Arduino Shields v2

Contributors: jimblom, El Duderino
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Update: This is an updated version of our original Arduino Shields tutorial to expand and update on it as many of the shields highlighted in the original tutorial are no longer carried by SparkFun. If you are looking for the original tutorial it can be found here: Arduino Shields

What is a Shield?

Shields[1] are modular circuit boards that piggyback onto your Arduino to instill it with extra functionality. Want to connect your Arduino to the Internet and post to Twitter? There's a shield for that. Want to make your Arduino an autonomous rover? There are shields for that. There are a LOT of shields out there, all of which can add all sorts of customizations to enhance your Arduino's functionality.

Instagram - Table Full of Shields

A blast from the past! Former SparkFun catalog manager RobertC. in awe of an extravagant platter of shields.

Many Arduino shields are stackable. You can connect multiple shields together to create a stack of Arduino modules. You could, for example, combine a SparkFun RedBoard with a Weather Shield and a WiFi Shield - ESP8266 to create a wireless weather station similar to this Weather Station project.

Shields are often supplied with either an example sketch, or a library. So, not only do they just simply plug into your Arduino, but all you usually need to do to make them work is upload up some example code to the Arduino.

[1] Note: In general, these are called "daughter boards." The terminology and layout depends on the environment platform and form factor. Shields for Arduino typically use the Arduino Uno R3 footprint. However, shields can have a different layout depending on the architecture. Stackable PCBs for the Raspberry Pi are referred to as HATs or pHATs while the BeagleBone refers to them as Capes. We'll focus on the Arduino shields with the R3 footprint throughout this tutorial.