Freaduino and RedBoard

There are two interestng boards available that are very close in price and features so a comparison would be interesting. The candidates are:

I received both arduino clones from boxtec, a remarkable source for arduino products.

For the comparison, I assign ponts for each feature and sum them up at the end to see the advantages. This method looks objective but is highly subjective, as it represents my weighting of features. The points will be shown as follows (F:1/R:1) meaning in this example the both boards received one point.

A detailed feature image for both boards can be found at the end of the article.


Both boards come with the identical size and dimensions like a standard arduino UNO. The Freaduino adheres to the R2 pinout, the RedBoard has the new R3 pinout with SCL and SDA added on the side of the digital pins and IOREF added to the analog pin side(F:0.75/R:1). As alternative, the I2C as well as the serial port pins are located at the lower right corner. (F:0.5/R:0)

The Freaduino uses headers with through-hole mounting, the RedBoard is completely built with SMD parts and has no soldering on the bottom side of the board.(F:1/R:1)

Both boards have a mini-USB connector, which I prefer over the mcor-USB connector. This one appears to be a bit more robust.(F:1/R:1)

The LEDs are located at the edge of the board for the Freaduino, which is an advantage as soon as you put a shield on the board. The LEDs of the RedBoard become invisible and the Feaduino LEDs are still visible. The FReaduino LEDs are very bright.(F:1/R:0.5)

The reste button is located at the edge for both boards. The Freaduino reste button is a bit easier acceible as it is standing upright and can be pushed nicely, but that is only a small advantage.(F:1/R:1)

The obvious difference between the boards is the pinrow that the Freaduino provides for all digital and analog pins together with GND and Vcc for each pin in the order that servos can be connected directly to the board. This is a significant advantage over the RedBoard.(F:2/R:0)


Both boards have the standard arduino power jack. The RedBoard accepts voltages from 7 - 15V, the Freaduino board takes 7-23 V. This is only a small advantage as I rarely use more than 12 Volts as supply power. (F:1/R:0.9)

The Freaduino has a switch that allows to switch the board between 3.3V and 5V, the RedBoard opwerates on 5V only.(F:1.5/R:1).

Both boards use a LM1117 voltage regulator being able to provide 800 mA.(F:1/R:1)


Both board work with the SMD version of the ATmega328 and the UNO bootload installed. This means that a faulty CPU cannot be easily replaced. Owever, if you managed to fry the CPU, there is a good chance that other parts have suffered as well and at the given price of such a board, the replacement of the entire board might be the better move. (F:1/R:1)

The CPU comes with 32k flash memory of which half a kB is used by the boot loaded. When loading code into the Freaduino, I noticed that there is a limit of 28518 Bytes after which increasing leads to an upload error. I assume that there is another bootloaded installed which consumes more memory. This is due to an old bootloader installed in the CPU. I used the RedBoard as ISP and loaded the current optiboot bootloader onto the Freaduino. After that, the full memory was accessible(F:1/R:1)

USB to Serial

The RedBoard has a FTDI FT232RL chip as USB to Serial transceiver, the Freaduino uses a ATmega8u2. The ATmega8u2 has the ISP pins on a seperate pad that allows to program the chip as such.(F:1/R:1). When uploading the code I recognized that the Feaduino loads the code about 3 times faster than the RedBoard. This is very convenoient when uploading code while debugging as the waittime is significantly shorter.(F:1/R:0)


Summing up all my points assigned to the boards gives this table:

  Criteria Freaduino RedBoard
Formfactor      R3 layout 0.75 1
I2C, Serial Pins  0.5  0
SMD/Through-hole  1  1
USB COnnector
 1  1
LED location
 1  0.5
Reset Button
 1  1
Pinrows 2 1
 Power   Voltage Range
 1  0.9
5V/3.3V mode
 1.5  1
LM117  1  1
 CPU  SMD  1  1
RAM  1  1
 USB2Serial  Interface chip
 1  1
Interface speed
 2 1
  Total:  15.75 11.4

The Freaduino gets 15.75 point and the RedBoard gets 11.4. You may assign the pionts differently to match your preferences. For me, the Freaduino is the winner.

 Board Details