A quick look at the Sparkfun RedBoard

The RedBoard in my mind is a hybrid of an Arduino Uno and an Arduino Duemilanove. It has the Optiboot and the pin layout of the R3 board so its going to work with all of your newer R3 shield’s and it has rock solid connectivity through USB via FTDI which I personally missed after the Duemilanove was retired. It also has the smaller USB Mini-B connector which is nice so your shield’s aren’t resting on the metal USB connector. The other obvious difference is that it uses the surface mount version of the ATmega328 microcontroller. The Redboard is seen as an Arduino Uno under the IDE and functions exactly the same in all other aspects.

The Sparkfun RedBoard

The Sparkfun RedBoard

The Sparkfun RedBoard vs The Arduino Uno

The Sparkfun RedBoard vs The Arduino Uno

It’s also worth mentioning that the RedDoard is also several dollars cheaper at least in the US markets. Which is nice. You can get more information here if you wish.

Sparkfun RedBoard GPS Shiel

The Sparkfun RedBoard running the Sparkfun GPS Shield.

The RedBoard does exceedingly well with the GPS shield. In fact it has worked flawlessly with everything I have tried to date. This board is really quite nice and very affordable. If you are thinking about one give it a try I don’t think you will be disappointed. Let me know in the comments below what you think of the board if you have experience with one.

Edited to add – After reading Shashi’s coments about needing the ISP headers to run the Ethernet shield I decided to scrounge up some headers and solder them onto my board.

I could not find a simple six pin header so I took a ten pin male header and chopped it down to size then simply soldered it into place.

The ISP header is the only part on the board that is designed for through hole parts.

The upgraded sparkfun redboard with ISP header

The upgraded sparkfun redboard with ISP header

The entire process took about two minutes and works like a charm!

One more thing I would like to take the time to point out. Although I have written some very favorable reviews of Sparkfun products as of late and there will certainly be a few more soon, I have not been compensated in any way nor have I received anything from them directly or indirectly. These are strictly my opinions. If you find value in them great and if not that’s fine too. If you are like me you tend to read up on a product as much as possible before making that final decision to purchase a product. I have not been disappointed in any way by their products and thus feel great about recommending their products as not only well built but also cost effective.

7 thoughts on “A quick look at the Sparkfun RedBoard

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  3. shashi

    I decided to put an W5200 Ethernet shield on this (one by DF Robot) and didnt work. Being a n00b i think i figured that the ISP / ICSP pins are required for the ethernet shields to be connected for them to work. Time to get another board now?

  4. Nathan

    I recently ordered an Arduino Uno from allelectronics.com and they sent me the redboard instead. I like the mini-usb connectivity but is there anything I am missing out on/don’t have that would give me reason to call and ask for compensation?

    1. hytekblue Post author

      Depending on which version you received you could be missing the ISP headers which are required for some Ethernet shields as well as some SD card shields. The ISP header pins are easily added though. Other than that the only feature you could be annoyed with is the FTDI usb controller. The redboard comes with FTDI USB-to-serial driver chip where as the Arduino UNO replaced the FTDI chip with a atmega8u2 which allows the Arduino to be configured as different kinds of USB interfaces (keyboard, mouse, disk drive, MIDI device, etc). This is not a big deal for most people. Personally I really like the redboard and would not be too upset about getting one over the other. It might be worth sending them an email to see if they would send you some swag as a way of compensation though… never hurts to ask right?



  5. Novotny

    Hello ! I am using the red board but I cant use the serial as it does NOT get loaded.
    The ‘TOOL’ segment have the serial ‘pale’ I guess means not set up!!!!????
    Please indicate what do I have to do .

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