Make Your Own Arduino Shield Cradle


One of the advantages with the open source software and hardware such as Arduino (based on Atmel 8-bit AVR ATMega328 microcontroller) is the enormous “add-on” hardware called “Arduino Shield” that we could easily expand the Arduino main board and turn it into many cool and useful embedded system applications e.g. DC motor controller, web server, wireless application, GSM/GPRS modem and many more. The Arduino framework is so popular that many vendors come with their new Arduino shield module design almost every year.


The enormous variety of the Arduino shield hardware in the market also trigger other vendor to take advantage of this condition and start to make their own “Arduino like” main board using other type of microcontroller such as Microchip PIC 8-bits PIC18F25K20 microcontroller (Amicus18), Atmel 32-bit ARM7 AT91SAM7X512 microcontroller (netduino), STMicroelectronics 32-bits ARM Cortex M3 STM32F103RB microcontroller (Leaf Maple), NXP 32-bits ARM7 LPC2387 microcontroller (FEZ Panda), etc.


As good electronics hobbyists this “hick-up” will not prevent us to take advantage of this useful Arduino Shield stuff out there, therefore I used the Sparkfun Arduino ProtoShield board design and turn it into the Arduino Shield Cradle so we could use this Arduino shield with other development board as well. At the end of this tutorial I will present a simple Arduino Shield Cradle tester project using the standard Arduino EtherShield (with Wiznet W5100 chip) connected to PICJazz 20PIN board running Microchip PIC16F1829microcontroller and run a simple ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) test over the Ethernet connection.




Testing the Arduino Shield Cradle
Of course this project is not complete without testing our Arduino Shield Cradle, therefore to make it more interesting I used the Arduino Ethernet Shield W5100 as our target hardware shield to test this Arduino Shiled Cradle. This time I used one of the Microchip 20 pin 8-bit newest and powerful midrange PIC16F1829 microcontroller with PICJazz 20PIN development board.



The Microchip PIC16F1829 microcontroller could be considered as the product that fills the gap between the PIC16F midrange and the PIC18F high-end series. It’s equipped with many peripherals that before only could be found on the PIC18F high-end series such as In-Circuit Debug (ICD) via Two Pins, Internal temperature Sensor, 5 Timers, Two Enhanced CCP (ECCP) Modules, Two Master Synchronous Serial Port (MSSP) with SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) and I2C (read I square C), and mTouch Sensing Oscillator Module.

watch the Arduino Shield Cradle assembly and testing process on this following video:

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