The Sprout Board
Recently we designed and produced a very interesting product called the “Sprout Board”. This kit based circuit board project is designed to help the arduino platform take a step towards more practical final product based projects. This circuit board acts as more of a motherboard than a shield and allows you to connect one shield in addition to the arduino onboard. The design breaks out the existing IO on the arduino and makes it accessible through terminals. Some of the more common devices are also found on board like a serial header to connect an LCD as well as a speaker and CDS.
While I could talk all day about this project and our goals with it, I felt that it would be a good idea to just briefly discuss the design process we went through with some examples so we could share our experience. If you would a more in-depth look at the sprout board you can check out our site for the product at SproutBoard.com.
Step one of course is to bread board your project and make sure it works. But once you have a working circuit then what do you do? We began by picking up some perf board and experimenting with component position. After 3 or 4 mockups we found one that we liked for several reasons. This design is very flexible and can be put in several chassis designs. In addition to flexibility it also utilizes components that are easy to access for the user. Finally as we were intending to offer this as a kit we made a conscious decision to use only hole through components and no surface mount items to keep this as accessible to our customer base as possible.