IR Development Platform

Hello All,

I am a software guy who is interested in using the arduboy as a usability prototype for a consumer product. Our particular application requires arduboy to arduboy communications. Although I have seen threads talking about using USB as a bridge, would it be difficult to wire a stock IR transceiver into the arduboy? Preferrably something with arduino libraries. We have very limited time. Our production device will need high throughput comms but for the usability prototype IR speeds are sufficient. I am a bit at sea wrt hardware so need an indication whether this is worth pursuing.


Why IR? maybe a cheap 433 mhz module makes more sense

Are you thinking the device would fit in the case or are you looking to fit a different case?

I’m not certain but given that this is a commercial application I’m left wondering if maybe there might be some legal issues here. I’m not insinuating that anyone is doing anything illegal, but I’m pretty sure businesses usually talk to each other when one is trying to modify another’s product for the sake of some business application. I could be wrong and I probably am, but I do feel like maybe this is something that ought to be discussed with the business owners (i.e. @bateske and… whoever else owns Arduboy Inc).

That said:

How much time is ‘very limited’ exactly?

I’m not much of a hardware expert myself but I assume it would be possible to connect an IR transceiver to the Arduboy, but I don’t think it would fit inside the Arduboy’s case, you’d need to develop a new case or go without one as @filmote hinted at.

@eried might also be on to something (unlike me he’s experienced with hardware), but I can’t really comment on that without more elaboration.

Hi. this is not for a production device, just a quick and dirty usability prototype to show to the marketing types. We won’t release this as a finished device - in any case our price points are an order of magnitude lower.

Limited time - I have 15 days and counting to get some sort of solution.

In re case, my thinking was that I would drill a hole and stick te transceiver on te back. nothing fancy.


We are trying to keep the use method as close to the original as possible. Had a production issue (unanticipated set of boards going missing in shipping). the original idea is that the two devices are in material contact - the easiest way I could think of doing this so i can just talk to it like a serial port was IR. I am not familiar with wireless - may be worth investigating but the intent was to demo it like the originals - material contact or close enough. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Ah, that’s ok then (I think).
If it ends up working Kevin will still probably want to know though, just because it’s such an unexpected application of the Arduboy.

That should be enough time for someone here to mock something up, but it’s the summer holidays at the moment so some of the regulars are busy (spending time with their friends and family etc) so you might be unlucky and not get enough interest quickly enough, but I know there are people here who have the knowledge to help, it’s just a matter of whether they’re available and willing to help*.

(I’m not saying they’re unhelpful, quite the opposite - pretty much everyone here likes helping people. What I mean is that as you are asking from a business point of view and are presumably getting paid it might make some people feel like they’d be giving free help to someone getting paid to do something or feel like they’re doing your job for you. I’m not saying that’s the case, but it’s understandable that some people might feel that way and be reluctant to help because of it, especially with the presence of a time constraint. I suspect I’m being pessimistic though, I have a habit of looking for potential problems before they happen - part of the territory of being a programmer I guess.)

Happy to inform him.

Wrt money yes and no. Its an itty bitty startup and although I have shares the company is pre-seed and so everyone is kind of living off savings (no one has a salary). I could offer to donate 50 bucks to the solution provider’s favourite charity (preferrably one which takes credit cards) if that’s what it will take - a direct payment creates legal issues about work product ownership blah blah and really I just need to show some non-technical people how this thing is going to work (its possible that even a donation would be “consideration” but if you really want to get down to it I will explicitly disclaim an interest). Whomever who comes up with the solution can keep the associated IP if any.

It is possible to attach an IR communications to the existing hardware, but if you’re trying to build a new prototype my suggestion is to just use existing arduino kits out there. You can make one much smaller than this actually.

The reason to modify Arduboy like this if you needed it to be durable and have all the button controls… in which case it should be easy to follow any IR communication tutorial online for arduino, but finding components that will fit under the case.

Because of the way Arduboy is designed though you may have to drill holes in the pcb in a part there isnt a trace or find some other way to bring wires for the infrared led to the front.

Good luck!

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I didn’t mean to suggest someone would want to be paid for providing help, but it’s nice to know that you would be willing to do that.

