Arduino Fio

Replacement:DEV-10116. The new revision swaps the MAX1555 charging IC for the MCP73831T LiPo Charger. This page is for reference only.

The Arduino Funnel I/O (Fio) is a board designed by Shigeru Kobayashi, based on the original design from LilyPad.

Funnel is a toolkit to sketch your idea physically, and consists of software libraries and hardware. By using Funnel, the user can interface to sensors and/or actuators with various programming languages such as ActionScript 3, Processing, and Ruby.

Arduino Fio is compatible with Funnel. It has connections for a Lithium Polymer battery and includes a charge circuit over USB. An XBee socket is available on the bottom of the board. The Fio has been designed to be wirelessly reprogrammable. Checkout our tutorial on wireless bootloading!

Note: The miniUSB connector is used for battery charging only. To bootload new firmware, you will need an external serial connection over an FTDI Basic, cable, or other serial connection.

Note: The XBee socket and FTDI connection live on the same TX/RX pins of the ATmega328. You will need to remove the XBee module while reprogramming over serial. We recommend using a wireless bootloader whenever possible to avoid this step.

**Note: **A portion of this sale is given back to Arduino LLC to help fund continued development of new tools and new IDE features.

  • ATmega328V running at 8MHz
  • Arduino Bootloader
  • XBee socket
  • Lithium Polymer battery compatible
  • MAX1555 LiPo Charger
  • Reset button
  • On/Off Switch
  • Status/Charge/RSSI LEDs



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.

  • salsa / about 14 years ago / 3

    Any chance of adding standoff mounts of some kind? How would this be secured in a case?

  • Attie / about 14 years ago / 2

    Fantastic you guys!
    I do have one suggestion though... Can you add through holes for the XBee IO pins? - being pin 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15 - 20. This would make a fantastic product even better in my eyes, and I would be even more prepared to snap a few of these up!
    I also assume that the 3v3 regulator can provide a decent amount of current... say 150mA? - like the mini pro (i think) so I can run a couple of sensors and an XBee pro from the lipo!
    I see that DIO3 is attached to the reset pin via a solder jumper and capacitor. Does that just work by connecting DIO3 and RTS on the PC end, and passing the DIO3 from pc -> fIO? or do you need the XBee T3 to be set to 100ms?

  • adrianmb / about 14 years ago / 2

    I want it!!, but i'm in doubt, does the wireless programming work with a xbee 2.5 series?

  • ao / about 14 years ago / 2

    Like the XBee integration; agree mounting holes would be a great addition.

  • Member #131988 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Very new to the Arduino Fio and had a question or two. I noticed on the bottom of the board pin outs for BAT and CHG. Am I to assume that this is for charging the LiPo while it is plugged into the Fio and if so can the board still be on while charging?

  • rsilvestre / about 13 years ago / 1

    Ok, I received this morning (03-21-2011) 3 arduino fio i had orderd with a FTDI basic to program each of them. I connect one of them with the FTDI basic and.. surprise, nothing append! just the RX led blink 3 time and a nice message : "avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding" 2X
    Just want know, what is wrong with this card
    (I'm speaking very quiet, calme, peace... but I'm really frustrated!!!!!!)
    Any idea
    (working on macbook pro, FTDI 2.2.16 and the previous version)

    • Member #221439 / about 12 years ago / 2

      I am having the same problem. Have you fixed it ? If so could you please share the solution I am very frustrated!

  • larsjohan / about 13 years ago / 1

    I made an Eagle library of the FIO to be used i a project I'm designing. it's my first ever attempt on a library, so any feedback are appreciated! Arduino FIO library

  • Member #195806 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Do the FTDI pins connect to the XBee in such a way that I can hook up a USB to FTDI breakout board and use a FIO as an XBee explorer?

  • Almost Scientific / about 13 years ago / 1

    Does anyone see any problems with hooking two identical LiPo batteries in series with the Fio? Can they both charge off the UBS?

    • MikeGrusin / about 13 years ago / 1

      The charging chip is only designed to charge a 3.7V battery, so no, it won't charge a 7.4V battery (two 3.7V cells in series). However you could place your two cells in parallel, which will double the lifetime (and charging time) but still be compatible with the 3.7V charger.

