Multiple Shields on an Arduino? Complex Systems Q

Hello everyone,

I am a 17 year old from California. Recently I’ve become very interested in the Arduino. Considering I have very little programming and electrical skills, I think of this as a great new way for me to fuel my learning.

For my first serious project (after I warm up with blink commands…) I want to develop a mobile turret system. The wishlist of features for this includes:

  • A Fully Functional Navigational Platform

  • Wheeled or Tracked

  • Motor or Servo Driven

  • Infared/Ultrasonic sensors for Object Detection and Collision Avoidance

-An Example of this here:

  • A Turret Platform
  • This will also include a host of sensors/Motion detectors to detect movement when the navigational platform is at a standstill. When objects are detected I also intend to use a sensor/(sensors) to aid in locking onto a target (which I imagine will take a VERY long time and incredibly creative coding)

-Servo driven rotation

  • A Sound Module

  • The purpose of this will be to sound an audible warning (a pre-recorded mp3) when a moving presence is detected

  • A Bridge or some means of connecting/synergizing all the platforms together

  • Whatever else I make think of wanting to add. Maybe some more LEDs for effects, or a receiver for IR commands such as being able to toggle the various systems on or off. (Navigational system off and no movement but weapons turret on)

I realize this is pretty complex. I want to know how I should go about doing something like this. Do complex systems like shown above generally require mutiple microcontrollers? Will an Arduino support enough input and output connections to make something like that pictured above possible?

Also, I noticed there are various shields you can buy, like for example a motor shield, or the sound shield I linked to above. When designing something of this magnitude, can you connect several of these functionality shields together to all be controlled under one arduino?

I really appreciate any attempts to help, and thank you for your time reading!


Take a look at the 3pi robot platform from It’s Arduino compatible, but programming must be done with via ICSP.

Actually you may be able to do everything you are suggesting with a single Arduino. You have an ambitious plan which is fine but I suggest you start slowly and not bite off too much at once.

You could start off with any robot platform that can carry an Arduino or Arduino stamp style board. You will need to make some fundamental decisions such as motors versus servos etc. You have to decide whether you are more interested in hardware or programming and your available budget is also a factor. If you start slow then you can add as you go i.e. skip the turret until you have a basic platform that can move and avoid obstacles.

When designing something of this magnitude, can you connect several of these functionality shields together to all be controlled under one arduino?

I’m not sure if you’re asking if the arduino has enough IO to drive all those shields, or if it’s physically possible to connect them all.

If it’s an IO question, that would depend on the shields being used. if you’re wondering about physical connections, you can buy stacking headers that will let you stack as many shields as you like. (


Thank you so much for all your helpful replies guys,
and br3ttb that DEFINITELY answers one of the questions I’ve had. Looks like now it’s completely possible for me to use the multiple shields in my design so I don’t have to wire that stuff myself. Thanks, this is an excellent push in the right direction for me.