Electric Imp Shields

One thing that I think the imp has been missing compared to other micro controllers is shields. It would be nice to have a modular shield system to be able to easily add battery/LCD/relays/whatever in a plug and play way.

I did a quick survey for known breakouts and boards that were IMP compatible, just for info below, but what I am really looking for is what if anything the community thinks we need in terms of boards. Functionality / architecture / layout etc.

my $0.02 is that I would like to see a bread-boardable(?) PCB layout that is sized to fit an existing enclosure system with options to support both IMP001 and IMP002. I would also like the layout to allow use of the digistump boards since this would be a readily available supply of boards suited to 6 GPIO and small footprint. Alternatively compatibility with Adruino would be nice as there are many boards available but there is a big mismatch in voltage/pins.

Some shields I would be interested in for the imp;

High Priority

  • Wii-Nunchuck I2C - good for general button inputs / joystick
  • Adafruit LED chariplex I2C 8x8 display
  • ID20/ID16 - RFID reader and a button to wake the imp - good for door access
  • LCD backpack I2C or Serial
  • Prototyping area - through hole and / or Surface Mount
  • Relays 6 off with indicator LEDs
  • Battery Pack 3xAAA = 4.5v + Barrel Jack if there is room

Medium Priority

  • Motor Driver H-Bridge
  • LED RGB Strip drivers - I2C?
  • Microphone and Speaker LED and buttons
  • Environmental Sensing; pressure, humidity, temperature, light, acceleration -Perhaps Hannah does this already

Lower Priority
Stepper motor driver
Camera - serial - bandwidth problem?


Some of the existing breakout boards I have found so far;

Smart Maker - IMP001 breakout. Can be broken down to be used on a porto board

Smart Maker - IMP002 breakout. 12 GPIOs, but you need to add LEDs, light sensor for blink-up and power regulation

Spark Fun - IMP001 Shield to Interface to Arduino.

Spark Fun version of the April board. Low cost and includes power regulator / usb connection

Adafruit version of the April board.

Any thoughts from fellow impers ?

I don’t understand the question. You have found most of the breakout boards already.
You can even design your own.

These are all break-outs. I was asking if there is a need for shields and what they should look like, meaning which break-out they should be compatible with. I know I can go and design shields to fit onto an April for instance, but is that the best form factor? Just gathering some voices :slight_smile:

I’ve been thinking over that same question for a while. The problem with a “shield” as we know if from the arduino world is that it makes things quite large as a trade off to easily adding some component. You also have to consider the constraints of where the antennea is located. I do think that a prototyping board, about the same size as the arduino version for the card and the module would be a good idea. I’ve started several boards, but its really easy to add an Amber or April to one of Adafruit’s nice prototyping boards.

Technically, the Sophie reference design is made to accept “shields”, and fits inside a wall plug style enclosure from Bud Industries, but no one is making the board to my knowledge, so for the time being, you have to print and solder everything yourself.

I am currently working on an enclosure that will have an number of interchangeable parts, and when I am reasonable happy with that, I will likely make some sort of LiPo charger Imp breakout to put in it.

I think this would be great for the “plug and players” I for one would like to see a RS232 board.

Perhaps an april with the fixed breadboard pins could be the host.