Home Arduino Projects 25 Useful Shields for Arduino to Improve Your Projects

25 Useful Shields for Arduino to Improve Your Projects

by Tutorial45

Before diving into the naming of the most useful shield for Arduino as the topic highlights, it is only right to provide a little background into shields for individuals who intend to work with one for the first time. Shields are pieces of hardware that give Arduino a specific purpose.

That is the short definition.

What Are Arduino Shields?

For a more comprehensive definition, a shield can be defined as a piece of hardware which is mounted on an Arduino with the sole purpose of providing the Arduino with extra capabilities. One example is the mounting of an Ethernet shield on an Arduino and this shield will enable you to connect your Arduino to the internet through an Ethernet cable.

An Arduino board can be compared to a desktop computer while a shield to an expansion slot. So, just as the expansion slot on a computer allows you to expand the computer’s capabilities and features, a shield does the same for Arduino boards.

With Arduino, things are a bit different in terms of stacking or using it. You can choose to stack multiple shields onto one another to combine features or choose to use shields in parallel. Parallel means using singular shields to expand the capabilities of your Arduino project.

Shield Compatibility: How to know if Multiple Shields are Compatible

There is a science to stacking shields to combine their different features on an Arduino board. This science involves checking out the following parameters before stacking:

  • Stacking Headers – Stacking headers ensure stacked shields are correctly coupled together to execute their functions. When stacking multiple shields, it is recommended that all the shields you intend to use are provided with stacking headers except the topmost shield. The use of stacking headers simplifies the process of stacking and ensures you can choose to stack new shields whenever you choose without much difficulty.
  • Physical Clearance – Your Arduino project should be stable and correctly fitted or stacked in such a way that one shield does not obstruct the balance of another. This is where physical clearance comes into play. To ensure a good physical clearance is kept, you can choose to use stacking headers as spacers to ensure shields are correctly placed.
  • Pin Contention – When stacking multiple shields onto an Arduino board, it is important to remember that there are limited pins for use. Thus, ensuring pin contentions or clashes do not occur is the recommended way to go. To do this, simply check the pin assignment of prospective shields to ensure they will not contend for the same pins on your board.
  • Software Interaction – Some shields need specific libraries to function accurately while others come with too many library overheads. This combination is a recipe for disaster when stacking shields as they may have to call on similar functions which will affect the performance of your configuration.
  • Power Requirements – The power requirements for specific shields must be known before choosing to stack them on your Arduino. The Arduino board itself uses a fair amount of the power it supports and this leaves a fraction of its energy collection capacity for shields. Thus, shields with high power requirements may not function when stacked with other shields.
  • Radio and/or Electrical Interference – Two or more shields that use RF communication are most likely going to interfere with the functions they offer. Thus, checking out the RF communication requirements for shields and their susceptibility to electrical interference is recommended when stacking shields.

Shields to Use for Your Arduino Projects

Now we have put the small stuff, definitions and shield compatibility, behind us now is the time to outline some very useful shields you should consider for your next project.

ProtoShield

ProtoShields are shields designed to facilitate prototyping by aiding the connection between a breadboard and an Arduino. The ProtoShield is built to be stacked onto an Arduino with the aim of extending its capabilities. These shields are versatile in terms of application and you can choose to pair it with a smaller breadboard or a larger one depending on your specific requirements. With the ProtoShield, you can easily design custom circuits and even solder electronic components directly on it.

ProtoShield

Functions:

  • This is a prototyping shield for customizing circuits and expanding the capacity of Arduino.

Features to look out for:

  • Check for stacking headers to ease its use
  • Compatibility with breadboards
  • Power stabilizing components such as a capacitor
  • General-purpose features such as LEDs and buttons

Camera Shield

These shields are used for optimizing camera control when integrating a camera with your Arduino. Camera shields general integrate the use of sensors and a hardware interface to ensure you get optimal control over your camera. You can also choose camera shield options that allow you to add multiple cameras to a single Arduino microcontroller.