Indeed it would, which is why I wouldn’t suggest it.

That’s very admirable, I hope you all do well.
(I’m assuming your product is something good/useful - you haven’t said what it is so I don’t really know anything about it.)

Thanks a bunch. Ya its pretty much because I am hardware blind and needed the shortest route possible - knowing that it is doable is a big help since I was afraid of sinking a lot of time into it and finding out for some reason it can’t work. Things are much easier if you know they are possible. Thanks again!

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Its a bottom of the pyramid transactions project - thus the need to be as cheap as possible. Transactions for poor people who make about 2 dollars a day (mean - high volatility imputed).

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In the back part of the arduboy, there are some exposed pads you can use. Near the programming pads, you can access some digital pins.

You can follow:

Drill a hole in the back plate (or 3d print a new one that fits the electronics).


Note that you may have some trouble with the library used in the above tutorial. “Out of the box” the library only supports transmitting on pins 13 (default) or 5 or 9.

Pin 13 is one of the speaker pins.
Pin 5 is the other speaker pin.
Pin 9 is the blue RGB LED.

You can receive on any pin, so that’s not a problem.

Unused pins available on pads on the back of the Arduboy circuit board are:


Also note that the Arduboy is powered (essentially) directly from the battery, so Vcc and the voltage on output pins will vary from about 4.2V to 3.2V. Keep this in mind when determining things like the dropping resistor value for the transmitter LED. (The above tutorial, for example, runs at a fixed 5V).


If all you’re looking for is a demo platform with some type of simple display and button input, and you’re not concerned about size, I’d consider using an Arduino UNO with a SainSmart LCD Keypad Shield.

You would get a 16 character x 2 line LCD display and 5 buttons. Standard libraries are available for driving the display and reading the buttons.

Both of these parts are easily obtainable, either genuine or as “clones”. The pins used in the tutorial, recommended by @eried above, are both available (brought out to separate header pads on the SainSmart shield), so following the tutorial for wiring the IR components would be easy.

Another option is the (SmartGPU2) … they have touch screens ranging from 160 x 128, 320 x 240 and 360 x 480 and a nice Arduino library. It also has an SD card for images or data logging. The only problem is its a little power hungry and a but pricey.

I have built a few games on this platform … (gratuitous plug).

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You can find the source code for these games here >

Thanks everyone for all the feedback. I have already ordered the Arduboy units so have committed to this platform for the time being. Thanks for the alternate platform suggestions though.

We are looking for something as svelte as possible since our counterparties usually think like first world consumers (which they are) and not as people living in the margins (who are our actual customers). Number 1 question we got with the first generation prototypes was whether we could make it smaller.

I will have to look at how the library is coded and see how to alter the pins used.

I’ve been researching IR transceivers and was wondering if I could just buy this thing: ( If I understand this correctly, I would need just 2 pins for communications. Or would this ( be better?

The primary reason for me is that the second board has an on-board decoder/encoder and all the required electronics. I assume that this means that I would just treat it as a serial device - do some initialization and just get a serial stream. Is that correct?


For the IR library mentioned, you need a PWM capable pin, so that means only pin 3 of the free pins. If the speaker isn’t required, or you just need simple beeps, you could unsolder the speaker wire going to pin 13 and tie it to GND. You could then wire the speaker pin 13 pad to the IR transmitter and use the library as is. You could still play tones on the speaker through pin 5.

It looks like it’s just a pre-wired version of the hardware in the mentioned tutorial, so it should work.

I think that’s a bit of an overkill but it would work (not with the mentioned library though). Plus, you said size is important, so the other one may be better. You are correct, though, that this one only needs a simple serial UART interface, for which you could use the free D0/RX and D1/TX pads.

Kind of surprised there isn’t a small arduino compatible board for this?

Does this have to be IR? You could maybe use 800mhz radio too?

This is starting to clearly be off topic for Arduboy, but it could be an interesting project.

My suggestion would be to increase the size of your network of resources, as clearly Arduboy alone can’t assist. Try posting on reddit in arduino with your problem maybe you can get some developers there to help.

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