Three items that would be helpful for Arduboy DIYers

Continuing the discussion from Portland Retro Gaming Expo (Oct 13-15):

IMHO, there are two things that would help people wanting to make a true Arduboy, Ardudoy FX or Mini compatible DIY project. A third item would be nice to have available.

  1. A simple ATmega32U4 breakout board that mainly just brings out all the I/O pins. Currently, most people use the SparkFun Pro Micro or clone but this means having missing features (e.g. green RGB LED and speaker pin 2), or using alternative wiring thus being non-binary compatible.

    There are other boards that come closer but none are ideal.

    It would be good to have a board that just includes the ATmega32U4, the clock oscillator circuitry, the USB interface, and recommended bypass capacitors. All other MCU pins of value would be brought out to breadboard compatible header pins.

    Even an on-board voltage regulator wouldn’t be necessary, since Arduboys don’t use one, but it could be included to make the board more useful for other purposes. This would be a value/board size/cost tradeoff. Cost wise, it could laid out but left unpopulated.

    One last consideration would be whether or not to include the USB TX and RX LEDs on-board. Again they could be laid out but, as an option, not populated.

  2. A 1.3" SSD1306 module. You can get 0.96" SSD1306 modules and 1.3" SH1106 modules but finding a 1.3" SSD1306 module is pretty much impossible. All that’s needed is to take one of the standard 7 pin SPI 1.3" OLED SH1106 boards and replace the display with a 1.3" SSD1306 based one.

  3. A tiny board that just breaks out to a 4 pin header the same SMD RGB LED that the Arduboys use.

@bateske, You would be someone with the resources and capabilities to make and sell these items. Is it something you might consider? You could also consider creating DIY kits that, along with the above, included other necessary “off the shelf” parts; buttons, piezo speaker, battery charge controller, RGB LED dropping resistors, flash chip module, etc. and maybe even a solderless breadboard and wires.

1 Like
  1. Teensy 2++ fit this bill bit its discontinued. I can’t imagine there being a large demand for this, anyone interested in this stage of things would be better served by just designing the board themselves, the barriers to entry there are very low and it’s cheap. If you want those features but don’t know how to do a board layout I’d argue there is a mismatch in your skillset you need to address.

If you or anyone else wanted to design such a board, pcbway and other pcb fulfillment services can let you sell through their site to distribute the product. So long as it didn’t carry the Arduboy name you could do that, I just don’t have the time or capability to support such a low volume option.

It offers little more value than a qfn44 breakout would.

The closest I’ve got to that is something that I called the Arduboy swiss army pcb that allowed you to use different modules. It would theoretically remove the problem of having to wire it together or worry if you had the correct module, it would work with all of the different pinouts. It’s designed I just need to make and test it so it might be a good time to revisit that project.

  1. What? Uh, no?
    0.49/0.69/0.91/0.96/1.3 inch OLED Display Module IIC I2C/SPI Screen For Arduino | eBay

Although I will note amazon seems to have an overabundance of the SSH1306 which seems to be a new problem.

  1. Certainly not

I see where you are coming from on this, but I don’t think you are considering the amount of work it takes to stock the items, offer support on them, only to make at most a dollar on each order… at likely a much smaller sales volume than my core product.

No my answer to this is that the marketplace should support building your own Arduboy. The materials and information to do so need to be made easier to do.

For example, even though I disagree that the 1.3" oled is difficult to source, I agree the SSH version is cheaper. I’d rather beef up support for that fork of the Arduboy (I’ve been trying to pay someone to make a video about it for some time) than to push people into buying something from me, if they are building a kit.

I’m also not as fast as shipping as amazon, ebay, or even aliexpress and prices would have to be higher.

From a community and open source perspective it would seem “nice” to have these things available but besides the “ready made motherboard” none of this has any commercial viability under my plans for business operations.

Providing people the information to build it themselves is different from selling them the parts to build it themselves, and I only really am interested in the first part.

Doing a deeper dive, I can see there has been a shift in the online market for the oleds we use. The SSH controller came out after the SSD and it is a clone, that’s why it’s cheaper. And as we have identified it also lacks some of the features.

But it is so much cheaper, and is mostly compatible the problem that we are seeing is vendors are saying that it is “compatible” to the point where they will list SSD in the title, and then somewhere in the description they will actually say that it is a SSH controller.

So I see the issue here, but it’s also the result of a changing marketplace under my feet. If anything makes me wonder about switching the official Arduboy to SSH, but I think that would break the newly found grayscale mode? It’s looking to be half the price.

But to reiterate, to support home made my solution for this would to be have greater support for the more widely available and cheaper display model.

The description for the 1.3 inch SPI White/Blue display under that link says:
OLED screens inside the driver chips : SSH1106

I suspect they accidentally added an extra S and actually mean SH1106. Also the photo for it shows a 6 pin (missing reset), not 7 pin module.

Care to try again? The only one I know of is the Adafruit one.

Anyway, thanks for your response.

1 Like

Well then I stand corrected it seems that SSD1306 is harder to find than ever before!

That’s concerning as I worry if it will effect the supply for the Arduboy production.

Thanks for bringing that up, it certainly means I want to have strong support for SH1106 in home made designs.

I seems to still be readily available from BuyDisplay as a bare display. It’s finding it on a breadboardable module with the charge pump and other support components that’s the problem.

Even though BuyDisplay sells modules, their 1.3" ones have SD1106 based displays.

Yeah but supply could be dwindling, could be discontinued selling old stock or something potentially.

Again, it wouldn’t be surprising if there is a shift in the marketplace, a competitor coming in at half price could have brought down the company that was making the SSD1306 variant. It could entirely be that the company printing the led matrix on the glass and pairing the controller actually just swapped entirely, and the ssd1306 over time have just been old stock on the market, or perhaps phasing out a production line.

I’ll have to ask seeed what they know about the future of the product, and in a rather unfortunate turn of events may actually be a terminal factor for the platform if it can’t shift to the SH controller.

Well, the SSD1306 is common for the 0.96" display. A 0.96" display with a SH1106 might not even exist.

Note that for that link, the displays of all sizes, except the 1.3", use the SSH1306. Only the 1.3" ones have a SD1106.

I designed this breakout board for personal projects that breaks out every pin. It has an onboard 3.3V regulator but there’s a jumper to bypass it if you either don’t need it or don’t populate it. Has options for both a full size usb or micro ports. If there’s interest I can upload the gerbers for anyone to freely use.


Looks nice, though having an on-board oscillator circuit would be helpful.

However, my purpose for this topic was to suggest modules that would be useful for people who don’t have soldering skills, who would like to make a DIY fully compatible Arduboy on a solderless breadboard (or on a perfboard, etc. for those with wire and through hole but not SMD soldering skills).

Therefore, these modules would have to be built and made available for sale to such people.

The crystal is on the bottom (though I could probably squeeze it on top to make it cheaper to get manufactured). Also that’s the squeeze, someone would have to take the risk on getting a batch of these made to sell. I’m no longer in the kit business so I only offered to at least give half the work for free (the design files), if someone else wants to they can get these manufactured in china and sell them.