID chip for the imp.Does this have one??

    • Member #361603 / about 11 years ago / 2

      Look at the schematics of the board, the necessary crypto chip ATSHA204-TSU is onboard

  • Member #224323 / about 10 years ago / 1

    My imp keeps resetting, and I suspect that it's because it's not getting enough power from the 5V arduino pin. Is there a way to feed it from Vin instead?

  • Member #482575 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Would this work with the Raspberry Pi?

  • girlinmotio / about 11 years ago / 1

    My Imp shield seems to have some bad connectors on the imp socket. I have to press lightly on the top of the metal card housing to get all the connectors to make contact with the rest of the circuit. Any tips? Do you have an improved shield?

    • If you have a hot air gun, you can try reflowing the socket and see if you can get a better connection that way. We are looking into this currently as far as improving the reflow on our end, but currently this is the only shield for the Imp.

  • girlinmotio / about 11 years ago / 1

    Do the I2C lines (from imp pins 1 & 2) require pull-up resistors for this shield?

  • liseman / about 11 years ago / 1

    I've got some sample code (and design for my own imp + arduino on one board) here. they're for sale, if you're interested.

  • NunoV / about 11 years ago * / 1

    Hi guys, I'm trying to read voltage using ADC on electric imp. When using the pin 1 and 2 I get correct values. If i'm using pin 5, 7, 8 or 9 I get a voltage near 2.9 or so... I got this board and only soldered a stackable header on the pins 1 to 9 and 3.3 V an GND.

    Do you have any clue on what it can be?

    I found why.. I just checked the datasheet! duhh

  • Member #410550 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I purchased stackable headers for my arduino and imp shield, but was disappointed to find that the imp doesn't sit flush on the arduino due to the USB port sticking up too high. Also, when I put my stackable headers through the imp and into the arduino, I found that the connection is very unstable -- meaning that I have to apply pressure on the headers to get it to make a solid connection and actually power the imp. Anyone else have this problem? I'm fairly new to using shields, am I doing something wrong?

  • PatrickSK / about 11 years ago * / 1

    so you cant power this board independently of an arduino?! Seems strange - was hoping to use this board as both a arduino shield and sperate imp board. Would be interested to know the reason behind this decision?

    EDIT: well dont I feel like a n00b - so it can be powered from the 5V and GND pins not the Vin and GND pins which are separately supplying the arduino. Sorry guys!

  • PatrickSK / about 11 years ago * / 1


  • Dale Thatcher / about 11 years ago / 1

    Might want to mention above that the A0 line is connected to CD (Card Detect?). Had me going for a while, luckily my accelerometer seems to have survived the experience.

  • dieselx / about 11 years ago / 1

    Sparkfun, what about making another shield with the sd card on the bottom?

  • mct75 / about 11 years ago / 1

    The idea of a "crypto chip" on OSHW concerns me. Does it have keys or similar loaded into it, or can anyone buy the atmel part and make it work?

    • hugof / about 11 years ago / 1

      So, the main thing the ATSHA chip is used for is its unique ID. This allows us to bind software to an ID for every device in the field.

      For commercial devices, a 256 bit random number is locked into a page on the ATSHA and shared with the server when the device is tested at the device maker's factory. This means at any time after that, the server can verify that the device claiming to be, say, an Acme Washing Machine, is actually this device by issuing a MAC challenge to the ATSHA via the imp card.

      If someone cloned the Acme Washing Machine, they wouldn't have this random number and hence couldn't answer the MAC challenges (and wouldn't get Acme's firmware).

      If you're not a manufacturer, then this functionality isn't used... just the unique ID.

    • MikeGrusin / about 11 years ago / 1

      This is a neat little chip that anyone can use, check out the datasheet yourself.

      Cryptography is actually one of the most important applications of open source. Far too often, proprietary cryptography systems use "security by obscurity", and as soon as someone finds a (the) weakness, the system breaks wide open. But if you give out all the details of your system, giving lots of people a chance to break it, it will be (and is in practice) vastly more secure. In open cryptography systems, it is key management that provides the security, which is part of what this chip can do.

      • Schuch1 / about 11 years ago / 1

        Any possibility to have the Sparkfun Eagle Libraries updated with the Imp components?

        • jimblom / about 11 years ago / 1

          I've totally been slacking on updating the library.

          Just posted them to the github repository. Electric Imp footprint is in SparkFun-RF.lbr and the ATSHA204 is in the SparkFun-DigitalIC.lbr.

    • Member #361443 / about 11 years ago / 1

      Anyone can. It is just an ID chip so the imp can ask the cloud server what firmware to download for that particular device.

  • casestudies / about 11 years ago * / 1

    A bit steep in price. I made a shield for Arduino using the BatchPCB service. About $12.50 for the board. With shipping and processing fees, it came to about $23. With shipping this package, it'd be about $24 for First Class or almost $28 with Priority Mail. Plus another $1.50 for header pins. The "Duino" listed on Imp's website is $20 but they included headers, MCU, etc. I was holding off buying an Imp until the shields and breakouts came out, but due to the high cost of these, I think I'll wait a bit longer or build my own. It's still a cool idea that I want to experiment with though.

  • Member #361443 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I'm new to Arduino and shields... Do I have to solder my own headers to connect this to the Arduino or are they already on the board? (the picture would seem to indicate I need to solder them)

    • Devin Martin / about 11 years ago * / 1

      I just did it today. I am not terribly good at soldering and it took me a few minutes and came out nicely. It shouldn't be too tough.

    • yes, you will need to solder your own. check below, we have stackable header kits.

      we don't include headers because some people might want the stackable ones, and others might just want straight headers, or some OTHER people might want something different.

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