SparkFun BlackBoard C

BlackBoard went red! This version of the BlackBoard can now be purchased here.

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 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. We've increased the height of the reset button. This doesn't sound like much, but everyone who's touched it loves the improvement. And finally, we've increased the PTC from 500mA to 2A so that you can capture the full power of USB C. Shoot! An eagle-eyed customer pointed out we have a 1.2A MOSFET on USBVDD. We'll get this fixed on the next build.

For more advanced users we've added an I/O voltage switch also known as the Red Squirrel switch (because they are the one who petitioned for the mod). Now you can select the GPIO voltage between 3.3V or 5V with just your finger. This is extremely handy if you have a shield or 3.3V sensitive devices, such as an SPI interface, that needs protecting. Worried about accidentally flipping the switch? A piece of tape will lock it in place.

On this latest version we added clearly labeled PTH holes along side the standard female headers. This makes it very easy to solder wires in place to make your project 'backpack safe' once you get it working. We even went with the fancy gold ENIG finish on the PCB because, well, we know you're fancy.

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 and USB connection can support up to 2A. 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


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.

  • dksmall / about 3 years ago / 1

    It appears that you’re clocking the atmega328P at 16mhz for both 5 and 3.3v. Looking at the data sheet, that micro is only spec’d for 8mhz at 3.3 volts.

    • Yep. It's out of spec. But I think we're across the 100k unit mark (across OpenLogs and RedBoards) at this point without a reported issue.

      • dksmall / about 3 years ago / 1

        I’ve always wondered if Atmel was real conservative with their specs, as you’ve pointed out the AVRs seem to do just fine, even with a crystal for the clock source.

  • petewsh61 / about 3 years ago / 1

    Will this fit in your Uno enclosure?

    • santaimpersonator / about 3 years ago / 1

      Hi there, it sounds like you are looking for technical assistance. Please use the link in the banner above, to get started with posting a topic in our forums. Our technical support team will do their best to assist you.

      That being said, I am not sure which Uno enclosure you are referring to, but it should have an exact footprint; excluding the USB-C connector, qwiic connector, and 3.3V/5V switch.

  • ChiefGeek63 / about 4 years ago / 1

    I would love to see the barrel power connector replaced with terminal blocks.

    • A decent idea but the current design is all SMD and is flat on the bottom. Introducing a PTH part makes the board sit not flat, can cause shorting, and adds an extra production step.

      The VIN/GND combo is exposed in PTH holes now. You could probably get a 3.5mm 2pin screw terminal on there, a little rough, but it could be made to fit.

  • Ethan Hunt / about 4 years ago / 0

    Add a Qwiic connector... pleeese!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

Based on 5 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

4 of 4 found this helpful:

Pretty Great

This board is pretty great, for a few reasons. 1: It has a USB C port, and although the power MOSFET is not rated correctly, I don’t usually try and draw even 1.2A for my projects. 2: It has a qwiic connector. 3: The 3.3/5v logic switch is great. I connected the board in 3.3v mode straight to the Serial LCD module and no problem. One bad thing is that the CH340G drivers are difficult to install (if not I’m doing something wrong) on the Raspberry Pi. Windows has no problem, though.

2 of 2 found this helpful:

Pretty much my favorite dev board

The title says it all ;)

I find myself picking up another one with each order. USB-C is the new norm for development boards, and I love the led colors they chose (green power, blue pin 13, and yellow/red tx and rx lines). Also, black is a pretty cool color for boards in my opinion.

2 of 2 found this helpful:

The new workhorse

A neat little board that should always stay by your side. With USB type C, Qwicc connector, tantalum caps, bright TX and RX LEDs, optional logic Voltage of 3.3V or 5V and a solid design, you simply can't go wrong. This is ideal for small projects to keep the costs low. For more than a couple of sensors, rather opt for the Metro or the Thing Plus that also works great!

A great Development Board at a fantastic price

All the capabilities of the Arduino UNO, plus so much more. I've been using the board to drive three MAX7221 circuits, one driving a quad-digit 7-segment to display numerical values and the other two each driving an 8x8 LED matrix to display text. The setup with the Arduino IDE was simply the easiest integration of a development board with the development environment. Thanks SparkFun!