Boarduino, Wii Nunchucks, and Servos

The Boarduino is an Arduino work-alike kit from that’s smaller, cheaper, and you can build it yourself.


The Boarduino’s small footprint made me want to see how small of a device I could whip up in an hour from some fairly complex components. So I decided to see how small the combination of a Boarduino, a Wii Nunchuck, and a hobby servo motor could be. Here’s a little video of the result.


The Wii Nunchuck is an amazing piece of technology. For $20 you get a 3-axis accelerometer, a 2-D analog joystick, two buttons, and it’s all accessed via the standard I2C protocol. A hobby servo is another piece great tech; only one wire is needed (besides power & ground) to specify the angle the motor should turn to. And both of these devices can plug straight into a Boarduino or Arduino board.

The schematic, such as it is, for the device in the video is:
boarduino with nunchuck and servo


The code that the {Bo}arduino is programmed with is:
It borrows heavily from the great work done by Chad Philips at Windmeadow Labs.

About Boarduino

The Boarduino is small programmable microcontroller and is an Arduino work-alike. It uses the same programming software as Arduino and can substitute for an Arduino in any Arduino projects.

A Boarduino might be better for you if want a smaller and cheaper Arduino and don’t like running wires between your Arduino and a solderless breadboard. The Boarduino is made to be plugged into a solderless breadboard.

All its pins are at standard 0.1″ spacing.

This ends up being cheaper than the standard Arduino prototyping solution of a “shield” board that plugs onto the top of an Arduino board, especially if you do lots of projects. The Boarduino does cover up a substantial part of a breadboard. If this bothers you, there is the Bare Bones Arduino clone from Modern Device.

One of the ways Boarduino is so tiny is that it omits the USB-to-serial interface chip that is part of every Arduino board. Having that always present is really convenient, but it takes up space. The company that makes that chip, makes a cable that with the chip embedded into it.

Adafruit sells this cable, cheaper than anywhere else if you buy it with a kit. If you have multiple Boarduinos, you only need one FTDI cable for them all. And the cables are useful for other little non-Arduino projects that require a USB-to-serial connection.

The Boarduino comes as an easy-to-solder kit, with excellent step-by-step instructions. In fact, the instructions are so good, with schematics and board layout files, you could build your own Boarduino without buying a kit from Adafruit, but they’ve done all the hard work so you just have to solder it together.

This is what the Boarduino kit looks like out of the bag:

If this is off-putting to you, don’t worry. These are really standard parts that are hard to mess up. Adafruit’s documentation not only walks you through what the parts are and how to turn the kit into a working board, but also what tools you’ll need (with links) to get the job done. If you’ve soldered anything before, this will take you about an hour. If you’ve never soldered before, set aside a few hours. At the end you’ll have both an extra useful skill and a new working gizmo.

Finally, if you begin to grow out of the Arduino coding environment, the Boarduino is also a nice little inexpensive AVR ATmega{8,168) development platform. It contains the standard 6-pin ISP header that works with any AVR programmer.

If you like Arduino or AVR stuff, pick up a Boarduino and play with it. Then you too can make Frankensteinian devices like this:

57 Replies to “Boarduino, Wii Nunchucks, and Servos”

  1. hi
    can i use thees codes for Nunchuck clones ?
    i try some times but it did not works :(
    can you help me plz…….
    i’m using :-
    arduino UNO (atmega328)
    ardino 22
    NC clone

    my english not good sorry for that :)

  2. HI, thanks for all the helpful info… I have an arduino 328 and im using arduino 0018 to program it… im having some problems.. i havent been getting any response from the servo.. i do get the finished setup message in the serial monitor, but nothing else.. can you help me?

  3. I like this, I find the Wii chuck easier to use the the normal dual joy controllers often used for bots, and other RC projects.

  4. I am getting gibberish when I run the sketch off the nunchuck adapter page. Any idea where I am messing up? Sample output “Á??å?¾¤?Äø¤Å?ô¤Å” The sketch is running and the output changes in response to movement of the nunchuck. Other sketches have fine output.

  5. Hi gameguyz,
    The problem was that the sketch used the old version of initializing the serial port (“beginSerial(19200)”) instead of the modern way of doing it (“Serial.begin(19200)”) I’ve edited the sketch above to have that change.

    Also, my most recent code about Wii Nunchuck stuff is on the Wiichuck adapter page.

  6. I am getting this error

    Using arduino 015

    C:\Users\Michael\Documents\Arduino\Chuck\applet\core.a(wiring_serial.c.o): In function `__vector_18′:

    C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\arduino-0015\hardware\cores\arduino/wiring_serial.c:112: multiple definition of `__vector_18′

    C:\Users\Michael\Documents\Arduino\Chuck\applet\core.a(HardwareSerial.cpp.o):C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\arduino-0015\hardware\cores\arduino/HardwareSerial.cpp:95: first defined here

    Couldn’t determine program size: C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\arduino-0015\hardware/tools/avr/bin/avr-size: ‘C:\Users\Michael\Documents\Arduino\Chuck\applet\Chuck.hex’: No such file

    avrdude: can’t open input file C:\Users\Michael\Documents\Arduino\Chuck\applet\Chuck.hex: No such file or directory
    avrdude: write to file ‘C:\Users\Michael\Documents\Arduino\Chuck\applet\Chuck.hex’ failed

  7. Hi Aaron,
    The Arduino Mini uses the same microcontroller processor as the regular Arduino. It just uses the smaller surface mount package form of it.

  8. I’m using the Arduino Mini 04 and wondering what changes must I make in order to utilize this great information? How does the mini perform in speed, compared to the larger chipset.
    Thanks for any help.

  9. My brand new Made in Italy Arduino just got here, I connected the nunchuck and it works perfectly. I guess it was my old board. Thanks again for the help.

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