Arduino for commercial products?

Is Arduino used in comercial applications you might ask. It is true that you aren’t going to go to your local big-box electronics store and find many (if any) products that have an “Arduino Inside” sticker, because  Arduino is a prototyping platform.

Arduino is a widely seen as targeed to hobbyists, but I would say that now Arduino is a legitimate tool, not just for hobbyists. You can forget the old saying: “real” engineers don’t use Arduino! Users writing “Arduino Code” are actually writing C++ with the Arduino Library. Real engineers use nowadays Arduino.

Many start-ups build product based on Arduino. There are plenty of products out there that started with an Arduino in the early stages.  Ever hear of 3D printers? Or Robotics and Drones? Or home/industrial automation? Or Internet of Things? Arduino has been successfully used on thise fields to make at least small volume products. And Arduino boards itself, shields and various sensors are widely sold as commercial products.

If you want to make a product that uses Arduino board inside of it, it is possible accoring to Arduino FAQ: Physically embedding an Arduino board inside a commercial product does not require you to disclose or open-source any information about its design. If you are making a small volume product, embeddeding an Arduino might in such case make sense. Depending on your design it might be sensible to think your design in such way that your own custom circuit/wiring is built as an Arduino shield on top of Uno/Leonardo/Mega or your own circuit is on baseboard where you plug a small Arduino board as module (for example use Arduino Nano/Mini/Micro). You might also want to chech if there is any ready Arduino compatible suitable product available, here are several Arduino compaible products available for 3D printers and industrial automation.

For the software side things should be pretty simple: The source code for the Arduino environment is covered by the GPL, which requires any modifications to be open-sourced under the same license. It does not prevent the sale of derivative software or its inclusion in commercial products. It is a good time to check the licenses of all the thord party libraries if you use any to make sure if they have any limitations. Mistakes in software licenses can cause you annoying problems later (risks: you can’t ship your product, you need to pay somone or you neeed to reveal your “secret” source code to everybody as open source software). Better to be safe than sorry. This software license issue applies all the software devopment – not just Arduino.


Do not immediately think that “the arduino is too expensive to use in a commercial product!” If the arduino works for your project, and you can find customers who will buy it as a product, go for it. If you can make some some money of of Arduino based version (even break even), then you can start making profit when you start optimimizing your product. There would be no point to to ship a mass produced product with Arduino Uno in every product (it would be quite expensive in any mass produced product). For small volumes  you can consider options like using cheaper Arduino compatible boards instead of original “Arduino Uno”(there are very cheap Arduino compatible board you can order from China). Or you can also weight in option to design your own custom circuit board: You can develop a product with an Arduino, and the build your product that has circuit board that embeds the ATmega328 (same CPU as used in Arduino Uno) inside of it.

If you are making more than just few tens or hundreds of units, you might want to integrate Arduino processor and your own circuits to your own PCB. One way to start design is to use the free Arduino design files, and modufy them to your uses. That should be pretty easy, but you need to keep in mind the following: Deriving the design of a commercial product from the Eagle files for an Arduino board requires you to release the modified files under the same Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. You may manufacture and sell the resulting product.

If you plan to build your own Arduino derived product, the following can help you: How to go from (Arduino) prototype to (selling) product High-level steps:

  1. Built prototype using Arduino and breadboard [few days]
  2. Draw schematic, design printed circuit board [PCB] with CAD program [e.g. Eagle] [1 day]
  3. Order protoboards [wait 2-4 weeks]
  4. Solder protoboard, test and adapt if needed [1hr to several days]
  5. Get quotes for manufacturing based on Bill-of-Materials and Gerber design files [1 week]
  6. Select manufacturer and order (pilot) series [few weeks]



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ask Hackaday: Arduino in Consumer Products

    Speak with those who consider themselves hardcore engineers and you might hear “Arduinos are for noobs” or some other similar nonsense. These naysayers see the platform as a simplified, overpriced, and over-hyped tool that lets you blink a few LEDs or maybe even read a sensor or two. They might say that Arduino is great for high school projects and EE wannabes tinkering in their garage, but REAL engineering is done with ARM, x86 or PICs. Guess what? There are Arduino compatible boards built around all three of those architectures.

    There are Arduino compatible boards built around all three of those architectures. Below you can see but three examples in the DUE, Galileo, and Fubarino SD boards.

    This attitude towards Arduino exists mainly out of ignorance. So let’s break down a few myths and preconceived biases that might still be lurking amongst some EEs and then talk about Arduino’s ability to move past the makers.

    There Is No Special Arduino Language

    Yes, I know they call them sketches, which is silly. But the fact is it’s just c++. The same c++ you’d use to program your PIC. The bootloader allows the IDE to call functions, making it easy to code and giving Arduino its reputation of being easy to work with. But don’t let the “easy” fool you. They’re real c/c++ functions that get passed to a real c/c++ compiler. In fact, any c/c++ construct will work in the Arduino IDE. With that said – if there is any negative attribute to Arduino, it is the IDE. It’s simple and there is no debugger.

    The strength comes in the standardization of the platform. You can adapt the Arduino standard to a board you have made and that adaptation should allow the myriad of libraries for Arduino to work with your new piece of hardware. This is a powerful benefit of the ecosystem.

    What is the Virtue of Arduino in Consumer Products?

