Let's Make Robots!

Introducing BoardX: The Open Source Miniature Robotics Motherboard

Hi Everybody!

Long time robot enthusiast here, but just joined up after searching for some robotics tutorials. I'm searching for ideas to create a beginners robotics kit for my open source project, BoardX.

I'm going to post some information here, and if anybody is interested in purchasing one, send me an email and I'll give you instructions on how to get a discount!

Here's my site: http://www.upgradeindustries.com





Here's a high resolution image: BoardX: The open source miniature motherboard



What is BoardX? 

BoardX is a collection of electronic circuit boards that stack on top of one another to share resources, communicate, and extend the functionality of one another. This system is built on the BoardX Motherboard that acts as both an electrical and structural foundation.


What is the difference between BoardX and other boards like Arduino?


Unlike similar products (but much like a familiar PC system), the motherboarddoes not come with a processor pre-installed. Processors come as simple, low cost add-on boards, which allow any processor (or multiple processors) to be used with the system. If you buy the AVR-X Add-on, you can have a powerful Arduino system that is fully compatible with the Arduino SDK out of the box, no modification required. In addition to that, if you pick up the XBee-X Radio Add-on and follow the instructions, you can use the Arduino environment to program BoardX wirelessly!

Why choose BoardX? 

There are lots of reasons to choose BoardX over other brands, here are just a few that really make a difference:

  • Processor independent hardware – the hardware is compatible with any processor, and even multiple processors
  • Choice of full size add-ons, or cheaper, miniature add-ons
  • Multiple, independent add-on sockets to reduce vertical growth to 1/3 that of Arduino or other single port development boards
  • A breadboard is included on the motherboard for quick prototyping. After you find a design that works, you can make it into a permanent add-on module with the PROTO-X Add-on
  • Reverse power polarity and short circuit detection to protect projects against accidental misconnects
  • High current allowance permits direct powering of motors, servos and other power hungry applications
  • An upgradable power supply feature allows the use of any conceivable power source and regulation method. It also plugs in, just like a normal add-on.
  • A unique shape and color lets your projects stand out from the green and blue crowd.

This modular approach to electronics makes it easy to create a robust and flexible design that allows you to choose which parts of the system to dream up and which parts can be off the shelf.


How do I get started with BoardX? 

The easiest way to get started is to first get a BoardX Motherboard + AVR-X Add-on, and then visit How to get started with BoardX to learn how to get up and running with your first project.

How is BoardX similar to Arduino? 

BoardX includes all the features that designers and students have come to expect from open source systems:

  • Stackable design
  • Arduino SDK Compatible
  • Unique shape and color
  • Free documentation and software
  • Easy connectivity
  • Open architecture


Can I use BoardX with existing Arduino Shields? 

The simple answer is no, because they won't work out of the box. However, there's nothing stopping you from wiring them to BoardX by hand or even designing your own adapter boards by making use of the built in breadboard or PROTO-X Add-on.

Why is there a breadboard? 

Try connecting a button, or an LED, or a servo to an Arduino and you'll understand instantly. A breadboard is a prototyping must-have. You know you're going to need one at some point, whether it's to add vital glue components like resistors or capacitors that tie a system together, or maybe it's to help connect that third party sensor board you bought a while ago and want to re-use.

We use breadboards so often that we couldn't conceive of a true prototyping board without one. That's why we included one that's large enough to be useful, but small enough to stay out of your way.

How do I connect Add-ons?

Add-ons can be attached to the USB, SPI, UART, and I2C buses to provide any feature imaginable. These can be sensors, communication interfaces, or even physical control devices like motors or servos.

Don't forget that you can always wire things by hand using BoardX's 2.54mm rectangular sockets, which are the standard for breadboards and development kits.



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After some more perusing, I see that only the AVR addon board is offered. Are you planning on offering more processor addons? Or, is that something you are leaving up to other entities to tackle?

Thanks for the question. At the moment, I'm working on an ARM Cortex-M3 processor add-on. You can check out all the details here: https://www.facebook.com/upgradeindustries

Here are the details from the posting:

Some specs from http://www.nxp.com/ products/microcontrollers/ cortex_m3/lpc1300/LPC1343FBD48.html:

-10-bit ADC with input multiplexing among 8 pins
-ARM Cortex-M3 built-in Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC)
-ARM Cortex-M3 processor, running at frequencies of up to 72 MHz
-Code Read Protection (CRP) with different security levels
-GPIO pins can be used as edge and level sensitive interrupt sources
-High-current output driver (20 mA) on one pin
-High-current sink drivers (20 mA) on two I²C-bus pins in Fast-mode Plus
-In-Application Programming (IAP)
-In-System Programming (ISP)
-Integrated oscillator with an operating range of 1 MHz to 25 MHz
-Power-On Reset (POR)
-Programmable watchdog oscillator with a frequency range of 7.8 kHz to 1.8 MHz
-Serial Wire Debug and Serial Wire Trace port
-Single power supply (2.0 V to 3.6 V)
-Three reduced power modes: Sleep, Deep-sleep, and Deep power-down
-Unique device serial number for identification
-USB 2.0 full-speed device controller (LPC1343 only, not LPC1313)


LPC1343FBD48 :: NXP Semiconductors


‎32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller; 32 kB FLASH and 8 kB SRAM; USB device
I hope that helps!