The release of the Arduino Uno Click Shield enabled the access of the Arduino community to a wide range or development boards. Now things have gone even further, with the release of the Arduino Mega Click Shield, which brings three Click shields, allowing for more Click boards combinations than ever before.
Switching to the Mega format not only creates space for the addition of the third Click socket, but brings some additional welcome changes. As the Arduino Mega has four serial ports, each of the Click socket is now connected to a different serial port of the Mega – now we can combine several Click boards that use serial communication without conflicts. Just think of using GPS and GSM clicks together.
There is a small downside too: Unlike in the Arduino Uno Click Shield, now the pin labeling corresponds to microcontroller pins (PF0, PL0, PB0, etc.), not to the Arduino pin numbering (A0, 30, 34, etc.). One must stay with the manual in front to make the appropriate pin translations.
This is also a nuisance when using other boards in Arduino Mega format, such as the Atmel SAM3X8E-based Arduino Due or the PIC32MX795F512-based chipKIT MAX32 – this latter board being also programmed in an Arduino-like IDE named MPIDE.
In the above picture on the top-left there’s a Sainsmart Arduino Mega clone. On the bottom row we can see one Arduino Due and one chipKIT Max 32 board. These two boards are particularly interesting, as they are 3.3V logic level boards – all the 3.3V only click boards can now be used within the Arduino environment.
As you can see, although it was designed with the Atmel ATmega2560-based Arduino Mega in mind, this click shield can do much more than that. It’s a good addition to my collection of development tools, and a good incentive to explore new board combinations too.