    This is Ask Hackaday so you know there’s a question in the works. What is the virtue of Arduino in consumer products? Most electronics these days have a Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode that allows the end user to upgrade the code, so Arduino doesn’t have a leg up there. One might argue that using Arduino means the code is Open Source and therefore ripe for community improvements but closed-source binaries can still be distributed for the platform. Yet there are many products out there that have managed to unlock the “community multiplier” that comes from releasing the code and inviting improvements.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From comments at :

    fartface says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Including ‘dev boards’ is quite common in low volume production, it is getting less popular now that things like stm32 are so readily available, but it used to be that if you wanted more than a few kb of ram you had to build up an entire 68k computer, so there are a wide variety of ‘computer on a board’ boards that are designed to get incorporated into commercial products. has a history of the x86 based ones. I have also cracked open a good number of pieces of scientific equipment that are built internally as a FPGA dev boad and some modules plugged into it for expansion, it is all a matter of development cost vs production cost. If you are only planning to sell 10 units a year for $100k a piece then spending a week laying out a 4 layer board for your FPGA+SRAM to save the $35 price difference between the raw parts and entire dev board really does not make much sense

    uxorious4ever says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:57 am

    PC104 is a form factor commonly used in a variety of products to enable use of SOC and expansion modules specificaly for the form factor. PC104 is a form factor, not a dev board design. That is like saying all SO-DIMMs are dev boards.

    All FPGA boards I have built in the past 15 years were designed by the customers we built them for; never dev boards. Even the ones using $2200 FPGAs were self-designed. I am sure that code verification and prototyping was done on a dev board, but not product to be sold.

    I am in the low-mid volume high mix category as well so I can’t agree with your statement about it being common to use dev boards in low volume product. We have several PCBAs that could be done with an off the shelf Arduino or Propeller board, but that would never happen with designers doing things correctly.

    For a $100k product, I would never use something off the shelf to save $35. A real company would require much tighter controls on product quality, reliability, design longevity, etc. Dev boards are cheap for a reason. Would you buy a new $25k car if the electronics inside were built with dev boards?

    jnk0le says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:10 am

    The main problem of Arduino is totally bloated code: led blink – 1 kB, say “hello” via serial – 2kB (meanwhile i can do fully buffered transmission in around 400 bytes ).

    Bob Alexander says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

    It’s not really as bloated as it looks. It might be 1K for blinking an LED, but if your code is 100 times more complex than blinking an LED, that doesn’t mean it will take 100K. There’s an initial hit when you pull in the libraries, but once they’re linked in, your application can grow without seeing ridiculous increases in code size.

    dhavenith says:
    July 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Actually, because Arduino’s compiler is a modern C++ compiler, it is possible to create digitalWrite(), etc. functions that are exactly as fast (same number of instructions/clock ticks) as those “MYPINPORT &= ~MYPINMASK” statements.

    Sjaak says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Tbe arduino is perfect to quickly test a chip or sensor. I would put it into the same region as a buspirate,

    For a commercial product i would use an other platform (PIC, but that is just what I’m used to; could have been AVR or other) and write most of the stuff my own. .That give more insight of how things work.and will help in providing service later on. I would not rely on some dodgy overcomplicated library someone else wrote :)

    bubba gump says:
    July 15, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Arduinos are great for showing a sales and marketing team a product concept so they can show a customer. However, in all consumer, white goods and toys that I have worked on, the push is to squeeze every penny and even 10ths of pennies (in high volume products) out of the cost of the product.

    They have their place, don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t have as many 3D printers and so on. There are certain platforms they make absolute sense. However, anything you are going to build millions of? Nope…micros are always the way to go.

    Elliot Williams says:
    July 15, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I wouldn’t guess that you’d see much Arduino in large-scale production devices. Few reasons.

    1) Watchdog timer. Using it right helps reliability a bunch, but can require thinking pretty hard about your specific problem / system. That’s not what Arduino is about.

    2) millis() ties up one of the AVR’s scarce timers for a system tick. Maybe you need that, maybe you don’t. Maybe you want a different frequency or something interesting to happen on the tick interrupt.

    3) The whole digitalWrite() abstraction takes 20-40x longer than flipping I/O pins directly. Maybe you care about speed, maybe you don’t.

    I’m sure there’s more. I’m not an Arduino expert but these are the bits that hit me when looking over other folks’ code.

    In short, the Arduino library is meant to be easy to use in a wide range of general circumstances, and not much of it is optimized for performance or tailored for specific cases. This is not a complaint — that’s just what you want for quick prototypes.

    For permanent / designed products, I would expect to see more purpose-built firmware. But who knows?!?!?

    Chuck Hellebuyck says:
    July 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    My problem with Arduino, besides the bloat, is the GPL license. If you use Arduino code then you have to open source your code. Not many companies want to invest $1000’s of dollars developing code for a product just to then give it away to competitors.

    JackLaidlaw says:
    July 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I think the Arduino is great for beginners however just because it is great for them doesn’t mean it can’t be usedfor some serious projects. Arduino might take a shortcut into EE but is that bad? The amount of people who have found an entry point into EE through arduino is more than anything else. The price of official boards are obscene I bought one to help the community but I stick to cones because the pricing is so high. I think they would make more money if they reduced the price to around $15 because people will pay for official if the price isn’t too much more.

    Lord Nothing says:
    July 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    what an arduino is isnt very much. its an mcu and a means for programming it, a crystal, a voltage regulator and a few leds. these things are not hard to spin into your own project/product and many are not even needed depending on the application

    i use an adruino as a dev board as it was meant to be used. it gets the project up and running enough where i can cut my own boards and build things the way i want them. one of the first things i did after getting my first arduino (a duemilanove), was to buy a bunch of loose atmega328p chips so that i could make a stand alone version of whatever projects i was working on. after all if i use my arduino i cant very well use it to prototype the next project on strip board. and now im soldering those tqfp packages to home made circuit boards.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Comments from :

    Ralph Doncaster says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

    But you don’t need to sacrifice performance. Go with wiring – you get 2-cycle digitalWrite for constant parameters.

    r4k says:
    July 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Of course, there are *many* different libraries that you can run on an AVR that offer much better performance.

