Assemble Arduino* Expansion Board

This page presents the steps to install the Intel® Edison compute module to the Arduino* expansion board, plus connect micro USB cables and a DC power supply.

Inside the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino* Box

Contents of the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino* retail box

1 Intel® Edison compute module
Refer to the Product Brief for the specs of the Intel® Edison compute module.

2 Arduino* expansion board
Hardware pin-compatible with Arduino* Uno R3 shields. Refer to the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino* Hardware Guide for specs.

3 Assembly hardware
  • Small hex nuts (x 2) - For securing the Intel® Edison compute module to the expansion board.
  • Screws (x 4) & plastic spacers (x 4) - To keep the expansion board stable and lifted off of surfaces that may cause a short circuit.

Additional Cables Required

Additional cables include two micro USB cables and DC power supply

4 Micro-B USB to Standard-B USB cables (x 2)
These common micro USB cables are used for data transfer and charging mobile phones and other consumer electronics. You will need two micro USB cables during the initial development setup.

5 Direct current (DC) power supply rated as follows:
  • 7-15 V DC
  • At least 1500mA
  • Center/inner pin is positive pole

Do you need an external power supply?

An external power supply is the most stable and reliable way of powering the Intel® Edison board.

However, you can power your board using the device mode USB cable if you do not have an external power supply. Refer to the Connect the Intel® Edison Board to Your Computer for Development section later on this page for more details.

Assembling the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino*

Install the Intel® Edison Compute Module

The Intel® Edison compute module is meant to be used with breakout boards or custom printed circuit boards. Secure the compute module to the Arduino* expansion board before you use it.

Animated gif: Installing the Intel® Edison compute module

  1. Locate the Intel® Edison compute module, Arduino* expansion board, and two metal hex nuts.

    Two hex nuts, the Intel® Edison compute module, and the Arduino* expansion board laid out on a table

  2. Place the Intel® Edison compute module within the white outline on the Arduino* expansion board, lining up the holes on the Intel® Edison compute module with the screws on the expansion board.

    Placement of the Intel® Edison compute module on the Arduino* expansion board

  3. Press down on the Intel® Edison compute module just below the words “What will you make?” until you feel a snap.

    Pressing down on the Intel® Edison compute module

    Make sure the compute module is seated properly.

    If you do not feel a snap, a loosely connected Intel® Edison compute module will produce unexpected behaviors.

    Examples of the Intel® Edison compute module seated improperly and properly.

  4. Use the two hex nuts to secure the module to the expansion board. Hand tighten the hex nuts onto the two screws that protrude through the board.

    Securing compute module with the supplied hex nuts

  5. Your Arduino* expansion board should look like the photo below when the Intel® Edison compute module is installed.

    The Intel® Edison compute module installed

Install the Plastic Spacers

To add stability to the expansion board and to help avoid accidental short circuits, attach the four plastic spacers supplied in your Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino* box to act as legs for the expansion board.

Animated gif: Installing the plastic spacers

  1. Locate the four metal screws and four plastic spacers in the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino* box.

    Arduino* expansion board, four plastic spacers, and four screws laid out on a table

  2. In one of the four holes in the corner of the Arduino* expansion board, insert a screw through the top.

    A screw inserted into expansion board

  3. Twist and tighten one of the white plastic spacers onto the screw. The spacer should be on the bottom of the expansion board to act as legs.

    Tightening a spacer onto the screw

  4. Repeat for the remaining three screws and spacers.

    Bottom view of all spacers installed

  5. Your Arduino* expansion board should look like the photo below when the plastic spacer legs are attached.

    Side view of the Arduino* expansion board with plastic spacers installed

Connect the Intel® Edison Board to Your Computer for Development

While plugging in every cable is not required all the time, a cable setup for initial development purposes with the Arduino* expansion board would look like the photo below:

A photographic cable and microswitch diagram with numbered callouts

1 USB device mode set (details)
The microswitch is toggled down towards the two micro USB ports.

2 Device mode cable connected (details)
A micro USB cable is plugged into the top micro USB port, and the other end plugged into your computer. This port is used for: 5V power, programming the Intel® Edison board using the Arduino* IDE, reading/writing to the onboard flash memory from your computer like a disk drive, and/or using Ethernet over USB.

3 UART/serial cable connected (details)
A micro USB cable is plugged into the bottom micro USB port, and the other end plugged into your computer. This port is used for shell access via serial communication.

4 External power supply connected (details)
A 7-15 volt DC power supply is plugged into the power barrel connector for stable and reliable power. External power is not always required but highly recommended.

Can I use only USB for power?
In many cases, you can use only the device mode cable 2 to power your board.

However, if you are experiencing unexpected behavior, your computer's USB port may not be reliably supplying power to the board. Things you can try:

  • If you are connecting the board to a laptop, plug in your laptop’s AC adapter.
  • Use a powered USB hub.

Would you like to know more about the USB modes and ports on your breakout board?
Learn more in the Appendix: Connecting Cables page.

Power LED Indicator

A green LED (labeled DS1 on the Arduino* expansion board) should light up and stay lit when the device mode 2 and/or DC power supply 4 cables are connected.

A green LED lit up on the Arduino* expansion board to the top right of the Intel® Edison compute module

Troubleshooting

The green LED does not light up.
Check your power supply and/or device mode cable connections.

The green LED is turning on and off.
If you are using only the device mode micro USB cable for power, your computer's USB port is not reliably supplying power to the board. Use an external DC power supply or a powered USB hub. If you are connecting the board to a laptop, plug in your laptop’s AC adapter.


One sign that your board is fully initialized is when your computer mounts a new drive named "Edison", much like inserting a SD card into your computer.

A hard disk drive named 'Edison' highlighted in a Windows Explorer window

Next Steps

You should now have the Intel® Edison compute module installed, all the development cables connected, and the Intel® Edison board powered on. Continue to Step 2: Run Setup Tool.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.