Who manufactures the Arduino?

I’m looking at my Arduino Uno. It’s not an Italian Arduino Uno. It’s from some outfit called Hobby Components. It carries their logo. But, I suspect that it isn’t theirs. Do a Google Images search for Arduino Uno. They all look the same despite multiple brands printed on. It’s totally unfeasible that they were made by different companies. The Arduino is an open hardware project and the general circuit diagram is in the public domain. Any person /company can make an Arduino compatible board. Only the headers have to be in the reference positions. It really doesn’t matter where the resistors and vias are. Therefore they could be anywhere people chose to route them to. The EAGLE file is also public domain. Look closely. Every component, trace and via is in exactly the same position. And that little kink in the pcb along the ICSP edge? There doesn’t have to be one as it serves no particular purpose. And why are they all blue? And why are all the reset buttons orangey?

The inevitable conclusion one must reach is that they are all made by the same company, and then branded for individual customers.

So who manufactures the Arduino knock offs…?


P.S. 150mm digital vernier calipers are also like this. They are all the same when there’s no practical manufacturing reason for that. Look for them…

cossoft: So who manufactures the Arduino knock offs..?


P.S. 150mm digital vernier calipers are also like this. They are all the same when there’s no practical manufacturing reason for that. Look for them...

A. Anyone who wants to or has the ability to manufacture. Also anyone who makes a REAL one who is prepared to pay some form of royalty/fee to use the proper name / logo.

As for digital verniers and being a millwright I can tell you there are lots of differences in terms of battery life, accuracy, durability, materials used, display quality and probably a few more things as well.

Ballscrewbob: A. Anyone who wants to or has the ability to manufacture. Also anyone who makes a REAL one who is prepared to pay some form of royalty/fee to use the proper name / logo.

No, I meant what is the name of the company that makes them assuming there is only one based on the evidence in my post.

AFAIK nowadays its Sparkfun and Adafruit for the OFFICIAL ones. (although my MKR was shipped from Hungary somewhere)

As for clones / knock offs etc. see prev answer.

Although there are plenty of schems etc. online to build your own super cheap if that's what you want to do.

Ballscrewbob: AFAIK nowadays its Sparkfun

Are you 1000% sure that Sparkfun actually manufacture the Arduino? You know that for a fact? You've seen brawny Americans singing a happy tune whilst soldering these boards together in the Sparkfun factory? Is it then just a coincidence that they look absolutely identical to all the knock offs?

I think that you're wrong. This is from the Sparkfun website (About Us section):

SparkFun is an online retail store that sells the bits and pieces to make your electronics projects possible.

And look at their publicity photos. All boxes and shelves. Just like a distributor. No robots, CAD systems or reflow ovens. See any logic analysers for testing? I'm willing to bet Sparkfun are like all the others and import pre made Arduino boards from [fill in the blank].

My question is: Who is [blank]?

PS. Look at their current jobs:-

Kitter
Full Time
Retail Shipper (Day Shift)
Full Time
Sr Web Developer
Full Time
Marketing Manager, Education
Full Time
Curriculum Specialist
Full Time
Systems Administrator
Full Time
Accounting Manager
Full Time

These are all retail /distribution jobs. Where are the mechanical fitters for the production line? CAD operator? EMI specialist? Embedded systems programmer? Electrician? Robotics handling engineer?

Sparkfun is a shop me thinks.

Any company can make the boards. I suspect that Sparkfun and Adafruit (AFAIK they both make Arduino UNOs) contract with a manufacturer, and buy the rights to the manufacturing. The labor, supervision, technical workers, and floor management, and the boards. Now it has to say in what country the actual manufacturing took place, but all the claims go to the contract holder.

So if it says MADE IN USA, it has to be made in the US, but not necessarily in facilities owned by the name on the board. But they don't have to say who. It's why you see claims like "designed in ...", "assembled in ...", etc. instead of "made in ...".

cossoft:
It’s from some outfit called Hobby Components. It carries their logo.

I have bought stuff from Hobby Components. Their website says clearly that their boards are “Arduino compatible”.

Anyone can make an Arduino compatible board - the design is Open Source. AFAIK what you cannot do is put the Arduino logo on a board without permission from the Arduino folks.

Apart from a Sparkfun Pro-Micro all of my boards have “Arduino” on them. However with the silly dispute between the original creators of Arduino I no longer feel any great allegiance to “Arduino” branded boards.

…R

cossoft: The EAGLE file is also public domain.

That's why they all have the same layout. Why go through a bunch of work to change it when you can just slap your logo on there(or the Arduino logo for the counterfeiters) and send the gerbers off to the board house? Cloners and counterfeiters want their product to look just like the official Arduino board because that's what the buyers want to buy.