    There are also other hardware development tools that you can use to provide proper debugging.

    There are also other software development tools (editors, IDEs) that provide a far richer development environment.

    But when you implement all of those you’ve got absolutely nothing “Arduino” left, except perhaps a PCB with the word “Arduino” silkscreened onto it.

    mre says:
    July 16, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Also, he mentions near the end that in doing hard bit manipulation, he’s writing the whole port…
    And that’s sort of the POINT: you’ll always take a perfmance hit to mask out bits.
    If you ever do anything REAL (not just blinking an LED) then you will have to do masks and bit manipulation. There is always going to be code overhead. Perhaps you’ll write a cleaner/tighter version that is case specific.. But any generalised/flexible version is going to take roughly the same amount of time.

    So.. IMO, this is not really a fair comparison/complaint.

    And as demonstrated, you can always just Chuck the Arduino code aside whenever you need your own faster versions.

    Ralph Doncaster says:
    July 15, 2015 at 11:39 am

    There are a few simulators like simulavr that you can connect to gdb. Granted, not as good as a hardware debugger, but it fills part of the gap. Personally I’ve found the longer I’ve been coding the less I use a debugger. Also, with imbedded there are many situations where you break protocols if you stop the code execution. So my recommended debugging tools for AVR development are objdump and a cheap logic analyzer. If you can afford a scope, even better.

    Jacques1956 says:
    July 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    You don’t understand what Arduino is. It doesn’t target persons educated in EE or computer science. It target those who are not, like artists. Those persons don’t want to spend hours learning how to use Arduino IDE. Arduino IDE is perfect for them. Arduino is great for them, not for me so I don’t use it.

    ankit1985 says:
    July 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

    While I agree Arduino is great for quick prototyping when you don’t want to waste time setting things up and just need a well documented easy to use library, bit I would not use it in a commercial product. You really loose control in the sense that you are dependent on the library developer for big fixes, speed optimizations etc etc

    evad says:
    July 15, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I really don’t understand the religion behind it, but whatever makes you happy and gets your ideas made.

    AVRs are overpriced compared to other vendors offerings.

    ankit1985 says:
    July 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I agree to that. And yes AVRs are overpriced but I feel they are the perfect introduction to learnimg microcontrollers compared let’s say ARM.

    Mithat says:
    July 17, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Arduino is open source as are most third-party libraries available for it. So, you are not at all dependent on anyone for fixes and optimizations.

    Chris says:
    July 15, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Oh, but hating Arduino is so much fun!
    Knock-offs can be had for a few bucks on eBay, but I still contend that by & large the official stuff is overpriced.
    The IDE is great, because it’s so easy even a n00b could use it. The IDE sucks, and only a n00b would use it. ;-)
    That said, I keep a stock of Chinese-made Micro boards for those quick & dirty little projects that pop up every now and then.

    The biggest problem IMHO is that the name “Arduino” is often conflated with “embedded computing”.

    Mr.Cruz says:
    July 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    “Arduino is no different from any other microcontroller, and is fully capable of being used in consumer products along side PICs, ARMs etc. To say otherwise is foolish.”

    Show me how to pause execution, or do any other basic debugging action without Serial.print, and then we can start talking.

    Greenaum says:
    July 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    What’s wrong with serial.print? Dumping variables to the screen is often handy in PC programming. It’s not single-step but it’s helpful. You can always cut out the serial.print for the finished product.

    Jacques1956 says:
    July 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Then don’t use Arduino. Use professional tools with a JTAG debugger. Why is it so hard to understand that Arduino is not and has never been designed for EE?

    Greenaum says:
    July 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    How hard would it be to program an Arduino to be a JTAG debugger for another Arduino? I bet there’s at least 5 projects out there that do that.

    r4k says:
    July 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    And that’s the entire point of the argument. If you just want to throw together a quick prototype or make a quick one-off device, Arduino can be a very good solution.

    As soon as you start talking about consumer products in any kind of volume the equation changes completely.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    1-Day Project: Build Your Own Arduino Uno for $5

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Arduino/Raspberry Pi open-source formats meet industrial controls – in distribution

    RS Components has the Industrial Shields brand of PLCs (programmable logic controllers and panel PCs; the range builds on Arduino, Hummingboard and Raspberry Pi boards to deliver open-source advantages on ready-to-use, approved hardware.

    In the past few years the flexibility of open-source development boards has eased the design process for electronic engineers, enabling faster prototyping for cutting-edge applications, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. “Our new distribution agreement with Industrial Shields brings this flexibility to industrial engineers with a series of ready-to-install open-source industrial products,”

    The Industrial Shields PLCs and panel PCs are based on the most popular open-source developments boards, such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Hummingboards, and can be programmed exactly in the same way. This unique characteristic allows engineers to go from prototype to industrialisation using the same flexible programming code.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Case for Arduino in “Real Engineering”

    For over ten years, Arduino has held onto its popularity as “that small dev-board aimed to get both artists and electronics enthusiasts excited about physical computing.”

    Without a doubt, the Arduino has a cushy home among hobbyists, but it also lives elsewhere. Arduino lives in engineering design labs as consumer products move from feature iterations into user testing. It’s in the chem labs when scientists need to get some sensor data into their pc in a pinch. Despite the frowns we’ll see when someone blinks an LED with an Arduino and puts it into a project box, Arduino is here to stay.

