Bluz Proto Shield


The new proto shield will have several features:

  • A breakout for each IO pin from bluz
  • A 3V3 rail and a GND rail
  • A workable area that is just via’s to hook up any particular component you want
  • Stackable like all the other bluz shields

A high-level proposed layout is shown here:

So the pin breakouts and rails will sit underneath bluz. The workable area will extend out beyond bluz, much like the battery shield, so the height of any components shouldn’t make any difference.

We can also put other items on the board. What would you like to see? Buttons? LED’s? We would prefer to keep it to a minimum, but are certainly open to thoughts or ideas!


As a free stretchgoal, I’d suggest the bare PCB, without any components whatsoever.
As a paid stretchgoal, I’d like to see status indicators (micro leds) for all 12 GPIO pins.


I agree with @IngmarGuillaume. The board is too small for adding anything sizable (eg. connector or sensor) so having something a little larger with GPIO status LEDs and a little larger proto area would be good IMO.


Interesting. So maybe a new stretch goal where everyone gets a free board with no headers or anything. Then build a larger Proto shield that would be the $10 version? Thoughts on that?


Ok, so for the large proto shield, how about something like this:

So larger board and work area, double the rows from before with 8x8 vias. Then have 3V3 and GND rails on the outsides. Each pin is broken out with a status LED. For the LED’s, is that a desired feature? I can see why they’re good in some situations (quickly checking status, etc), but they can be bad in others (battery life). Thoughts?

Stackable? Or no? If the battery shield is used on top of this shield, then it may be hard ti put components in certain places.

I put a button on there, I just like buttons. Not really sure what it would be hooked to…


The purpose of a proto shield is to design/test/build a prototype. The LEDs will indeed cause battery drain, but in a design phase, they would be of great help. In a final design, there wouldn’t be any LEDs.

You could also make a cutable track to disable the individual LEDs.


Like the idea of a cutback trace, solves the problems with them being on when not desired, even when prototyping.

Alright, so would love to hear some more feedback on which Proto shield people would like, the small compact one or the larger one with more work area.


I for one do like the small shield AND the big shield. Some projects only need very little hardware anyway and are constrained in size so I’m in favour of offering both (the smaller one should be less than 10 dollar I do think). A free small protoboard stretch goal would be nice indeed, who on earth would complain about free goodies :slight_smile:


@eric, I am of two minds like @Vince. A small, cheap no-frills protoboard and a larger one which includes cut-away LEDs which costs no more than $10.


Sounds good. It seems like it may be best to add the proto shield for free as an unsoldered board as a stretch goal and use this larger proto shield as the $10 reward.

Let’s wait a few days and see if any other feedback comes in, but I am fine announcing this on the Kickstarter early next week as long as we don’t get any major objections.


@eric, I just pledged for the larger board. Thanks!


Are the unpopulated PCBs usable for something like the mini proto (assuming we add our own headers)?


The PCBs we gave away at Maker Faire? Yes! They are great prototype shields for the Core/Photon or if you can wait for your bluz board


Has the proto shield design been finalized? Is so, can you post what it’s gonna look like.


Good question. That is the easiest of the boards to make, so we haven’t quite finalized it yet. I will post that on github as soon as it is done and post a message here when it’s ready. Thanks


Ok, we posted the files for the proto shield today (sorry for the delay). You can find all design files here:

Feedback welcome!


@eric, talk about getting what you asked for! All the connections from the Bluz to the proto area run under the Bluz which is fine. However, there is room to expand the proto area by making it wider IMO. Should there be a keepout area for the ground planes where the antenna is? And maybe a 0.1uF decoupling cap on that lovely Vcc bus? :smile:


Yes, I will add the decoupling cap (was doing this quickly while on vacation, so simply forgot that). The ground plan should be clear of the antenna, but it can be moved up a little more to make sure.

We can expand the proto area, that isn’t an issue either. At some point, I just figured that would be enough, but I guess adding more doesn’t hurt!


And, here is the Proto shield in action!


@eric these boards are bloody brilliant!! I need some beacons and with the ide integration, yep, your little babies were the cat’s meow - but it got even better when I saw these boards!! I love the particle concept and to have these boards and particle programmable bluetooth modules too - damn, life is good!