SparkFun BlackBoard C

We've retired this version but don't fret! A new version of the BlackBoard is here. On the new version we increased the size of the PTC to 2A and fixed a few trace errors (IORef is now connected to the I/O jumper).

The BlackBoard from SparkFun is everything you need in an Arduino Uno with many extra perks. BlackBoard has all of the hardware peripherals you know and love: 14 Digital I/O pins with 6 PWM pins, 4 Analog Inputs, UART, and SPI with a handful of external interrupt pins. BlackBoard even has an SMD ISP header to connect SPI pins to shields.

We've applied every lesson we've learned about making a better Uno and created the BlackBoard. The USB to serial is now done with a reversible USB C connector with through hole anchoring and the ubiquitous CH340C requiring fewer driver installs. The power portion of the BlackBoard has been reworked: we upgraded the 3.3V regulator to provide up to 600mA, with full thermal and reverse circuit protection, and added extra decoupling capacitance to increase the sensitivity of the ADC readings. We've decreased the brightness of the power LED, pin 13 LED, and the TX/RX LEDs from blinding to just perfect. We've added 3.3V voltage translation and a Qwiic connector to the edge of the board to allow for quick and seamless connection to our ever-growing line of I2C based Qwiic products. We've even added solder pads to the bottom of the board for D+/D- so you can embed your BlackBoard into a project and run an external USB connection. And finally, we've increased the height of the reset button. This doesn't sound like much, but everyone who's touched it loves the improvement.

For more advanced users we've added an I/O jumper. Cut the trace to 5V and solder a jumper to the 3.3V side and the board will run at 3.3V. This is extremely handy if you have a shield or 3.3V sensitive devices, such as an SPI interface, that needs protecting.

The SparkFun BlackBoard comes fully tested with the Optiboot bootloader and can be easily programmed with the 'Arduino/Genuino Uno' option from within Arduino. You can power the BlackBoard over USB or through the barrel jack. The on-board power regulator can handle anything from 7 to 15VDC. The barrel jack can support up to 2 amps while the USB connection is limited to 0.5A. 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!

A4/A5 Pins: We recommend you don't use A4/A5 for analog to digital conversion. These pins have external 2.2k pull up resistors and will affect readings if you use them as analog to digital conversion pins. A0 through A3 still work fine as ADC pins. However, there are two jumpers on the rear of the board that can be cut to disconnect the 2.2k pull ups if you need the extra A4/A5 ADC pins.
  • ATmega328P microcontroller with Optiboot (UNO) Bootloader
  • CH340C USB to Serial IC
  • Reinforced and reversible USB C connector
  • Built-in Qwiic connection
  • Input voltage: 7-15V
  • 0-5V outputs with 3.3V compatible inputs
  • 14 Digital I/O Pins (6 PWM outputs)
  • 6 Analog Inputs
  • ISP Header
  • 32k Flash Memory
  • 16MHz Clock Speed
  • Flat bottom, all SMD construction
  • Schematic
  • Eagle Files
  • Drivers: The CH340C uses CDC drivers built in to most modern OS including Windows 7, 8, 10, Linux Mint, OSX Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra which means you shouldn't need to install any extra software. However, there are a wide range of operating systems out there, so, if you run into driver problems, you can get drivers here.
    • Windows - Driver version 3.4 (2016-09-28)
    • Linux - Driver version 1.5 (2018-03-18)
    • Mac - Driver version 1.4 (2017-01-11) for 10.9, 10.10, 10.11, and 10.12
  • Arduino IDE Download
  • Please visit the BlackBoard repo for the latest design files

SparkFun BlackBoard C Product Help and Resources

How to Install CH340 Drivers

August 6, 2019

How to install CH340 drivers (if you need them) on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.


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.

  • BerenV / about 5 years ago / 2

    Yipes!! That DC barrel jack is soldered on pretty crooked in the product picture...

  • Member #1511779 / about 5 years ago / 1

    I'm sorry but i don't quite understand this product. Do i need besides this Blackboard an arduino to set a base using the SPARKFUN RTK 2. Or only the sensor RTK with this blackboard is sufficient.

    • If I understand the GPS RTK 2 correctly, you will also need a GPS antenna and a way to download correction data.

  • Member #425136 / about 5 years ago / 1

    Add the Blackboard C to the Arduino Comparison Guide please. Also, does this accept a LiPo charger...if yes...what is the part number? I guess it needs a USB C connector , not a microUSB connector on LiPo battery?

  • rbrome / about 6 years ago * / 1

    Warning for Mac users: DO NOT install driver version 1.3, or version 1.4 that SparkFun recommends, if you are using MacOS High Sierra or newer. It caused great problems on my MacBook (kernel panic immediately on connecting an Arduino) and v1.4 bricked my iMac so that it wouldn't start up! (I had to remove the driver manually using Terminal in Recovery Mode.) I only recommend seeking out and using the newer version 1.5. I found that this board would not work without a driver on Mac OS High Sierra, and only version 1.5 of the driver worked.

    • santaimpersonator / about 6 years ago / 1

      I had a similar experience testing the BlackBoard on a Mac High Sierra with the older version 1.3 driver. However, the board only caused the Apple computer to reboot until the board is removed. I was able to reboot and update the drivers once the board was removed.

      You can download the version 1.5 driver here. There are instructions for updating the drivers in the .zip folder. Otherwise, you can also follow the instructions from the RedBoard Qwiic Hookup Guide.

      For the most up to date drivers, check the chip manufacturer's (WCH) website. Most of the pages are in Manderin, but if you use a Chrome browser, the Translate option that pops up works pretty well with translating the page into English.

  • JMU_CpE / about 6 years ago / 1

    What are the major differences between this version and the previous ( We just purchased several for class and I would like to be aware of any issues.

    • There shouldn't be much, if any functional difference from the last BlackBoard. We changed CH340G to CH340C. There's no driver change or anything, just an internal oscillator. You shouldn't notice a difference if you've used products with the CH340xx in the past. We changed the USB connector to USB C obviously. We added exposed USB pads on bottom of board for external USB connections. We added A4/A5 disconnect jumpers.

  • RobotRacer / about 6 years ago / 1

    When the board is running at 3.3V, isn't 16Mhz outside of the freq range for the 328P?

    • Yep - 3.3V is just outside of the datasheet's spec but we've had a few thousand units in the field running at 3.3V/16MHz without issue so we're pretty comfortable recommending it.

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