    It’s not unusual for the seasoned engineers to cast some glares towards the latest Arduino-based cat-feeding Kickstarter, shamelessly hiding the actual Arduino board inside that 3D-printed enclosure. Hasty? Sure. Crude, or unpolished? Certainly. Worth selling? Well, that depends on the standards of the consumer. Nevertheless, those exact same critical engineers might also be kicking around ideas for their next Burning Man Persistence-of-Vision LED display–and guess what? It’s got an Arduino for brains! What may seem like hypocrisy is actually perfectly reasonable. In both cases, each designer is using Arduino for what it does best: abstracting away the gritty details so that designs can happen quickly. How? The magic (or not) of hardware abstraction.

    In a world where “we just want to get things blinking,” Arduino has a few nifty out-of-the-box features that get us up-and-running quickly.

    A HAL is nothing new in the embedded world, but simply having one can make a world of difference, one that can enable both the artist and the embedded engineer to achieve the same end goal of both quickly and programmatically interacting with the physical world through a microcontroller. In Arduino, the HAL is nothing more than the collection of classes and function calls that overlay on top of the C++ programming language and, in a sense, “turn it into the Arduino programming language” (I know, there is no Arduino Language

    Because of the hardware abstraction layer, the rest of the source code can remain mostly unchanged although we may be switching chip architectures and even compilers in the process! Of course, in an environment where developing code for the target platform does matter, it doesn’t make sense to go to such efforts to write the general-purpose code that we see in Arduino, or even use Arduino in the first place if it doesn’t have the necessary features needed for the target end-goal. Nevertheless, for producing an end-to-end solution where “the outcome matters but the road to getting there does not,” writing Arduino code saves time if the target hardware needs to change before getting to that end goal.

    Use the HAL, Luke!

    To achieve an end-to-end solution where the process of “how we got there” matters not, Arduino shines for many simple scenarios.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Arduino’s perfect storm

    Hardware isn’t dead. Software did not take over all of US engineering. And not everything has been outsourced. That’s in part due to Arduino and other open-source maker and DIY platforms, or at least that was an argument made at ESC (Embedded Systems Conference) in Minneapolis this week.

    “You are seeing more companies take this more seriously than something just for hobby,” said embedded systems designer Duane Benson, a participant in ESC’s Arduino Show & Tell session where such DIY projects were shared with event attendees and presenter of the “Arduino for Rapid Prototyping; It’s Not Just a Toy” session.

    Benson, and many of the more than 30 people who attended the ESC Arduino Meet-up, have been drawn to the platform for its low cost, easy IDE, and simple hardware—a perfect storm for easy adoption and engineering entry.

    “That allowed a lot of newcomers in—just like the personal computer revolution in the 1970s,” Benson said during his presentation.

    Arduino isn’t perfect, though. Its IDE is considered weak by some engineers, base Arduinos are typically not very powerful, and Arduinos can be pricey in low quantities. But the issues, when combined with the strong uptick STEM has seen from Arduino adoption (Arduino users are estimated to be above the 100,000 point), have brought along other open or Arduino-like platforms, including Intel’s Edison and the nearly Arduino-compatible chipKit powered by Microchip, that could fill holes left by imperfections and help continue the easy entry to engineering that Arduino started.

    Benson closed his presentation by suggesting what Arduino could do next to continue its value to hobbyists, makers, and professional engineers alike. Key, he said, is to bring the price point for more-than-base Arduinos below $2. Also, automatic wireless update for IoT should come into play, as should basic debug.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Claims to be: The world’s first Arduino-control logic

    Component and tool vendor Conrad Business Supplies has increased the product line logic controllers which are based on the first in the world on the popular Arduino development board.

    Series has been given the name Controllino. It is a highly flexible controllers, which are suitable for a variety of automation applications including controlling the temperature control, lighting and multimedia.

    Control logic produces Austrian SG-Tronic GmbH, a subsidiary of Controllino. The range consists of three options: the Mini, Maxi and Mega models, each of which is compatible with the requirements and complexity for various applications. All models are based on the Arduino open-platform, as well as Atmel Atmega micro-controller.

    The device can be found for example. SPI, I2C, RS232 and RS485 interfaces. The internal real-time clock can be switched on and off. The front panel USB port allows for simple external programming.

    Controllino Mini offers a variety of I / O connections: 6 relay outputs, 8 analog / digital inputs and 8 digital outputs in a small package with dimensions of 94.5 × 59.4 × 36 millimeters. Maxi addition to providing 10 relay outputs, 12 A / D inputs and 12 digital outputs and an Ethernet interface and a second RS232 interface.


  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Measure, record, and view four channels of thermocouple temperature data with this open source Arduino™-compatible data logger.

    The Pax Instruments T400 datalogger is an open source four-channel thermocouple temperature datalogger based on the Arduino™ Leonardo platform. It is ready to use out of the box with the features you want most. Measurements can be logged to MicoSD card, printed to serial port, and graphed. The T400 is a great tool for anything from live thermal process monitoring in the lab to long-term environmental data collection in the field.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Comments from

    GEO says:
    November 26, 2015 at 7:38 am

    An company I used to work for fell victim to this all the time. One of the worse was a dip coater that was 80/20 rail a stepper motor, threaded rod and an arduino, a few buttons, and a screen in a project box, for…$5000. They also bought a faraday cup for $800 that was to heavy for the scale they were using, so I made one out of a few soda cans and ptfe. Lab equipment is a good business to be in.