  • arduino_ftw / about 13 years ago / 1

    this works perfectly gj sparkfun/arduino

  • Member #172666 / about 13 years ago / 1

    How much voltage can the USB charge circuit take? I am looking into charging the battery with a solar cell. (I could also just use an off board voltage reg)

    • Member #195715 / about 13 years ago / 1

      According to the MAX1555 datasheet, 7V, as the USB connector is actually connected to the DC input of the MAX1555, not the USB input (which would have limited it to 6V/100mA)

  • yair / about 13 years ago / 1

    the official Fio programming page states the Fio doesn't support XBee version 2.5.
    "You can't use the DigiMesh or ZB series radios (aka Series 2 or 2.5). Those modules do not allow for automatic IO Line Passing that is required for toggling the reset pin when programming."
    please consider including this information in the description

    • ZerotimE / about 13 years ago / 1

      I am using two FIO boards with 2mW 2.5 XBEEs with no problems.

      • hads / about 13 years ago / 1

        Yep, they work just fine.
        The bit that yair is confused about after reading refers to remote programming of the Arduino only.

        • rsilvestre / about 13 years ago / 1

          And may be you could explain exactly how you make it working?

  • Member #77151 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Can someone tell me why you are will to buy xbee products without at least 500 ma regulator the xsc nod needs 275 ma. this unit is perfect for a lcd data display from a xbee but does not have the power for the xbee. and yes holes every thing needs mounting holes

  • kostal / about 13 years ago / 1

    Hello to community!
    I have a problem with this board. I am using a FTDI basic (3.3V) to read/write from UART. I write correct but it seems that i read wrong. The board does not read correct the characters that i type in the terminal. On the other hand i see the correct characters that the board writes to its uart. I am a little confused. Any help?

  • arbarnhart / about 13 years ago / 1

    Dang! I gotta start reading the comments more completely before buying. I have an xBee Pro 900 with RP-SMA, which is used to protrude through the case for mounting. So it doesn't fit right and doesn't work anyway. I am starting to wonder why SFE sells the 900 Pro model xBee. The regulated Explorer requires user modification (shorting across a diode) to work and the Fio doesn't work with it at all. So far, the USB Explorer is the only SFE product I have purchased that works with the 900 Pro.

  • Beta / about 13 years ago / 1

    There was a design flaw exposed earlier about the orientation of the xbee board when using an xbee with a chip antenna. Has anyone had any trouble using the fio with a chip antenna xbee. I don't want to get this and have my project not function properly, but I also don't want to have to include any aerials.<br />
    <br />
    My project will operate over fairly short distances, < 50 ft, with little to no physical barriers in the signal path.<br />

    • hads / about 13 years ago / 1

      You should be fine. We've used quite a few with chip antenna modules around our home and office with no trouble.

  • MobiArte / about 13 years ago / 1

    Oddly enough, I ran an entire show using 18 Funnel i/o boards (the old ones, not the newer variety) with xBee Pros mounted on each one and never had any problems with them at all. I used an 1100mh LiPo battery to power each Funnel board. Used them a lot for 5+ months with no problems at all. So theory and practice don't necessarily jibe in this case. Maybe I shouldn't have done this, but in my ignorance I did, and I was blissful the whole time.

    • Chippey / about 13 years ago / 1

      Were you running your XBee Pros at full power? This looks to be an interesting board, but I'm hesitant to get one unless it can fully power an XBee Pro.<br />
      <br />
      Overall things changes to this board that would really sell me on it:<br />
      <br />
      1. Power regulator that can guarantee to fully power an XBee Pro, and enough left over to drive some sensors.<br />
      <br />
      2. A serial switch like on the SparkFun XBee Wireless Shield. From the description on that shield "The serial pins (DIN and DOUT) of the XBee are connected through an SPDT switch, which allows you to select a connection to either the UART pins (D0, D1) or any digital pins on the Arduino (D2 and D3 default). "<br />
      <br />
      3. Perf/Proto area<br />
      <br />
      4. Mounting holes! :D<br />
      <br />
      5. Reverse the sides that the usb/battery connector and the XBee socket are on.

  • bboyes / about 14 years ago / 1

    Any shields for FIO? Don't find any with a google search. The compact package seems like a winner. I may try to lay something out myself: a proto board and some sensor inputs. I could use a handful of FIOs with temperature, light, and humidity sensors in a couple of projects. This would make a really nice compact package. Some way to mount it all with a LiPo and a way to clip or screw it onto a surface or with a magnet, etc would make it a practical alternative to something like the Sun SPOT.

  • bboyes / about 14 years ago / 1

    What is the true story of using these with Xbee 2.5 or not? I plan to try tomorrow since the FIO and 2.5 modules (XB24-BWIT-004) just arrived. Will try to figure this out but if anyone has info that would be great.

    • hads / about 14 years ago / 1

      Nothing to figure out, it works with any Xbee (as long as it can supply the required power).