Camera Shield

Functions:

  • The camera shield provides the capacity to integrate IoT cameras, robot cameras, or other battery-powered products to Arduino.
  •  The camera shield optimizes your control of the cameras powered by Arduino

Features to look out for:

  • Image sensors that support the megapixels of the camera you intend to use
  • IR sensitivity with the correct lens combination
  • Low power requirement as the camera and other shields may need to be supported.

GPS Logger Shield

The GPS logger shield enables your Arduino microprocessor to access a GPS module, memory card sockets, libraries, and the internet which are needed to create a position-tracking logger. The shield also equips Arduino with speed-monitoring, and the ability to observe changing altitudes. You can also use a GPS logger shield for geocaching projects amongst other things.

GPS Logger Shield

Functions:

  • The GPS logger shield adds a GPS module to your Arduino project and other uses.

Features to look out for:

  • Low power module which ensures the shield can be stacked alongside others
  • A micro SD slot for logging data
  • A large prototyping area

Gameduino Shield

As its name probably suggests, the Gameduino shield serves as a game adapter for Arduino. The shield expands the sound and video graphics of your Arduino and if you intend to do some gaming, you will also need some controllers. The Gameduino can be stacked with other shields that support the use of controllers.

Gameduino Shield

Functions:

  • Serves as a game adapter for Arduino
  • Ensures you can play retro games among others with your Arduino

Features to look out for:

  • Supporting plugs for VGA monitors and stereo speakers
  • The quality of its video output
  • Compatibility with standard VGA monitors or the monitor you intend to use.

Motor Shield

The Motor shield enables your Arduino to drive motors such as DC and stepper motors, alongside relays and solenoids. Motor shields come in different configurations and capacities. You can choose between shields that support the driving of a single motor or expand your needs by purchasing a shield that drives multiple motors.

Motor Shield

Functions:

  • The Motor shield allows you control the speed and direction of motors attached to your Arduino
  • Some motor shields include features for measuring the motor current a motor consumes this provides you with the information needed to stack other shields with it.

Features to look out for:

  • Compatibility with your Arduino ensures the motor functions correctly
  • Resistors that keep motors disabled during power-ups which protect the motor from surges.

LCD Shield

An LCD shield provides you with a user-friendly interface for controlling displays on your LCD. With the LCD shield, you can make decisions such as searching through menus, navigating up, down, left, or right. Thus, making it easy for Arduino users to communicate with projects. The LCD shield can also enable the control of backlights and other features of your project.

LCD Shield

Functions:

  • Enables the control of LCD user-interfaces with directional buttons
  • Includes support for manipulating LCD backlight

Features to look out for:


GSM/GPRS Shield

The GSM shield supports the connection of an Arduino board to the internet as well as to receive notifications such as SMS messages. The shield also enables you to make voice calls using your Arduino board. In its case, the GSM shield enables voice calls and SMS while the GPRS enables connection to the internet.

GSM/GPRS Shield

Functions:

  • The GSM/GPRS shield allows you access telecommunication networks using Arduino
  • The GPRS aspect of it ensures you can access packets of data from the internet.

Features to look out for:

  • Full control through AT commands simplifies its use
  • A SIM card holder conveniently placed will ease the process of slotting the card
  • Low power consumption ensures you can add additional shields to the Arduino board.

Smoke Detector Shield

This shield is one many who intend to create IoT projects using Arduino usually turn to. The smoke detector shield enables the use of smoke detector sensors with your Arduino board. The shield generally consumes less energy or power relative to other shields.

Smoke Detector Shield

Functions:

Features to look out for:

  • The smoke concentration measurement specifications should be checked to ensure it meets your requirements.
  • The shield should be capable of remaining operational in both lower and higher temperatures.

Joystick Shield Kit

If you’re looking to enable your Arduino with a joystick, then you need a joystick Shield to do this. The average joystick Shield sits on top of your Arduino board turning it into a controller. You can choose to use the joystick for gaming purposes or to control your robotics projects. This shield is a kit and to use it some knowledge of soldering is required.

Joystick Shield Kit

Functions:

  • The joystick is simply a stick for controlling objects or digital items.
  • It can be used as a gaming controller or in robotics.