    Jm says:
    November 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Considering a B2B hourly rate of $200 (that’s a concentrative estimate), that’s 25hrs for production, testing, shipping and support. Actually not too bad considering what you’ve described.

    snow says:
    November 26, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    lab equipment indeed is a good business especially if the technician are not too smart. a company tried to sell us a “camera adapter” for 3k it was basically an aluminium tube with no optical element whatsoever… shameless… thankfully we were able to gracefully refuse their “offer”

    Fennec says:
    November 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    And people wonder why science might be progressing slower; science has been turned into a business.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Arduino-based projects on Kickstarter

    The Arduino development board has grown in popularity over the last few years and has spawned a myriad of interesting projects such as auto-lacing shoes, The EyeWriter 2.0, and the Mobile Dance Stage. While there are tons of projects that can be found on the Internet, we will focus on a handful of inventive, smart, and useful Arduino-based projects on Kickstarter that are looking for crowdfunding to make them a reality.

    First up is Matt Wirth’s Starter Shield for the Arduino, which teaches those new to the world of development boards how to program sensors and other components in order to create their own interesting projects.

    Team IoT’s IoT Relay makes use of an Arduino or other dev boards for Wi-Fi or home automation projects.

    Makeblock’s mBot is an Arduino-based educational robot that teaches kids programming, coding, and robotics.
    Makeblock’s mBot features the company’s mCore platform, which is based on the open-source Arduino Uno albeit with a much easier wiring system. Instead of the many GPIO pins, the mCore uses color-coded RJ25 connectors, allowing other components to be easily connected.
    What’s interesting is that the board is compatible with Lego (Mindstorms), Raspberry Pi, and other Arduino boards and shields

    Awesome Prototyping Set and Bootloader Shield, which allows beginners to easily get their projects off and running. The kit features a bootloader shield that plugs directly into the Arduino and allows users to easily program an Atmega328-PU microcontroller with Arduino code

    Like Makeblock, ICare Power Generator is looking to crowdfund his learning tool known as QiBots, which lets kids build and code their own robots.
    it will use the Arduino Uno as the robot’s brain
    Programming the QiBots will be done using ArduBlock (through Arduino IDE), which lets users drag-and-drop icons into different combinations for specific functions

    CoreConduit Garden Controller
    The CoreConduit functions using a series of sensors (photocell, water level, temperature, humidity, etc.) to collect plant data and sends the info to an Arduino R3 that’s been programmed with specific values.

    World Class Technologies’ Piccolino isn’t your everyday Arduino development board. It’s actually based on the Arduino Mini but comes jam-packed with other electronics as well, almost turning it into a mini PC. The Piccolino features an onboard OLED display, built-in Wi-Fi, 32K of SRAM, and SD card.

    David Baines’ Dual Motor Controller. Actually, the board is capable of driving two motors bi-directionally or a total of four at one direction only.

    Arduino-based Arachnio board. The company is crowdfunding the board on Kickstarter to get the board into production, which features an ATmega32u4 microcontroller, integrated Wi-Fi, and an onboard USB port.

    If home energy monitoring is something users are interested in, then they should check out OpenEnergyMonitor’s emonPi, a Raspberry Pi and Arduino open-source home energy and environment monitor. The device uses the RPi (any model) with an Arduino compatible ATmega328 shield to process data collected from various sensors that monitor everything from electrical current use to temperature levels in various areas of the home.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Prototype to production: Arduino for the professional–Arduino-for-the-professional?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_funfriday_20160513&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_funfriday_20160513&elqTrackId=a8396fb2b8ef4e3c98e6e23a9beed6bf&elq=f50a6744d13b43fcb0bc7f95157d0626&elqaid=32248&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=28166

    Despite its popularity among hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts, the Arduino has become infamous among professional embedded systems developers. I must admit that for the longest time I also viewed the Arduino as so simple it was nearly useless for professional developers. But I have changed my mind.

    I’ve found that on a number of occasions over the last few years, rapid prototyping using Arduinos and Arduino shields has proven invaluable in moving a project forward. Despite, or perhaps because of, its abstracted simplicity, the Arduino has been key in turning an abstract idea into a defined product. For that reason, let’s take a closer at the Arduino and how professional developers can benefit from it.


    Professional developers can leverage the Arduino ecosystem to rapidly prototype and prove out an embedded system concept. Existing Arduino libraries can be used for quick and dirty development but many developers will find the software development environment wanting and will likely choose to use their own development tools and environments. Despite the professional deficiencies in the software platform, though, the use of the Arduino shields and hardware environments offer a great opportunity to help accelerate development through the use of readily available shields. Just don’t forget that Arduino is meant for rapid prototyping rather than developing production-intent systems.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why I Go Through So Many Arduinos

    I make things for people that can’t be bought off a shelf, and in the past several years I have gone through a lot of Arduinos. More and more, they are simply the right tool for both the job and the client. This wasn’t always the case; what changed?

    My clients today still include startups and other small businesses, but more and more they’re artists, hobbyists venturing into entrepreneurship, or people who make one-offs like the interactive displays you find in museums or science centers. The type of people I work for has changed, and because of this, the right tool for their job is almost always an Arduino.

    If Not Arduinos, What?

    I was chatting with some new people at a local hackerspace, and we were talking about what we do. I told them I spent a lot of time making one-off devices, prototypes, or small production runs for people who know what they need, but can’t buy it off a shelf. I mentioned that I go through plenty of Arduinos as a result.

    “What would you be using if it wasn’t an Arduino?” I was asked.

    I thought for a moment and replied something about how I’d probably use an AVR on a board I designed, and roll that out when I needed a microcontroller to do things.

