Freetronics: Arduino-Compatible Electronics Kits & Parts

Here at Freetronics we design, sell and support our range of flexible, easy to use boards and modules, making it easy for you to build your own electronic projects.

What Is Arduino? Arduino is a very popular and easy to use programmable board for creating your own projects. Consisting of a simple hardware platform and a free source code editor with an easy “one-click compile/upload” feature, it’s designed to be really easy to use without being an expert programmer. Arduino is also the most popular microcontroller board for advanced users and all kinds of more ambitious projects.... Read more

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Arduino Kits Online

Looking for an Arduino kit online then you have come to the right place. We design, sell and supply electronic components which are arduino components.
For Arduino kits in Melbourne then always go for Freetronics.

Arduino parts online

If you need Arduino parts online our store has a wide range of kits and parts. Arduino melbourne, arduino uno, arduino duemilanove usb

Arduino duemilanove

We have lots of Arduino electronic components like ethernet shield, arduino mega usb and buy usbdroid

Microcontroller Boards

We sell a huge range of microcontroller boards which will be compatible with adruino electronic components

News

August 19, 2022

EtherTen and EtherMega: victims of the global chip shortage

I need your help to bring back the EtherTen and EtherMega, updated to suit the very limited range of silicon that's now available.

These days wireless networking is the popular way to build network-enabled devices, but there's still a strong need for Ethernet in many situations.

Wired Ethernet:

  • Avoids interference issues
  • Allows power to be supplied to the device down the same cable
  • Keeps your IoT devices isolated from other network users

The EtherTen and EtherMega are the most popular boards that Freetronics has ever made, but for the last 2 years the global shortage of AVR microcontrollers has prevented me doing more production runs. Sadly they've been out of stock for a long time and there's nothing I can do about it.

There are a few options for creating equivalent boards. For example, a board in the EtherTen format but using another MCU such as the ATmega4809 that is used on the Arduino Every.

Unfortunately, the 4809 has now also moved into the "unobtainium" category!

However, not all MCUs have been impacted. Strangely enough, it's older MCU designs based on more primitive fabrication technology that have seen the worst of it. That's because new chip fabs are built for newer (and smaller) manufacturing processes, and the old chip designs can't simply be moved to these new fabs. The world is losing its ability to manufacture older chip designs, and the economic incentive to replace that capacity just isn't there.

So the strange result is that older, simpler MCUs such as 8-bit AVRs are now almost impossible to find, but newer, more sophisticated MCUs such as the Espressif ESP32 are readily available at low prices with seemingly unlimited stock.

Very frustrating for anyone relying on existing board designs!

But this does open up an interesting idea

Although the ESP32 is known for its onboard WiFi, it's also capable of having a wired Ethernet interface. I've designed several ESP32+Ethernet boards, including the SuperHouse Rack32 which is specifically intended to be used in rack-mount projects:

It has an ESP32 with WiFi, but also has onboard Ethernet with PoE support. In many ways it's similar to an EtherTen or EtherMega, but in a different physical form factor so it's not a direct replacement for either of them.

This is where you come in!

I'm weighing the options for making a version of either the EtherTen or EtherMega with an ESP32 onboard that maintains shield compatibility, but there's no way for it to be a 100% direct drop-in replacement:

  • The Arduino IDE board profile is different, and existing code would have to be modified
  • I/O would be at 3.3V, instead of 5V
  • I/O pin allocations wouldn't be a direct match

In the case of an EtherMega equivalent, the ESP32 doesn't even have enough I/O pins so there would need to be an I/O expander onboard to add those pins. This in turn adds to the software burden of converting existing projects.

What I'd like from you is your feedback on what's important to you. For example:

  • Does 5V I/O matter, or is 3.3V ok?
  • Do you prefer the Uno (EtherTen) or Mega (EtherMega) form factor?
  • Does Ethernet even matter to you anymore, or is that irrelevant these days?

