First Look at the New Arduino Zero

Arduino Technology
First Look at the New Arduino Zero

Hinted at yesterday by Massimo Banzi during his keynote speech at MakerCon, Arduino has just officially announced their latest board—the Arduino Zero.

On the surface the board may look very similar to the Arduino Leonardo, but there are big differences. Powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ core, the Atmel SAMD21, the new board is significantly faster than the traditional 8-bit Arduino boards, running at 48MHz, and is much more capable.

While it shares the same form factor as the Arduino Leonardo—with 14 digital and 5 analog pins—all of the digital pins except the Rx/Tx pins can act as PWM pins, and the analog pins have a 12-bit ADC instead of the Leonardo’s 10-bit ADC, giving significantly better analog resolution.

maker-faire-bay-area-logo-2014The new board comes with 256KB of Flash memory, and 32KB of SRAM. In comparison the 8-bit Leonardo which uses the Atmel ATmega32u4 comes with just 32KB of Flash memory and 2.5KB of SRAM. While the new board doesn’t have EEPROM, it does support 16KB by emulation, so Arduino sketches relying on this feature will still run without issue.

Like the Arduino Due, the first Arduino micro-controller to be based on an ARM core, the new Zero runs at 3.3V while there is a 5V power pin on the board in the usual place, it looks like the voltage of the rest of the digital and analog pins is 3.3V rather than the normal 5V—so any shields you use with the board will have to be 3.3V compatible.

One of the interesting differences about board layout of the Zero is the addition of an extra micro-USB port. While information is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, the SAMD21 supports both USB Host and Device mode, so it’s possible that that extra port is to support that functionality. Although its also possible that this USB port could be dedicated to support Atmel’s Embedded Debugger (EDBG) as this is the first Arduino board to support this feature. EDBG is an interesting addition—it provides a full debug interface without the need for additional hardware.

The first prototypes of the new board will be on display at the Arduino (#204), Atmel (#205) and ARM (#405) booths at Maker Faire Bay Area, which kicks off in just two days time. So see you at the faire, the greatest show (and tell) on Earth!

29 thoughts on “First Look at the New Arduino Zero

  1. First Look at the new Arduino Zero | Salute says:

    […] Read more on MAKE […]

  2. Bart says:

    wow what a revolutionary product, can’t wait… but seriously it’s just a smaller, slower due.

    1. jayfehr says:

      smaller = easier to put into smaller projects

      slower = more affordable, more projects can be built for the same price

      I fail to see why this isn’t a decent addition to the Arduino line?

    2. Alasdair Allan says:

      But it’s also probably going to turn out to be a lot cheaper…

  3. Première Regardez le nouveau Arduino zéro | TechLab LR says:

    […] … lire la suite (en anglais) […]

  4. Whosa whatsis says:

    Follow the traces. The second USB port is CLEARLY connected to the EDBG chip, not the SAMD21.

    1. James Luscher says:

      And the traces are labeled “JTAG” ;-)

      1. Whosa whatsis says:

        The JTAG label is for the small 10-pin header, and I was talking about the traces to the other USB port (the lower one in that picture).

    2. Alasdair Allan says:

      So it turns out that the second USB port is connected to both. It can be used as USB host, and for EDBG.

  5. Hacedores – Massimo Banzi anunció el nuevo Arduino Zero says:

    […] Fuente: Makezine. […]

  6. Let’s talk about the Arduino Zero

 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World says:

    […] Alasdair Allan, MakeZine “While it shares the same form factor as the Arduino Leonardo—with 14 digital and 5 analog pins—all of the digital pins except the Rx/Tx pins can act as PWM pins, and the analog pins have a 12-bit ADC instead of the Leonardo’s 10-bit ADC, giving significantly better analog resolution,” writes Makezine’s Alasdair Allan. […]

  7. codescaling | Arduino’s Zero Hero, Postgresql’s beta and fun small projects says:

    […] like the next Arduino will be the focussed refresh we’ve been waiting for. Makezine has all the details on the Arduino Zero, announced at Makercon. It’s a 48Mhz ARM cored Atmel chip with 256KB […]

  8. indiwerwlf says:

    great article! I noticed this error though “an interesting addition—it provides as it provides a full debug interface”

    I hope we don’t have to wait too long to get our hands on this. It seems pretty clear that the second usb port is for debug I think.

    1. Alasdair Allan says:

      Thanks, typo fixed.

  9. rocketryguy says:

    They missed the most significant change: the stupid header offset is gone.

    1. Glen Duncan says:

      It’s about damn time! So annoying that you couldn’t use a piece of perf board to make a shield that used 8-13.

    2. godisaniron says:

      Look again – the offset is still there…

    3. Alasdair Allan says:

      Nope, sorry to disappoint you the header layout is still the same. The board is R3 shield compatible. Although I’ll agree the picture is a bit misleading…

  10. joshmarinacci says:

    Since this is ARM based will it run the web based IDE?

    1. Alasdair Allan says:

      Nope. That’s for the Tre only.

  11. First Look at the new Arduino Zero – R2D2's blog says:

    […] Read more on MAKE […]

  12. Ayush Chand says:

    Teensy FTW! I don’t see the reason why they took so long to come up with a 32 bit ARM chip

  13. Arduino Zero presentata al Maker Faire Bay Area Mauro Alfieri Robotica says:

    […] sia riportata nella pagina ufficiale del prodotto sul sito tuttavia ho trovato questo articolo su makezine che […]

  14. DMAN says:

    man and i of course went with the BeagleBone rev C, which has the TI Cortex chip on it, a company I have sworn to never buy from or design with wherever possible (Felt they screwed me at a university they founded nearly 40 years ago – UTD). Screwed me prior to college as well, long story. It all worked out though, just wont find TI products on any of my designs, its my contribution back to them :-)

  15. 첫 선을 보인 신형 아두이노 제로(Arduino Zero) | Make: Korea says:
  16. Low Cost Android to Ethernet Gateway | SAN DIEGO HARDWARE HACKERS says:

    […] 32 bit processor. More info can be found here and a first look feedback article can be found here « ARM Microcontrollers, Past and […]

  17. Want to Get Your Hands on the Arduino Zero Before Everyone Else? | MAKE says:

    […] new Arduino Zero board was announced by Massimo Banzi back in May at Maker Faire Bay Area, and will probably ship towards the end of the year. However if you want to […]

  18. Arduino Wars: Group Splits, New Products Revealed | Make: says:

    […] Against this background is the quiet release by Arduino Srl, rather than Arduino LLC, of the long awaited Arduino Zero. […]

  19. The Arduino Zero is Now Shipping in the US | Make: says:

    […] more than a year ago during Maker Faire Bay Area back in 2014, the Arduino Zero is now finally available for purchase in the United […]

Comments are closed.


Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker and tinkerer, who is spending a lot of his time thinking about the Internet of Things. In the past he has mesh networked the Moscone Center, caused a U.S. Senate hearing, and contributed to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered.

View more articles by Alasdair Allan