    The Arduino is the Right Tool for Their Jobs

    A lot of my work looks like this: the client comes in with an idea but it’s not quite there, and it needs some development before it can become a product. First I build a proof of concept, but then we often move to iterative prototypes where we do a lot of testing and measuring. What is learned from one prototype is rolled into subsequent prototypes in a continuous flow of learning and refinement.

    Eventually, we reach the end of what’s possible with the Arduino and readily available components. Then it’s time for the engineers to design a solution: something focused directly around exactly what was discovered, with minimal waste. That engineered solution is not very likely to include an Arduino.

    But until we hand the job off to the engineers, the Arduino was part of the solution. And a big reason for that is the comfort level of the client during this phase of iterative refinement. A lot of clients would throw up their hands at an AVR-ISP or a hex file but they know what an Arduino is. They are often comfortable uploading sketches and making changes to them, or even following a wiring diagram. They probably even prototyped their idea with an Arduino. Using an Arduino allows them to remain hands-on with the development of their idea, even as they outsource some of the work to consultants.

    The Clients have Changed

    Sticking with what the client knows and expects is often the right move but there’s another, deeper reason that an Arduino is even involved in the first place. Without the Arduino and the whole ecosystem of open and accessible hardware and tools that has grown along with it, many of my clients would probably never have even begun to develop their ideas. They certainly would never have gotten to the point of hiring me for my help.

    The observation that I was going through a lot of Arduinos also made me realize that my clients had changed. I now work more with artists who are incorporating electronics into their work in ways that weren’t accessible just a few years ago, basement inventors who are taking the plunge to see if their idea will fly, people who need small production runs of 10-100 in a world where “small” often means thousands, and stage magicians who need someone to help them make the next great trick happen. (I hadn’t expected that last one, but you better believe that market exists.)

    There’s one more advantage to working with these types of folks: when people have experience with developing their own solutions and experience running into the roadblocks, they usually also have some understanding of and appreciation for the kind of time, work, detail, and costs that go into development. Those of you who have done professional development work will recognize what a boon that is.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Prototype to production: Arduino for the professional
    Jacob Beningo -May 12, 2016–Arduino-for-the-professional

    Despite its popularity among hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts, the Arduino has become infamous among professional embedded systems developers. I must admit that for the longest time I also viewed the Arduino as so simple it was nearly useless for professional developers. But I have changed my mind.

    I’ve found that on a number of occasions over the last few years, rapid prototyping using Arduinos and Arduino shields has proven invaluable in moving a project forward. Despite, or perhaps because of, its abstracted simplicity, the Arduino has been key in turning an abstract idea into a defined product. For that reason, let’s take a closer at the Arduino and how professional developers can benefit from it.

    Prototype to production: Running Python with Arduino–Running-Python-with-Arduino?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20160621&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20160621&elqTrackId=88c64b800dd740dd80edc8817b426606&elq=6355852853774988b974f63e2284cefa&elqaid=32763&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=28613

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Prototype to Production: Arduino for the Professional

    Jacob Beningo looks at how the humble Arduino can benefit a professional development effort.

    Despite its popularity among hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts, the Arduino has become infamous among professional embedded systems developers. I must admit that for the longest time I also viewed the Arduino as so simple it was nearly useless for professional developers. But I have changed my mind.

    The Arduino hardware platform
    One of the most powerful aspects of the Arduino for professional developers is the hardware ecosystem that supports it. Every Arduino board and derivative has a standard hardware interface that allows custom designed electronics to be stacked on top of the processor board to flesh out the prototype of an embedded system. The custom electronic boards, known as shields as probably most developers are aware, can literally have any type of electronics onboard such as motor drivers, sensors, actuators, LEDs or whatever the application needs may be. The popularity of Arduino among hobbyists has greatly benefited embedded system professionals because the result has been a wide variety of Arduino shields for nearly every application imaginable available off the shelf.

    Professional developers can also leverage the Arduino hardware platform to interface with commercial devices of interest. Using available shields for CAN, SPI, RS-485, Ethernet, and other equipment interfaces it’s possible to perform rapid prototyping activities for proof-of-concepts or one-off customer demos.

    Prototype to production: Arduino for the professional–Arduino-for-the-professional

    The Arduino shield interface is designed for low cost, low pin count microcontrollers, which can potentially be an issue for professional embedded systems developers needing more. Microcontroller companies have tried to resolve this issue by creating development boards for their more powerful processors while following the footprint for an Arduino shield. They then expanded the headers for additional functionality. By expanding their headers in the same way, developers can build their own custom shields for these enhanced development boards that utilize the extra functionality. Yet they can still also purchase off-the-shelf Arduino shields that remain compatible with the development board.

    The Arduino software platform
    The Arduino is more than hardware; it’s a complete hardware and software prototyping system. Its software development environment and libraries leave much to be desired from a professional developer’s point of view, but it is still useful to get a basic understanding of how Arduino handles software development.
    First, a developer examining the Arduino website — — will discover that there is some really strange language going on when it is talking about software. Arduino has invented a concept for the general public known as sketching, which to a professional developer is “writing code”. A sketch is really nothing more than a software project but the terminology sketch comes from the fact that Arduino was originally developed as a rapid prototyping tool for individuals who knew little to nothing about software or electronics, artists for example.

    Never heard of the Arduino programming language? That is because the Arduino programming language is actually nothing more than C/C++. The “Arduino language” as they refer to it is actually just a collection of libraries that provide a consistent set of APIs for controlling microcontroller peripherals.