  • Gopherspidey / about 14 years ago / 1

    I feel that an update to the FIO is needed. Here are the things that I would change.
    The biggest one is the change the orientation of the Xbee board. This is clearly a layout error if you are using the XBee with the Chip antenna. See page 16 of the Xbee's User manual ( If using some of the other antenna options it is not the bigg of a deal.
    Next one is there are not mounting holes and everything is fairly close to the edge of the board. These 2 problem combined make it difficult to mount.
    Some of the Xbee lines are not easily accessible if you wanted to use the available Digital IO from the Xbee. Like the pin 20 on the Xbee can be used in commissioning the Xbee onto a Zigbee mesh.
    If you wanted to use the 50mw versions of the Xbee, there is really no way that you can do so with the current FIO. I am not sure the best way of fixing this one.

    • Wayne / about 13 years ago / 1

      One additional complaint. I soldered on headers so I could plug the FIO into a breadboard. I had to put the pins on such that the XBee is on the top but, when I plug the FIO into the breadboard, I can't reach the On/Off switch because it's now on the bottom... There are two open pads marked SW where I can connect another power switch, but these are also located underneath the XBee where there's no clearance for headers. Same for putting them underneath the FIO because there's very little clearance between the FIO and breadboard. The best I can do is use a toothpick to try and flip the switch on and off. What a pain...

      • Sorry for the hassle. The FIO wasn't necessarily designed for use in a breadboard. But it could be done with sockets and extra long headers. As for the switch underneath the XBee, can you use right-angle headers?

  • CLC / about 14 years ago / 1

    Can a Lipo Battery charge with the switch in the "Off" position?

  • Bernix / about 14 years ago / 1

    Is it safe to run the Fio until the Lipo battery runs out of energy? (I am using the 2000mAh Lipo battery)

  • Artoo / about 14 years ago / 1

    How do you know when the battery has been fully recharged, does the charge indicator light change from amber to some other color?

  • Nelson.r.o / about 14 years ago / 1

    Please on a future board revision move the JST a little bit back so it is possible to put the board on a case with the usb acessible and keep the JST hidden, as it is the cable for the battery is bent on a angle that may damage it

  • Wayne / about 14 years ago / 1

    having just received this board, I find I'm somewhat puzzled by the layout and design.
    1. I'm using it with an XBee with an RP-SMA connector, but the orientation of the XBee socket on the board means this connector will be in the center of the FIO rather than the edge, which is not ideal because...
    2. If I solder on pins to mount the FIO on my breadboard, I have to arrange it so the Xbee winds up on top, otherwise the FIO won't fit in my breadboard. But, this means the FIO power switch winds up underneath the baord where it is, more or less, completely in accessible...
    3. It does not seem like the board provides a way for me to use an external power supply (the built in regulator does not supply enough current for me to use an XBee Pro model), unless I unsolder the regulator.
    All in all, it seems like someone did not think through all the use cases before designing this board.

    • hads / about 14 years ago / 1

      The FIO is a great little board but does have limitations as you've found.
      Your points 1 and 2 can be fixed by using a XBee with a pigtail for RPSMA.
      Point 3 is unfortunate and I agree, a version that supported the Pro would be super useful. There's even an higher power regulator from the same company in the same format. Unfortunately we need to unsolder and re-solder it ourselves.

      • basicchip / about 14 years ago / 1

        Its seems to me the addition of a big cap would support a PRO board, and you could mount it on the M14 connector.
        A back of the envelope calculation--
        say you can tolerate 1V droop in 1 msec or 1000 V/sec, which needs to support the extra 100 mA
        This is a 100 uF cap, not outrageous and probably overkill.
        I don't have one of these boards yet, so I can't test it.

  • balam / about 14 years ago / 1

    do not see 5v
    does it have one.

    • Nope, only 3.3v. Since it uses a LiPo as the power source, you can only get 3.3v from it. It has a 3.3v regulator on board.

  • balam / about 14 years ago / 1

    is this board only 3.xV

  • Finnishguy / about 14 years ago / 1

    You cannot program Fio while XBee is connected to socket, which kinda sucks.
    So no "in-circuit" programming and you need spare XBee because eventually you will damage your XBee chip because of removal-insert-procedure.
    Otherwise, one great product. The charging really works and is nice addon. Remember that the newer version (2.?) XBee's cannot be wirelessly programmed.
    I guess SFE could add notification for these to the product description?

    • Good point. Because both XBee and FTDI connectors are sitting on the TX/RX pins of the ATmega, it doesn't know whom to listen to - aka bus contention. We might be able to squeeze a slide switch on there to allow you to choose between sources, but I argue the best option is to use XBee to wirelessly reprogram the Fio - skip the wired FTDI connection entirely.

  • miu / about 14 years ago / 1

    "The on board mini-USB connector is only used for charging and does not allow for serial communication." Is it possible to improve the board by allowing program upload and serial communication via USB??

