Elegoo Uno R3

Elegoo UNO R3It's OK, you can call me a gear whore. I know what I am.

Last week I announced that this blog will start looking at a lot more than just the Raspberry Pi, so here I am today with a short post on an Arduino Uno clone that I just had to buy: The Elegoo Uno R3.

As a self-confessed gear whore, I already knew that writing about more boards was going to be an expensive move. This isn’t my first Uno clone and certainly won’t be my last, let alone all the other platforms I want to try. I fear I could register as bankrupt by the end of 2018.

Anyway, let’s have a quick spin around this rather tasty board…


A new approach for me for 2018 – 60-second unboxing videos. No bullshit, just unboxing in a single minute.

I plan to make a big fat bucket-load of these, so get subscribed and stay tuned. Here’s the Elegoo Uno R3 being welcomed to Essex:

Packaging Perfection

If you’ve bought any Arduino clones – or any other cheap electronics for that matter – you’ll know how crappy the packaging can be. I never expect anything more than a mangled, pierced anti-static bag, popped in a musty ‘China yellow’ bubble mailer.

To my surprise (and perhaps because I bought this from Amazon rather than a China store), the Elegoo Uno was delivered with more class than I’ve ever seen from a clone board.

The nicely branded box was delivered in its own anti-static bag along with a cute thank you card. Inside the product box was then another (sealed) anti-static bag containing the board.

I’m impressed – that’s 10/10 for the dress-up.

Elegoo Uno Box

The boys and girls at Elegoo know how to dress a product up.

Components & Layout

The thing about Uno clones is that I find they’re mostly the same, with discreet differences in power/USB port choice, controller chip style (DIP/QFP), component placement and colour.

That’s what makes them interesting though, compared to what I call ‘set’ products such as the Raspberry Pi where you have just one flavour to choose from.

Looking at the Elegoo Uno R3, the parts used are on the cheaper, less-exciting side:

Elegoo Uno Components

Vanilla nice: The board has the generic components and placement, but that’s not always a bad thing

A pretty standard ATMEGA328 DIP is used, in the same position as most other clones.

Elegoo have also gone for the vanilla USB Type B for the data connection, and the familiar 2.1mm barrel-jack. I also notice the other components are in roughly the same place as my XDRduino clone, suggesting they have been performing more ‘copy & paste’ than my GNVQ homework back in 2001.

Whilst that might make the board feel like ‘just another cheap clone’, there is something to be said for consistency. I have all those cables to hand because quite simply, that’s the standard Arduino setup (Vs the likes of my SparkFun RedBoard which uses a USB Mini-B port for data).

Elegoo Uno Ports

Generic port choices should result in less of those “where’s that f%$*ing cable” moments

One thing I really like about this Uno is the pin label print on the side of the headers. On both sides of the board they have clearly printed pin numbers, as well as overall labels showing analog, power, digital etc. I haven’t seen this on any of my other clones.

All other board makers everywhere – take note – this should be standard:

Elegoo Uno Pin Labels

I’m pretty sure you can buy stickers to achieve the same thing, but Elegoo add it as standard. Nice.

Black Waffles

Considering the ‘samey’ components & layout, it’s clear why this board caught my eye – that gorgeous textured black silkscreen!

There’s something a bit special about the look of the silk on this one. The black is dark and glossy which is pleasant on its own, but it’s that grippy ‘waffle’ texture that really sets this one apart.

I’ve made a few products with black PCBs in my time, and bought plenty as well, however never before have I seen this method used. I wonder how they do it? If you know, hit me up with a comment at the bottom of this page.

Elegoo Uno PCB

How do they print that waffle-like sexy business on their PCBs? Answers on a postcard.

Elegoo Uno Price

Well this is likely the reason for the purchase. As an Amazon Prime member (sorry to those who think Amazon is the devil’s ugly wife), I have a nasty habit of chucking things in my basket all for the novelty of free (kinda) postage.

Anyway, at £6.99, and with the product pictures doing most of the selling, I couldn’t resist. It’s not bad considering you’ll usually wait at least a month for a similar clone costing £4-5 from a China shop.

Here’s a link for you if you want one yourself (yes it’s an affiliate link, you’re supporting this blog by using it).

Right, credit card away! Or maybe…just…one little look at this shop…


2 Comments on "Elegoo Uno R3"

  1. David Tillotson | 20/03/2018 at 18:11 | Reply

    Couple of pointers on your waffle question:
    1. The black is a solder resistant varnish, the white text is the silk screen.
    2. The waffle is in the underlying copper (a lot of boards just have solid copper fill). The waffle pattern is a trade-off between having a good plane (for consistent ground), cost of etching the pattern, and cost of any plating applied under the varnish. If the bare board is ENG finished, the cross-hatch can result in some saving.

    • Thanks David. I always call the colour of the board silkscreen, a habit I can’t seem to shake. Interesting on how they make that ‘waffle’ look, I certainly prefer it.

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