    Professional developers can leverage the Arduino ecosystem to rapidly prototype and prove out an embedded system concept. Existing Arduino libraries can be used for quick and dirty development but many developers will find the software development environment wanting and will likely choose to use their own development tools and environments. Despite the professional deficiencies in the software platform, though, the use of the Arduino shields and hardware environments offer a great opportunity to help accelerate development through the use of readily available shields. Just don’t forget that Arduino is meant for rapid prototyping rather than developing production-intent systems.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Prototype to production: Arduino for the professional–Arduino-for-the-professional?_mc=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20161229&cid=NL_EDN_EDT_EDN_today_20161229&elqTrackId=5bc22b667feb465494972d98b004b016&elq=87f9be788a054f4e8ac77bb62a8b406f&elqaid=35345&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=30894

    Despite its popularity among hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts, the Arduino has become infamous among professional embedded systems developers. I must admit that for the longest time I also viewed the Arduino as so simple it was nearly useless for professional developers. But I have changed my mind.

    I’ve found that on a number of occasions over the last few years, rapid prototyping using Arduinos and Arduino shields has proven invaluable in moving a project forward. Despite, or perhaps because of, its abstracted simplicity, the Arduino has been key in turning an abstract idea into a defined product. For that reason, let’s take a closer at the Arduino and how professional developers can benefit from it.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Risks and Rewards of Open Platform Firmware
    Can you build a product using open platform hardware? Yes, if you understand the risks.

    Open-source hardware is great for a lot of things. It gives students and educators a great learning platform, and it’s the perfect solution for all sorts of DIY projects . But can you design a commercial product around open source?

    You can if you understand the risks and take the proper security precautions, particularly when it comes to your firmware.

    Speaking at the 2017 Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in Boston Brian Richardson, a technical evangelist for Intel, praised open hardware platforms for many reasons: they offer publicly available designs; they’re based on open-source concepts; and they encourage experimentation, new features, and new designs. The DIY and Maker community has already heavily embraced hobbyist boards like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and there are other products on the market as well such as the MinnowBoard and Intel’s own Galileo Board .

    “On an open hardware platform the firmware is made available primarily for debugging and hacking,” Richardson told the audience. “It ships with unsigned binary firmware images because as a maker if we signed binary it doesn’t do you any good. It also assumes updates are run by a developer – and hopefully not a hacker.” The trouble comes, Richardson said, because the platform identifiers are not unique. If a developer uses GitHub or some other open-source repository to get a GUID for a platform that means everyone else can get and use the same one as well, even people with bad intentions.

    There are also problems inherent in the way firmware itself operates. “Firmware initializes hardware, establishes root-of-trust, then hands things off to OS … which creates an opportunity for someone else,”

    “If I trust the firmware then we can let the firmware be the root of trust,”

    Ultimately it will be up to developers to decide if using open source is the right move. With the open-source hardware space growing and companies even beginning to offer open-source SoCs , it’s likely that a lot more designers, particularly at the DIY and startup level, will be opting to leverage some sort of open source hardware and software to help bring their product to market.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DIN-Uino anyone? Industrial packaging!

    The Arduino world offers a ton of H/W options and excellent S/W.
    Making a real industrial project out of it… not so easy.

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    industrial din arduino ENCLOSURE

    This project was created on 08/24/2017 and last updated 4 hours ago.
    I design & build custom industrial-control products, mainly for the printing/converting industry. Some of these projects would have likely been quicker/better/cheaper overall if I could have leveraged Arduino-compatible products & S/W, but packaging them into something neat, clean, stable and reproducible (and 24VDC-power compatible) has always been a hurdle.

    That’s where DIN-Uino comes in. I have a particular “DIN mounted” form-factor that I’ve used for 25yrs+, and many are still operating today (any 87C196KD20 fans out there?)! Clients continue to ask for enhancement and upgrades – all of which of course have to fit into existing spaces and wiring plans.

    Can DIN-mounting of Arduino-compatible products be implemented other ways? Definitely YES! There are several existing solutions, However, they didn’t offer the flexibility I wanted, nor the form-factor I needed.

    Due to the way the standard headers on Arduinos are arranged, and that most Arduino-shields plug into the TOP of a CPU module… I designed my carrier board to act as an “interposer”, so that the CPU mounts underneath it. ALL signals are passed up through M/F headers. You can then stack one or more standard Arduino shields.

    The carrier board serves a few purposes:

    1) On-board +24V to +5V (or 3.3V) voltage regulator. Input terminals = 2-pin Phoenix 3.81mm connector.

    2) Space for your custom I/O circuitry, which you will likely need between the TTL-GPIO pins on the Arduino and the external 24V industrial-signal world.

    3) Mounting holes which obviously match up the DIN-Uino mounting plate.

    DIN-Uino “Proto1″ board:

    This version of this carrier board, as shown, is merely a field of 0.1″ holes, some power/GND rails, the Arduino shield header area, and of course the 24V/5V(3.3V) voltage regulator.

    The Arduino-shield header footprint is compatible with standard “UNO” pinout, and of course the larger MEGA2560 (and similar) extended pinout.

    DIN-Uino “Proto2″ board (future):

    Compatibility with the ST-Microelectronics “Nucleo” boards. Similar to a MEGA2560, but more… and you’ll be able to play with a number their Cortex-ARM platforms (180MHz, or even faster?).

    For my specific industrial applications, I’m really considering the “Nucleo-F4129ZI” board, a 180MHz Cortex-M4 micro. I’m currently using an NXP LPC1769 (120MHz), but that’ll be running out of steam soon for my projects.