Features to look out for:

  • A comfortable joystick PCB which will be easily controlled
  • A stackable header if you intend to integrate other shields with your Arduino board.

MicroSD Shield

The memory spaces attached to Arduino boards are notoriously limited in capacity and a MicroSD Shield provides you with the option of expanding it. Once added, you have equipped your Arduino board with data logging capacity and other uses.

MicroSD Shield

Functions:

  • This shield expands the memory capacity or size of your Arduino board
  • It also provides the capacity for logging large data sets through the Arduino board

Features to look out for:

  • Check for MicroSD sockets
  • A MicroSD Shield with stacking headers will definitely be useful for your Arduino projects.

Spark Fun Xbee Shield

Spark Fun is known for its shields and the creativity they bring to Arduino projects. The Xbee Shield adds wireless capabilities to your board through the Xbee radios. Once used, your Arduino board will be equipped with Xbee wireless modules.

Spark Fun Xbee Shield

Functions:

  • The Xbee shield adds wireless functions or features to your Arduino project.
  • The Xbee shield makes use of Xbee wireless modules

Features to look out for:

  • LED lights that indicate activities currently ongoing with the Xbee wireless
  • Low power consuming requirements that ensure other shields can be used with your Arduino project.

Capacity TouchPad Shield

Touchpad shields provide support for building or integrating a responsive touch interface into your Arduino projects. The inclusion of a touchpad turns your Arduino into an input device or enhances its touch functions.

Capacity TouchPad Shield

Functions:

  • The touchpad provides a responsive interface that responds to touch and can be used as an input device.

Features to look out for:

  • The amount of touch-sensitive buttons ensures you can add more input features to your Arduino board.
  • Low power consumption capabilities, as well as, a stacking header will help you use this shield with other shields.

MP3 Player Shield

An MP3 decoder that allows you to store music files that ensure you can add music as a background for your Arduino project. The shield also supports accessing your music files and the MP3 device that plays your music. When used, you get an MP3 player which actually works and can be combined with other shields.

MP3 Player Shield

Functions:

  • This shield serves as both an enabler for storing MP3 files and playing them with an Arduino board.

Features to look out for:

  • The MP3 Player shield should have an audio jack which fits your aux cables or head piece.
  • The shield should also provide support for MicroSD.

ESP8266 Wi-Fi Shield

Here is another offering from Spark Fun. The ESP8266 is an excellent shield for adding wireless capabilites to your Arduino project. This shield is quite popular in the Arduino DIY community due to its serially-controlled Wi-Fi gateway. When used, it simplifies the process of getting your Arduino to access the internet.

ESP8266 Wi-Fi Shield

Functions:

  • Provide wireless connectivity capacity to Arduino boards.

Features:

  • It supports access to the internet over TCP or UDP. Its serially-controlled gateway also eliminates the need to program the ESP8266 Wi-Fi Shield.

Ethernet Shield

The Ethernet also provides a gateway for your Arduino board to gain access to the internet. The Ethernet shield using an Ethernet cable which will most likely be the widely-used Rj45 cable. The integration process is generally plugged and play which means you can simply plug the shield onto your Arduino board and start accessing the internet.

Ethernet Shield

Functions:

  • Provides support for connecting Arduino boards to the internet through an Ethernet cable.

Features to look out for:

  • There are diverse Ethernet shields you can use but one that connects via the SPI port is easier to use.
  • Low operating voltage also ensures other shields can be integrated onto your Arduino board.

CAN-BUS shield

If you’re interested in devising an Arduino solution that can communicate with your automobile, the CAN-BUS shield is one component you need. This industrial shield equips your Arduino board with medium communication speed, high reliability, and a transceiver. The CAN-BUS shield is used with an Arduino system to develop on-board diagnostic tools.

CAN-BUS shield

Functions:

  • Allows you to read data from the electric and computer control unit in your vehicle.
  • It enables Arduino boards to communicate with control systems.

Features to look out for:

  • Also include an OBD to DB9 cable with your purchase. This will help connect your diagnostic tool to OBD systems.
  • Check for smaller CAN-BUS options if there are limited spaces on your Arduino board.