  • NewsparkFunCusty / about 14 years ago / 1

    Can one or a couple of these work to charge the batteries? Slowly if anything?

    • Cool idea, but the internal chemical discharge rate of a LiPo is much greater than what that little photo cell can output.

  • Attie / about 14 years ago / 1

    Has anyone had brown-out like symptoms with these boards?
    I am using an XBee on the back (not Pro) and when running off battery, sometimes data sent to its XBee will not return an ACK, and sometimes the ATmega seems non-respondent.
    When running with USB plugged in its absolutely fine.
    Any thoughts?

  • Wayne / about 14 years ago / 1

    Does anyone know if the onboard 3.3v regulator can source enough current to power one of the XBee Pro modules, such as this one:
    I can't tell from the schematic what part # is used for the regulator...

  • marct / about 14 years ago / 1

    wow, sold out in a matter of days! when will the next batch be available?

  • PhysComp Hobbyist / about 14 years ago / 1

    Hey Sparkfun! How about a fitting protoboard for the top of the Arduino FIO, much like your new Arduino Pro Mini protoShield? I only need a little space for a few sensors!

    • Nice idea! We'll whip something up. Any particular requirements other than perf/proto area?

      • suttonr / about 13 years ago / 1

        I was just looking to see if the mini proto would work. Other then just an open proto field ( preferably with those cuttable traces used on the lilypad ones ) maybe one with a micro SD since sensors ( and I infer datalogging ) seems to be popular in the comments.

  • Technobly / about 14 years ago / 1

    Wow, these things are selling like hotcakes! 116 in 2 days, not to mention all of the LiPo's that must have been purchased with them. I would jump on the bandwagon if the ATMega328V was running on 5V instead of the 3.3V. I have a lot of sensors and peripherals that really need 5V logic instead of 3.3V logic, and I don't want to have to level convert every I/O I need to use. Not to mention, I would have to generate 5V in the first place... and with no prototyping area on the FIO, it kind of makes it "funky" to implement. My suggestion would be boost the LiPo to 5V, regulate to 3.3V for the XBEE, level convert the UART interface between XBEE and ATMega328V, and add at least two mounting holes. See here for info on interfacing 3.3V to 5V:

  • Too bad one of the xbee digital pins isn't connected to the 328's interrupt pins (2 or 3) for waking from low-power sleep. I suppose you could just send a reset instead, provided whatever data you're gathering isn't in ram anymore.
    Is the 238V special in having 8 analog inputs? I thought the series all had 6.

    • RazorConcepts / about 14 years ago / 2

      Surface mount packages have 2 extra ADC pins that only serve for ADC and not GPIO

      • You're right, but why is is left off on the pro and the pro mini boards? I could've used it on the pro board I'm using now, I guess I'll have to solder it on myself.

  • hads / about 14 years ago / 1

    Rock on and well done. Thanks for bringing out DTR and CTS for this new version that's great.
    Though I doubt it's the case I'll cross my fingers that the 3.3 regulator used on this version is enough to power a pro module :)

  • PhysComp Hobbyist / about 14 years ago / 1

    I love this board for so many things! It is perfect for remote sensors and actuators. I have deployed Funnel IO in a mesh sensor net without the need for 3 breakout boards.
    Please consider adding a JST connector or simply 2 plated through holes in the next Rev to connect an auxiliary charging source (like solar panel) so that we can make this thing last forever!

    • PhysComp Hobbyist / about 14 years ago / 2

      I take that back. I guess thats what the CHG 5v and CHG- holes are for. Great thinking, next time I will look harder! You even connected it to the MAX1555's DC in instead of USB so I can hook up a 6V panel.
      You guys rock!

  • BLP / about 14 years ago / 1

    Looks like the change to surface mounted Xbee socket made it a little wider where the xbee is.
    They've also broken out CTS & DTR pins (from the Xbee?), which weren't there on the last FIO I saw.

  • What is the difference between this and Funnel IO with ATmega168? It looks like this is actually a little larger?

    • SlyVixsky / about 14 years ago / 2

      this includes an xbee socket, so you dont need the extra shield, and a power switch

    • This is the latest revision from Shigeru and has been officially brought into the Arduino family. We pay royalties on each sale of the Arduino Fio that goes to support Arduino community and development of the IDE.

      • Jamo / about 14 years ago / 1

        I stand corrected, what are the differences in this revision? Also it's really cool that when I buy one the Arduino people get some money :) which is probably why it's already sold out. Any chance you know when it'll be back in stock?

    • Jamo / about 14 years ago / 1

      There is no difference, the schematic is exactly the same(it's the same file), but this one is blue!

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