    *** My first project-follower helped me discover that the Teensy 3.6 also has a 180MHz Cortex-M4 on it… and is a much smaller module overall. Certainly worthy of consideration! ***

    Custom DIN-Uino carrier boards:

    For higher-volume applications (in my world, 10 units = higher volume), it might make sense to have a custom carrier board that integrates all the application-specific circuitry (opto’s, SSR’s, etc.) rather than hand-wire each one. I’m sure once I work out my first Nucleo design, I’ll be immediately make a custom board – I don’t want to hand-wire more than 1 prototype!

    DIN-clip: This is a standard Hammond-Mfg product. A spring-loaded metal clip for DIN-rail mounting. One feature I really like is that you don’t need a tool or anything at all to un-clip from the DIN-rail. So far, all the plastic DIN-rail clips I’ve found really need a screwdriver to un-latch them, and with the size/shape of my enclosure, there’s no way for any tool-access to that clip.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Can the Arduino Uno R3 be Used for Industrial Solutions?

    The Arduino Uno R3 from Arduino is one of the most popular microcontrollers out there, and it boasts a large online community that has created thousands of projects. Whether you want to monitor temperature and humidity outside your house or have the Arduino control a robot to auto-balance itself, the Arduino has a versatile set that can be applied in many DIY applications. But how does Arduino work in industrial solutions?

    If you’re hoping an Arduino Uno can replace the PLC that most manufacturing process centers use, you’ll be out of luck. There is a reason why PLCs (which can be hundreds of dollars) are more expensive than Arduino boards (about $20 – $30).

    PLCs are different from other computing devices as they are intended for severe conditions found in manufacturing plants. This means they can handle dust, higher and lower temperature, and moisture—environmental conditions the Arduino isn’t built to handle.

    PLCs also have more extensive input/outputs (I/O) to connect to other sensors and actuators. A PLC can output to other elements, including electric motors, magnetic relays, sirens, indicator lamps, and much more. This is something that the Arduino can also do, but it is more limited, as its analog inputs are only ranged from 0-5 V and the analog outputs are pulse-width modulation (PWM).

    So How Does Arduino Fit Into an Industrial Solution?

    While PLCs are the go-to for the Industrial Industry, that doesn’t mean that an Arduino can’t be useful for the Industrial industry. One task that Arduino is great for is collecting data, so if you need to collect temperature and humidity, you can easily insert the Arduino to monitor many variables. This will give you a chance to check if there are any problems with the machinery. Think of it as an added set of eyes for all types of machineries.

    If we are talking about smaller scale industrial solutions, like having an automated sprinkler system in your house, then the Arduino is perfect for those DIY projects. The Arduino sensors and its wide variety of shields can be used to create DIY solutions at home that include building digital dashboards with important information, monitoring crops, monitoring water flow, creating a control center, or even building an automated irrigation system.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From Arduino Prototype to Manufacturable Product

    Creating a prototype based on an Arduino is an excellent start to bringing a new electronic hardware product to market.

    The Arduino is an ideal platform for proving your product concept. However, there is still a lot of engineering work required to turn it into a product that can be manufactured and sold.

    The most straightforward strategy to transition from an Arduino prototype to a truly sellable product is to use the same microcontroller as used in the Arduino. Although there may be higher performance and lower cost microcontrollers available, the simplest option is to just use the same microcontroller.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Complete Guide from Arduino to Sellable Product

    A step-by-step guide on how to turn your Arduino project into a sellable product.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Arduino Founder Looks Beyond Free
    Banzi shares views on open-source hardware

    One of the progenitors of the open-source hardware movement is warming up to the idea of designs that aren’t free.

    the group behind it has also been the victim of some rip-offs wherein larger rivals take open-source Arduino designs and make cheaper versions of them as commercial products.

    Arduino is not alone. “There are smaller open-source hardware designers who release what they design, and bigger companies take it and make it more cheaply … they don’t understand that it’s something where we contribute, they just take and say, ‘Screw you,’” he said.

    “My personal opinion is that hardware should be released under a non-commercial license, but if someone wants to make a product, they should talk to us and license it for professional use … we want a system where someone can license what we do commercially very easily.”

    Since its inception in 2003, Arduino has used a Creative Commons license. Many new licensing models have emerged since then

    “There needs to be a larger discussion of how we engage with people and encourage them to contribute more,” he said.

    Now the company is working on cloud-based tools that let users drag and drop IP blocks onto the boards and compile the results. The tool aims to include a store where users can make their designs available to others.

    “Some of this may be available as open-source and some may not be,”

    Silicon Valley giants including Apple use Arduino boards for rapid prototyping, he noted. With that in mind, Arduino is working with Intel to get approval to link the Vidor boards to Intel’s Quartus FPGA programming tools.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:


    A lack of visibility makes maintaining safety standards in heavily industrialized environments such as oil management tough at the best of times. And, with excessive oil changes leading to additional maintenance and wasted production time the challenge continues.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The COBo IoT Tracker is a robust and reliable device that utilizes the modular capabilities of the MKR family along with the Arduino IoT Cloud for data visualization:

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Having built a prototype on a breadboard, Sayanee Basu explains the whys and hows of transferring the design to a custom PCB.

    Sayanee Basu’s Video Walks Through the Design

    Considerations in Moving From an Arduino to a PCB
    Having built a prototype on a breadboard, Basu’s video will explain the whys and hows of transferring the design to a custom PCB.

    “There are some design considerations to take note,” Basu explains in the introduction to the video. “For example the power management circuit, or how to upload the bootloader and the firmware, LEDs, buttons, or switches, and integrate the various sensor circuits.”


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