Hardware: Mk II Starter Kit - the Biomaker XODuino system (2019)

For 2019, we are planning to introduce a new Biomaker Starter Kit, which is more compact and lower cost than the Mk I version (see below). The kit will contain an extended Arduino board, components, small prototyping board and programmable display. It is based on the Open-Smart Rich UNO R3 board, which contains a variety of embedded components, including sensors, 7-segment 4 digit display, real-time clock, touch sensors, buzzer, mp3 player with microSD card holder and expansion shield. Importantly, the connections to the embedded components can be turned off using a DIP switch. The board is Arduino UNO compatible, and can be programmed directly from XOD. Click here to download the board manual (4.9 MB PDF).


Further, the board is available as a kit of components that includes a wide range of sensors and displays. The kit includes: the Arduino board and: IO Shield, Voltage sensor, Ultrasonic sensor, Touch sensor, Water sensor, PIR motion sensor, Rocker switch, NTC sensor, Light sensor, Slide Potentiometer, Vibration motor, Passive buzzer, Speaker, 8 LED bar, Eagle eyes LED, I2C 1602 LCD, 4-Digit display, microSD card (256MB), CR1220 button battery (40mAh), Infrared Remote Control (with one CR2032 battery), Micro SD card adapter, Infrared emitter, 40pin female to female cable, USB cable (50cm).

The extended kit provides a wide range of sensors, actuators and displays that are programmable from XOD and can form the basis for an extended set of tutorials - as well as provide parts for applications.


We wil also provide a programmable touchscreen, such as the 4D Systems Gen4 µLCD 3.2” resistive touch screen. This intelligent display provides a microcontroller and touch screen that can be customised to display user interface elements for visualisation of data (e.g. gauges) or graphical input (e.g. switches, sliders). Graphical elements can be laid out using the free 4D Systems Workshop4 IDE, and downloaded to the display, which can then interact with an Arduino board via serial connection.

Click to download the spec sheet for the 4D Systems Gen4-µLCD-32DT touch screen (2.5 MB PDF)

Click to download an introduction to codeless programming of the intelligent display (3.6 MB PDF).


Online suppliers:

Rich UNO R3 board and interface kit:
Current price: around £30/$40 per kit with international shipping.

DX-Dealextreme - https://www.dx.com/p/open-smart-rich-uno-r3-atmega328p-development-sensor-module-kit-472696#

AliExpress - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Rich-UNO-R3-Atmega328P-Development-Board-Sensor-Module-Kit-for-Arduino-with-IO-Shield-MP3-DS1307/32822090848.html

4D Systems Gen4 µLCD 3.2” resistive touch screen:
Current Price: around £50/$70 per kit

RS online: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/lcd-colour-displays/12580202

Additional information:

Arduino Learning review:

Arduino.cc - setting up the Rich UNO R3

Hardware: Mk I Starter Kit (2017-2018)

For 2017 and 2018, we have based the Biomaker Starter Kits and Tutorial Hardware on the Gtronics Protoshield Plus, used as a base for Arduino development. The Protoshield Plus has a number of attractive features:

The Gtronics Protoshield Plus works with a wide variety of ARDUINO / GENUINO boards: UNO, LEONARDO, YÚN, NANO, MICRO and MINI.
It has a LCD 1602 display module with I2C PCF8574 I/O expander provided on-board (drive LCD with just 2 pins);
5 pushbuttons and a reset button are provided on-board;
2 solderless bread-boarding areas 740 contact points each (total 1480 points);
More than 400 soldering pads for additional prototyping parts;
IN / OUT / POWER pins duplicated near the bread-boarding area for easy connection;
2 Output LEDs and 1 potentiometer with knob provided on-board
Wired sockets for a servo connection, an external 7-9VDC power supply, and additional ICSP connector to use NANO and MICRO with standard shields, and additional holes let you to create shields with standard 2.54mm breadboards.

As well as the Gtronics Protoshield Plus, we have provided an ARDX Learning kit, Sidekick component kit, Seeed Grove Starter kit for Arduino and a 3.2” Gen4 intelligent display from 4D Systems - for each of the Biomaker 2017-2018 Starter Kits. For more details, see the Starter Kit page.

Biomaker 2017-2018 Starter Kit

Biomaker 2017-2018 Starter Kit

In order to develop the 2018 tutorial sessions for the use of the XOD graphical programming environment, and control of Arduino-driven hardware - we have explored the use of multifunction shields to simplify the training session - to minimise fiddly and error-prone wiring during the sessions. The use of these shields can introduce clashes between their devices and elements on the Protoshield Plus. Details of the ports used by the Protoshield Plus and various multifunction shields are shown below.  


Shown above: Keyestudio Multi-Function shield V2 (£7.50), HAILANGNIAO Multi-Function shield V2 (£1.40), Open-Smart  RTC shield (£8.00) and Keyestudio Multi-purpose shield V1 (£7.50). Each shield bears a range of components accessing a variety of Arduino ports (listed above. Some of these clash with ports already used on the Protoshield Plus. Happily, it is simple to rewire the ports. We suggest making the following changes to the default settings of the board. 

Modification of the Protoshield Plus

The Gtronics Protoshield Plus board provides a very flexible platform for prototyping new circuits. It includes a number of components that connect to digital and analogue ports on any Arduino board that is plugged into the Protoshield Plus. In order to use the Protoshield Plus with third party shields loaded with additional components, it can be necessary to unplug or rewire components to avoid post clashes. The table below shows the ports used on the Protoshield Plus - along with a comparison of ports used by a number of multifunction shields. 



The Protoshield Plus manual is excellent, and provides the instructions for cutting traces to allow rewiring of port connections. 

We suggest disconnecting the push button array from port A0, disconnecting the green and red LEDs from ports D11 and D12, and disconnecting the potentiometer (variable resistor) from port A1. PCB pins can be soldered to pads next to the cut traces. This allows the components to be connected to new ports using leads with female-male connectors - to avoid clashes with operation of ports on attached shields. 

The default settings for the Protoshield Plus allow the use of the LCD display with an Arduino UNO compatible board as an I2C device on port 0x20 (decimal 32). The LCD display works well with the XOD/common-hardware node "text-lcd-16x2-i2c"