That said, there are some different designs of clone Unos. Most use the CH340 USB chip. I have one with through holes next to the female headers, a useful improvement!

Of course many of the companies who sell the Uno clones/counterfeits are outsourcing the manufacturing to board printing and assembly houses so there is a good chance that many of these boards are manufactured at the same factory but the same schematic and gerbers sent to two different factories are still going to look almost identical.

arduino.cc doesn't manufacture their own boards, this was previously done by the .org people but since the split .cc is contracting the manufacture of their boards to various companies in different countries. If you read the Arduino blog they post whenever they get a new manufacturer. The USA manufacturer is Adafruit, The China manufacturer is Seeed Studio, etc.

cossoft: Are you 1000% sure that Sparkfun actually manufacture the Arduino?

I've never heard anything about Sparkfun manufacturing the Arduino Uno. Their product photos of the SMD uno say arduino.cc made in Italy, the PDIP version says arduino.org but the last I had heard they were buying Unos from .org(https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1791). They have their own version called the RedBoard. https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/redboard-vs-uno:

we manufacture the board in-house, here in Boulder, CO

They also manufacture the Pro Mini, Pro, Fio, and Lilypad. https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1791:

We’ve been building and will continue to build hundreds of thousands of the official Arduino Pro, Pro Mini, Fio, and LilyPad. The royalties will continue to go to Arduino.cc, the folks we license the US trademark from. Recently we’ve offered to license and manufacture the other official Arduino boards: Zero, Uno, Mega, Due.

.

cossoft: look at their publicity photos. All boxes and shelves. Just like a distributor. No robots, CAD systems or reflow ovens. See any logic analysers for testing?

Here's some readily available evidence of Sparkfun's manufacturing facility: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/electronics-assembly/all https://youtu.be/qr_Zyrabm_M If you need to see it to believe it you can go on a tour of their facility in Colorado, USA: https://www.sparkfun.com/static/about Of course it is possible that they contract some of their manufacturing overseas but saying they're just a distributor is definitely wrong.

Adafruit does manufacture the Arduino Uno in the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMtL1-2wHy0

It's totally unfeasible that they were made by different companies.

I don't see why...

The Arduino is an open hardware project and the general circuit diagram is in the public domain. Therefore they could be anywhere people chose to route them to.

Why would a copier bother to re-route them?

The EAGLE file is also public domain.. Every component, trace and via is in exactly the same position.

Exactly. So with no effort, anyone can manufacture that (actually, "little effort" since there are presumably manufacturing issues like panelization. Although I suspect that a lot of the "design theft" that occurs happens at the gerber level, rather than back when the design is actually easily modifiable. (Also, NOT "public domain"!! Open Source is different than Public Domain, legally speaking.) Making an exact copy is significantly easier than changing the design (assuming that there aren't errors in the published design files.)

And that little kink in the pcb along the ICSP edge? There doesn't have to be one as it serves no particular purpose. And why are they all blue? And why are all the reset buttons orangey?

There are companies that are very good at copying things. And sharing the copy design files. A lot of the current, more exact, copies started as intentional counterfeits, right down to logos, "manufactured in Italy" and maps. The Arduino companies complained (rightly so) about trademark violations and counterfeiting and such, so now most "nth party" manufacturers have replaced the silkscreen layers (or at least the "name") with their own, which is at least legal if still not all that "supportive."

You can find lots of boards that are NOT direct copies if you look a little closer. Some companies consider it a point of pride, some add features (or remove misfeatures), some are aiming at reduced cost (not always by being an ultra-cheap clone. The Sparkfun "pro" series without a USB controller were/are in this category.) Lots of people have gone back to non-16u2 USB/Serial controllers, for example.

Even on the nearly-identical boards there are some common differences: 1) Whether the 8pin ISP header for the 16u2 is present. 2) Whether there are vias in the "meaningless squiggle" part of the m8RxD/m8TxD traces. 3) SMD vs DIP atmega328. AFAIK, Arduino have never released the design files for an SMD version of R3. 4) Several shades of blue. Other colors.

Another factor which has significantly reduced my sense of goodwill towards the official Arduino folks is their complete unwillingness (despite repeated requests) to participate in the Website and Forum section.

By failing to do so they are showing no appreciation for all of the free help their brand gets from the many people who help answer questions.

...R

@ Robin2

See Post number 6

Thanks for the interesting link.

I think that annoys me even more.

It suggests that the Arduino folks are prepared to put effort into supporting their latest toy while remaining quite unwilling to participate in the Website and Forum section

...R