Please have your say! You can comment on this post on the Freetronics site, or email me personally.

Thanks for your input!

-- Jon

June 19, 2021

Shipping has resumed after storms

After being without power and Internet, things have now returned to normal at Freetronics HQ so I've been able to ship orders again this week.

Please note that I still can't ship international orders as "letter" class. That option is displayed at checkout for small items because the shipping calculator still thinks it's valid, but Australia Post won't accept them.

I have customers placing orders using "International Letter" as the shipping method all the time, and I always have to cancel the order and provide a refund. Please don't select that method! If I could disable the option in the shopping cart, I would.

International orders are fine at "Standard" class or above though.

Thanks for your patience!

June 11, 2021

Big storm and blackout: no orders shipping

Here in Melbourne we had a huge storm on Wednesday night, and a large part of Melbourne has been without power, Internet, or phones since then.

Right now I can only get a connection on my phone if I walk to the top of a nearby hill, so I can't process or ship any orders. Sorry!

We've been told we may get power back on Sunday. Once power is back I'll ship all orders.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

April 29, 2021

Some products put on hiatus due to global parts shortage

One of the odd side effects of COVID-19 has been a dramatic decrease in manufacturing capacity of electronic parts through 2020 and 2021. Supply chains managed to keep things going for a while, but the world has now reached a critical point where stock of common parts has become critical.

This has started to impact all industries that rely on electronics: everything from household goods to cars are seeing production slowdowns.

Some parts including ATmega MCUs and Wiznet Ethernet controllers have either become very hard to buy, or have increased dramatically in price.

Sadly this means we've had to place some products on production hiatus. When the current stock is gone, we can't make any more.

Those products have been put in a special "Last Time Buy" category, so if any of those products are important to you this may be your last chance to buy them for a while. If any more products are affected they will also be added to that category.

We're working with our suppliers to source more stock of parts, and we'll do our best to assemble more of these products as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience!

August 22, 2020

Sick of jigsaw puzzles? Try an Experimenters Kit instead!

Stuck at home in isolation, and sick of doing the same jigsaw puzzle that you did last week?

The Experimenters Kit for Arduino is like a 3D electronic jigsaw puzzle, but it doesn't just make a cardboard picture.

It comes complete with a detailed booklet showing a variety of simple projects that make it easy for a beginner to get started with electronics and programming. So if you or your kids are bored at home in our crazy COVID world, grab an Experimenters Kit and build something awesome.

August 22, 2020

Sneak preview of the latest EtherUNO prototype

The EtherTen has been one of the most popular boards that Freetronics has ever made, but its design originated in 2010 and it hasn't had a major update since 2013.

The time has finally come to reveal the next major iteration: the EtherUNO!

Over the last couple of months I've experimented with several prototypes, exploring different options for the Ethernet chip and other features. After some very productive discussion on the SuperHouse Discord server and on previous livestreams, the specs for the 2020 EtherUNO have now been finalised.

To see the latest prototype and learn about the future of the EtherTen, join me on my regularly weekly livestream on Sunday morning.

 -- Jon Oxer

May 12, 2020

International shipping is back! (Mostly)

Limited international shipping is back!

Some countries and services are not available, and the situation is changing by the day. As of today, there is a list of about 119 countries that I can't ship to at all. For the rest, "Economy" class packages aren't being processed, and for some classes of package there are delays of 2 to 5 weeks added to the normal shipping time.

If you add items to your cart and begin the checkout process, the online store will use your delivery address to determine if it's possible to ship to you, and only offer you shipping methods that are currently available for your country.

So feel free to go ahead and place an order. I'm watching the situation very carefully and checking every order, so if there are any problems I'll follow up with you.

For the latest status from Australia Post, you can check on their COVID-19 updates page:

auspost.com.au/about-us/news-media/important-updates/coronavirus/coronavirus-international-updates

Thanks for your patience!

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