Screwduino takes the Arduino design and replaces the headers/pins with screw terminals.
Like countless other Makers out there, Doug Gilliland fell in love with the Arduino Uno for its simplistic functionality and rapid prototyping abilities. However, he quickly grew frustrated with some of their limitations, namely those associated with deploying a final project. What he found was that, as great as these boards may be, they lack useful mounting holes and fragility of pins in sockets, thereby making it difficult to implement in real world applications.
“We find most of the approaches to Arduino breadboarding annoying. They work okay if you don’t know what you want to make and you just want to mess around, but they are painful when you are ready to really make something useful,” its creator admits.
As a way to overcome this challenge, Gilliland did what any good Maker would do and decided to devise a DIY solution on his own. The aptly named Screwduino features four solid mounting holes, allowing for anywhere between four and 40 screws. Aside from that, it has 5mm screw terminal blocks that enable users to seamlessly wire up pretty much anything they’d like.
“We saw a screw shield and it looked like the ideal solution for loose wires and builder frustrations. Easy to connect with just a small screwdriver. No connectors to install for simple wiring but no accommodation for I2C connections. The stackup height has less of the same height problems as a sensor shield. The screw shields got me thinking,” Gilliland revealed when explaining his inspiration. “It’s a great idea, but why add the shield? Why not just take an Arduino design and replace the headers/pins with screw terminals?”
Based on an ATmega328, the Screwduino is equipped with an ICSP header for downloading programs, a reset switch, a recommended input voltage of 7-12V DC, a power selection jumper (FTDI, regulator, screw terminals), a standard six-pin FTDI connector, as well as a four-pin I2C connector for easy attachment of an LCD display and other sensors. What’s more, Gilliland added 10K Ohm pullup resistors (R3 and R4) from the I2C SDA/SCL to +5V. This way, if the user chooses to forgo the resistors, they can snip them out of the circuit.
Gilliland advises using its through hole parts to make assembly a cinch. He adds, “The sole exception is the voltage regulator which is surface mount for heat transfer.”
Intrigued? Head over to the Screwduino’s Kickstarter page, where Gilliland and the Land Boards team are currently seeking $500.