Written By Timothy Holmberg Last Edited 7/13/15


We'll use a great project from Casey at Sparkfun for our example today. In this project Casey makes a cool GPS based Speedometer for his car. You can check the build video out here. You can find the parts list here. The github repo is located here. And a simple hook up circuit is available. With this information we can begin to build the project.

Casey and Pamela hanging out on Sparkfun Live

So you watched the video and bought all the parts. You have spent the time at your bench soldering it all together. And now it's time to code this little bad boy. But wait! There are two major steps we will outline. Adding boards to the Board Manager. And adding libraries using the Library Manager. In this post we will cover adding boards.

Getting Started

For this example we will need to load the Seven Segment board into the board manager. These steps will apply for other custom devices that you need to add as well. So let's get started.

*We want to locate the JSON file. In this case it is located in the Readme for this repository. *Our JSON url for this example is - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sparkfun/Arduino_Boards/master/IDE_Board_Manager/package_sparkfun_index.json

-> Notice the JSON file URL on the GITHub repository 

  • Copy that JSON URL
  • Open your Arduino IDE (V1.6.4 or newer.)
  • In Arduino, Click File and then Preferences
  • Add the JSON URL to the Additional Boards Manager text box. These are separated by a comma if you are using more than one added board link.

Once in preferences, we want to paste the JSON into the Additional Boards text field as highlighted

  • Click Ok to close and save the preferences
  • Then click Tools > Board > Board Manager

-> Find Boards Manager under Tools > Boards > Board Manager 

  • You should see the Manager update on the first time opening after changing the preferences.
  • Once updated you should find Sparkfun AVR boards listed in the Board Manager window.
  • Find the install button next to this Board class and install.

We can now find the Sparkfun Boards in the Board Manager

  • Reboot Arduino and look under Tools > Boards and you should see the addition of the Sparkfun boards in your board list.

After restarting the IDE, we can now see the Sparkfun Boards in the Boards list

Congratulations! You now know how to add custom boards to your Arduino IDE board definitions.