NeoPixel Shield

Configurable LED lights can be used for diverse applications including communication, as alert systems, or for fun. The NeoPixel Shield enables your Arduino to configure 30 – 40 RGB LEDs according to your requirements. It is important to note that the more pixels and RGB LEDs in a configuration the more energy is needed to power them.

NeoPixel Shield

Functions:

  • Provides you with Configurable RGB LEDs which you can use for diverse applications.

Features to look out for:

  • The energy consumption rate of the NeoPixel LEDs
  • Stacking headers to support the use of other shields on your Arduino project.

Relay Shield

When integrating high-current devices onto your Arduino board, the need to control power consumption must be addressed. The relay Shield serves this purpose and helps you control these devices outside of the Arduino’s power source.

Relay Shield

Functions:

  • The relay Shield enables you to control devices that consume a lot of power compared to what an Arduino has to offer.

Features to look out for:

  • LED indicators that highlight when the relay Shield is functioning
  • A standardized shield form to enable a seamless connection to your Arduino board.

Spark fun Spectrum Shield

The Spectrum Shield can be viewed as a utility shield that enables you to control different aspects of an Arduino project. With this shield, you can split your Arduino stereo input into 7-bands per channel. Once split, you can read the amplitude of each channel through the ADC on the Arduino board and this allows you to control anything you choose to control. You could control LED lights, motors, relays, etc., as well as, ensure your project can identify the sound.

Spark fun Spectrum

Functions:

  • Amplifies the functions and control of your Arduino board and allows you to control multiple shields at need.

Features:

  • This is a Spark Fun shield and it is populated with1/8″ stereo jacks.

Adafruit Wave Shield

Adafruit is also a popular brand within the Arduino community and its wave shield enables you to add a quality audio output to your Arduino projects. With this shield, you will be able to play up to 22 kHz, 12 bits of uncompressed audio files. The wave shield is the kit that you must assemble to use.

Adafruit Wave Shield

Functions:

  • The wave shield enables you to add quality audio to your Arduino projects.

Features:

  • It comes with the Arduino library which simplifies its use.
  • The wave kit does not come with a MicroSD or speakers. This means you will have to add other shields if you intend to play audio through speakers.

Spark Fun (PID 09947) USB Host Shield

The USB Host Shield is a useful component for your Arduino projects. This shield enables you to implement a full-speed USB Host controller with your Arduino board. This means that you can control USB devices such as digital cameras, speakers, and dongles using your Arduino interface.

Spark Fun (PID 09947) USB Host

Functions:

  • Enables you to control any USB-slave device using your Arduino board.

Features:

  • It makes use of a four-wire serial interface to communicate with the host controller chip.
  • It is powered by the VIN pin of your Arduino board.

DFRobot RGB LED Strip Driver Shield v1.0

If you are interested in a shield that allows you to program any number of RGB LEDs, then this strip driver shield is for you. The DFRobot shield contains all the components you will need to program a repetitive or random RGB LED Strip.

DFRobot RGB LED Strip Driver

Functions:

  • A shield that enables you controls RGB LED according to your needs.
  • With the shield, you can control a 10 meter RGB LED strip

 Features:

  • DFRobot designed the shield to have 3 outputs with pulse width modulation.
  • The shield consumes a lot of energy and requires an external source to power it.

Adafruit 1.8″ 18-bit Color TFT Shield for Arduino with MicroSD and Joystick

This shield enables you to include colorful displays to your Arduino project. It also provides support for joysticks and a MicroSD making it a multi-purpose shield. The quality of its display also makes this shield useful for other applications.

Adafruit 1.8" 18-bit Color TFT

Functions:

  • The shield serves as an excellent display tool you can use with your Arduino board.
  • It also supports a joystick which can be used as an input device.

Features:

  • It comes as a kit which includes the assembled shield and its display, an SD card holder, and a joystick.

Conclusion

The 23 shields highlighted here can help you expand your DIY projects in all the ways you’ve imagined. They are compatible with Arduino and in many cases, you can choose to purchase a plug and play version which simplifies their use.

Related Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy