Introduction: Arduino Micro Power Expansion Shield
Recently I built a temperature logging device using an Arduino. It used a Real time clock, SD card writer and a temperature sensor. I did not need a bread board for testing as all the sensors were on breakout boards. All the devices needed 5V and ground to operate and I wanted to power them from the Arduino, but the Arduino only has one 5V outlet and three grounds. I had to get out a bread board just to have a way to attach all the power and grounds.
Wishing for a way to have more outputs available I came up with this Micro shield.
This is very simple to build and I think useful for doing some quick prototyping. You of course could use an empty shield or a bread board, but what fun is that?
Step 1: Parts
Parts can vary depending on what you have around.
You will need some headers Male, Female or both and a small piece of strip board.
Strip board is a prototype board with copper stripes down one side you could use the type with just dots around each hole if that is what you have just make sure they are all connected where needed.
The headers are just normal male pin headers, I used female headers too, but you can use all male or all female whatever you think is best. I like the male ones they don’t go bad if used too much.
IF you have some in colors they would be a good addition to the project, but all black is fine. I did not have any red so I used a red marker on some white ones I had.
You can buy black ones on Adafruit - 10 strips for about 5$US or on EBay if you want color and can wait.
Adafruit did not have the small short round female type header only the tall flat type. (Like on the Arduino) These are hard to cut to size but should work.
You can adjust the size of the board and make more pins or less but six holes seems plenty to me.
You also need a right angle header this allows you to solder the header to the board and have it stand vertical (unlike many shields). If you used straight headers to attach it to the Arduino it would have the pins facing down and be very hard to use.
Step 2: Making the Board
Making the board
I used a fine toothed hobby saw to cut the board down the next row of holes leaving a little extra on the cut sides of the board. This kind of board will chip or break so be sure to use a fine toothed saw and support it well while cutting.
After you have cut out the board you can sand down the edges rounding them and removing any extra copper left behind.
After you have the board cut and sanded to size you can cut the headers to the size needed. I used six holes the seventh was for the right angle header that plugs into the Arduino. So I cut three male pins and three female pins for 5V and 3.3 V and six male pins for the first ground and six female pins for the second ground.
Now the fun part… soldering the board.
Clean the board with some steel wool or a small wire brush and then clean the pins that will be soldered. Headers are hard to get solder to stick to so turn up your soldering iron temp a bit more than normal. If you have paste flux this would help too.
Start with the headers first do the right angle one last so you have someplace to hold the board.
I used a gadget with alligator clips to hold the board while soldering, but the headers will be really loose so you can’t just turn it upside down and solder. I found it was best to turn the board sidewise and solder the first pin then adjust the header so it is straight and tight turn the board flat and solder the rest of the pins. Check each pin under a magnifying glass it is easy to have a bad solder joint.
This is a very small tight board so you might have to file or sand the plastic ends of the headers so they fit especially where the right angle header goes.
If you are using color headers double triple check that they in the right spot it is very easy to get it wrong if they are all black it does not matter.
Hope you enjoy this project.