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Jolly Brings Onboard Wi-Fi To Arduino Uno Boards

Jolly Device product images
(Image credit: Jolly Device)

The Arduino Uno microcontroller is a classic device in the maker community. It commands respect as it has powered millions of projects, and started the careers of many makers. If you own an Uno, then you may wish to lever the ATMega328 out of them and replace it with a Jolly, a device capable of bringing Wi-Fi to the Uno. The project will soon be crowdfunding.

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The creation of Arduino co-founder Gianluca Martino, who left the company in 2015, Jolly is an upgrade board for the Uno that replaces its ATMega328P chip with a newer version, the ATMega328PB. Jolly adds an embedded ESP8285 Wi-Fi module (ESP8266 equivalent with 2MB flash) with integrated antenna and 2MB of flash storage, along with some voltage regulation and integration circuits. The ATMega328PB and ESP8285 communicate with one another via SPI and UART. This is similar to how Pimoroni's Pico Wireless communicates with the Raspberry Pi Pico.

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The Jolly upgrade chip

(Image credit: Gianluca Martino)
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Jolly Device product images

(Image credit: Jolly Device)
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Jolly Device product images

(Image credit: Jolly Device)
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Jolly Device product images

(Image credit: Jolly Device)
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Jolly Device product images

(Image credit: Jolly Device)
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Jolly Device product images

(Image credit: Jolly Device)

As the new chip closely matches the old one, it’s compatible with all current projects using the Uno, and retains the same pinout and interfaces. While it’s designed to replace the brains of the Uno, it can also be soldered into other projects as a standalone module. 

Adding Wi-Fi to the Arduino Uno is an important move as more makers move to IoT. Arduino itself are pushing more of its boards online, and provide a dedicated cloud based IoT IDE for all models of Arduino and compatible boards. So enabling Wi-Fi via Jolly, rather than an add-on board (Shield) will breathe new life into your Uno without impeding the form factor and size.

The Kickstarter page currently only says the crowdfunding campaign is ‘coming soon’, with an option to be notified when it begins. Remember that crowdfunding a project is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment, you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.