Part review – ScrewShield for Arduino

Hello interested readers

Today we are going to examine a part that makes connecting external wires to an Arduino easier than trying to electrocute yourself – the Wingshield Industries ScrewShield. Is is such a simple and useful thing I am almost angry at myself for not getting one earlier. Better late than never!

The ScrewShield allows you to connect wires to all of your Arduino I/O pins via PCB-mounted terminal blocks. And it is also designed as a shield, so you can stack more shields on top like any other. Now to save costs it comes unassembled, but that isn’t a problem. Here is the contents of the bag upon arrival:

partssmall2

The quality of the PCBs are very good:

pcbssmall

And no instructions were necessary – so time to fire up the soldering iron and fume extractor:

extractor

The first thing to do was jig up the socket pins with the PCBs using my favourite method, a lump of blutac:

jig1small

Then it was a simple matter to turn it over and solder away; then repeat the process for the other wing. Time for a quick break to see how they look:

halfwaysmall

Once the sockets have been soldered in, the next step was to connect the terminal blocks together for each appropriate line:

jig1asmall

And then time for another soldering session:

jig2small

And we’re done. Looks kind of like a Lego spaceship from my childhood:

finishedsmall2

You can never have too many Arduino shields:

stacksmall

Another use for the ScrewShield is to make it easy to connect multi-core wires to a breadboard. Using PCB terminal blocks is usually difficult as the pins are a fraction too large for the holes in the average breadboard. However you can only use the analogue shield to do this, as a reader has pointed out, the pin spacing for the digital side is a little off:

bbsmall

Nice one. It’s always great to have a product with more than one use. So there you have it. Another inexpensive, interesting and very useful part for the Arduino fans out there. If you use an Arduino – you really should get one of these.  And if you made it this far – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

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John Boxall

Founder, owner and managing editor of tronixstuff.com.

7 Responses to “Part review – ScrewShield for Arduino”

  1. Justblair says:

    Nice mini review…

    I feel like such a Dilbert! I have two of these shields and never thought for a second of using one of the sides as an adaptor for a breadboard… It is such an obvious thing to do!

    Got your site on RSS, fantastic resource.

    Justblair

    • John Boxall says:

      Hello
      Absolutely, it occurred to me at the last moment when a breadboard was staring at me in the face. :)
      Thanks for reading and catching up – your site is also a wealth of information. Nice one
      Cheers
      John

  2. John Park says:

    Well I feel doubly dumb; I’m one of the designers of the ScrewShield and I never thought of the breadboard trick either. Nice one!

  3. JonathanD says:

    First of all, nice blog, keep up the good work !

    Regarding the use of blutac to hold components while soldering, I’ve found that the blutac I use (branded “UHU patafix” here in France) will melt due to the heat. When I remove the blutac, there is always some of it that stays on the board/component. I have to wait for it to cool down so that I can get back most of the remaining blutac. Do you experience the same thing ?

    As for “using one of the sides as an adaptor for a breadboard”, the non standard pin spacing is what put me off buying a genuine Arduino (I love boarduinos though ;-P)

    • John Boxall says:

      Hello, thank you for reading!
      Yes, the blutac is a bit of a kludge – simple and works. The first couple of times I tried it… yeah some melted a little. This might sound crazy and very unscientific: I use the same blob repeatedly, it must be a few months old now – it gets a little harder as it dries out. Now it doesn’t melt or get affected by the heat at all.
      Boarduinos rock. I’m starting to just breadboard the ATmega328 as well, e.g.: http://tronixstuff.com/2010/06/14/getting-started-with-arduino-chapter-ten/
      Cheers
      John

  4. Art Atkinson says:

    Only one of the pair of screwshields can be used with a breadboard. The spacing on the connectors on the other one is a little is a little wide. The two gnd pin are connected together on the screwshield so be careful how you use it.

    regards
    Art

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