My first Arduino was the Nano (although a couple of months ago I did buy an Arduino Uno). It’s compact size & layout makes it great for those projects that need a breadboard–I just feel like I always have to make sure that the Uno isn’t going to pull itself free from the wires when I use it! The big disadvantage (until now!) is that there weren’t any shields available for use with the Nano.
I’ve been looking quite a bit online to acquire parts for my soon-to-be-rocket GPS locator system & happened upon the Gravitech website, the folks who make the Nano, as I was searching for a XBee shield or board to easily interface with my Arduino.
Not only do they have a XBee shield, they also have ethernet, audio, USB host, & motor shields! I was blown away with these designs & how compact they are. Just like the Nano…
The shields, unlike the ones for the Arduino Uno/Deci series, go underneath the Nano. There are header pins so that you can still plug the shields into a breadboard. Another advantage to the Nano shields is that they have a power block to give you an alternate method to power your project instead of using the Nano’s USB port.
I couldn’t order the XBee shield fast enough. However, I looked around the Gravitech site for anything else that might strike my fancy. As recently announced over on the Adafruit website, . While I already have a 16×2 character LCD, I added a 20×4 character LCD for a mere $14 before checking out.
I should also mention that I opted for the cheapest shipping option, parcel post. Well, I received an email the next day that my order had been shipped & a box was waiting for me in the mail only 3 days later. Not bad considering it traveled from Nevada to Florida in that time. There were a trio of colored LEDs & a cool sticker in the box too. Awesome!
I spent a little while soldering the (included) header pins into the LCD before testing it out with my previously configured LCD breadboard setup. The LCD from Gravitech did not include a 10k ohm potentiometer for adjusting the contrast, but of course I already had a couple from my other LCD. It works great & the colors of this one (black text on green) will be great for use in my rocket locator project because I can easily read the screen without the backlight.
Now I really am itching to get the remaining parts. I know what I want, but there’s a particular XBee that is more powerful & much harder to find in stock anywhere. Once I get them though, I’ll post more about the rest of my project.