Arduino Shields Are Ready-Made Addons for Circuit Development

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: May 20, 2020
Arduino Shields Are Ready-Made Addons for Circuit Development

Arduino Shields are integrated circuit blocks available in off-the-shelf printed circuit board assemblies.


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Arduino is a company that offers off-the-shelf printed circuit board assemblies containing small circuits for idea development. Each Arduino is designed with connections to interface with other circuit assemblies for the developer. Arduino Shields are some of the accessory interfaces provided by Arduino for DIYers and attach via pins to the Arduino Uno and Arduino Leonardo boards or into a microcontroller. An example pre-designed shield is the Arduino ethernet shield, and they can also come as a blank Arduino shield like the proto shield for more Arduino Uno board customization.

Although Arduino provides ready-made PCBAs of their designs, the schematics and board layouts are readily available on the web. If a DIYer is looking to develop EDA drawing skills, these designs are good starting points. Schematics and PCB layouts may be accessed and redrawn in the DIYer’s chosen EDA tools. In this way, DIYers grow skill sets.

Altium Designer allows DIYers, or those on a small budget, access to a free trial of their EDA tooling. The toolset provides access to symbols and wiring functions, allowing idea generators to try their hand at capturing circuit blocks. Once schematics are drawn, Altium’s free trial allows interested developers the chance to virtually make a printed circuit board. From this, drawings are produced that can be used to build the circuit board in their shop or at a local fabrication house.

Arduino Uno Shields Provide Learning Hardware for DIYers

In the world of electronics, there are many companies and people that make circuits. Circuits start as ideas that take form with hardware. Hardware is a collection of components and wires. At some point, those pieces of the circuit are best organized onto a printed circuit board assembly. Efficiently contained, the inventor is able to move forward to try more ideas. Arduino is a company that provides off-the-shelf printed circuit board assemblies that do this very thing.

Represent circuits in Altium schematic editor

Draw schematics with Altium’s graphical circuit editor

Arduino Shields are Printed Circuit Assemblies for the Masses

The masses who engage with Arduino Shields begin their journey with printed circuit board assemblies. Incidentally at first, interest in the boards is piqued as DIYers realize their hand-drawn circuits could be represented graphically in software. Converting a project, such as an Arduino Uno board with a personalized proto shield that connects through an Arduino ethernet shield or wifi shield, into a digital layout is a great feeling. Once captured in schematics, graphical software tools may be used for laying down virtual designs for fabrication.

Discovering that you can find and use Arduino Shield schematics to grow your skills is a fun hobby. Let’s consider the features of EDA toolsets.

EDA Software May be Used to Represent Off-the-Shelf Parts

The great thing about having Arduino share their knowledge is that beginners can use their documentation to grow their skills. Having online access to schematics and layouts allows users to choose an EDA software toolset while practicing their user skills. Users develop skills such as finding libraries to select components, using graphics menus to draw wires, and properties commands to define functions.

Arduino Shields Share Schematics and Layouts on the Web

Draw your off-the-shelf Arduino Shield and pin connections within EDA software tools to learn new skills. EDA software tooling comes with editors that can allow advanced pin and circuit representation in schematic form. Once in schematic form, the EDA tool allows graphical representation of a printed circuit board in graphical form. Users can further their learning curve by generating fabrication files and assembly documents.

As you delve into your project and add more functionality, your design files grow. Read on to discover the joys of a unified EDA platform for all your needs.

Altium’s unified environment offers free trials for DIYers

Transfer DIY projects into Altium’s unified environment

Altium Designer Offers Free Trials for DIYers

Altium Designer has a great toolset for everybody from beginners to advanced users. Altium software engineers built a platform to unify all the software tooling necessary to build printed circuit assemblies. The environment is suitable from very small boards with several components up to high-density boards containing hundreds of components. Altium offers its toolset on a trial basis for DIYers, so those hobbyists wanting to expand their skills with Arduino schematics can give it a try.

Get Altium’s Free Trial to Represent Arduino Shield in Software

Having Altium Designer for graphically representing your Arduino Shield projects is more than handy. This EDA software tooling is used by professionals throughout the electronic industry and training into its commands will give you marketable skills. Growing comfortable with Altium’s environment leads to quicker turnaround on your next project. Here are a few more ideas for getting your idea built and maybe even out to market.

Using your Arduino Shield projects to integrate EDA tooling into your skillset finds promise when using Altium Designer. Altium supports inventors and DIYers by offering a free trial of their unified environment. The unified environment includes schematic capture and PCB layout tools, along with component libraries and documentation generation. Your projects are easily represented in graphical viewing environments, with supporting documentation for moving into the build.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 1000+ technical blogs on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, and the American Physical Society, and he currently serves on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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