RedBoard Qwiic Hookup Guide

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The SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic is the newest edition of the Arduino-compatible development platforms in the SparkFun catalog. This updated version of the classic SparkFun RedBoard incorporates a few key improvements over its predecessor (see Hardware Overview). However, like the original SparkFun RedBoard, it is designed to be an easy-to-use learning platform for coding, physical computing, and project prototyping. These skills are becoming increasingly significant in today's education and the technological community.

SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic


This tutorial aims to familiarize you with the new SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic and help you get started using it. To begin, we'll guide you through the installation of the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software, the main user interface for programming the board. Next, we will go over the hardware and features of the board. Finally, we will walk you through a few examples using the Arduino IDE.

The SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic can interact with real-world sensors, control motors, display information, and perform near-instantaneous calculations. It enables anyone to create unique, nifty projects from something as simple as displaying characters on an LCD display or detecting changes in light to vastly more complicated projects like an IoT cellular device (Not recommend for beginners... start with something simpler and work your way up.). If you're familiar with how the original SparkFun RedBoard worked, you may want to skim over parts of this tutorial.

Required Materials/Tools

To get started, all you need is a few things:

  • SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic - You'll definitely need this; otherwise, you might be on the wrong tutorial (wink-wink).
  • USB micro-B Cable - 6 Foot - The USB interface serves two purposes: it powers the board and allows you to upload programs to it.
  • Computer with the Arduino IDE installed on it - That is how we will program the board and interface with it.
    Troubleshooting Tip: If you are not a technical or computer savy individual and you have your choice of computers, a Windows 7 or 10 computer is highly recommended. You will usually run into the the least issues, if any, with these operating systems.

That is ALL... pretty simple right? Now you won't be able to do much since there are no additional sensors to interact with the physical world. However, you can at least blink an LED and do some math calculations.

Click the buttons above to toggle the additional materials based on the tasks you
wish to perform. Feel free to modify the items in your cart to fit your needs.

Jumper Modification

If you would like to modify the 3.3V/5V I/O jumper or A4/A5 Qwiic connector jumpers, you will need soldering equipment and/or a knife.

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen  - 10mL

Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen - 10mL

Hobby Knife

Hobby Knife


Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

2 Retired

Qwiic Example

If you would like to follow along with the examples below to interact with the physical world, you will also need the following items:

SparkFun Distance Sensor Breakout - 4 Meter, VL53L1X (Qwiic)

SparkFun Distance Sensor Breakout - 4 Meter, VL53L1X (Qwiic)

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Qwiic Cable - 100mm


Suggested Reading

The SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic aims to be a beginner-friendly microcontroller platform. You can get started without an innate knowledge of Ohm's Law or How Electricity Works (but a little understanding wouldn't hurt!). The following are some subjects you should be familiar with; however, to use the more advanced features of the board, it is recommended that you read up on the Logic Levels and I2C tutorials.

What is a Circuit?

Every electrical project starts with a circuit. Don't know what a circuit is? We're here to help.

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway? This tutorials dives into what an Arduino is and along with Arduino projects and widgets.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.


An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.

Qwiic Connect System

One of the new, advanced features of the board is that it takes advantage of the Qwiic connect system. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the Logic Levels and I2C tutorials (above) before using it, as all Qwiic sensors utilize an I2C communication protocol. Click on the banner above to learn more about Qwiic products.

Fun Fact: Qwiic is a play on words between "quick" and I2C or "iic".