Farmduino vs RAMPS

What do you exactly mean, what is the problem with RAMPS?

Is there any project plan or something for hard and software that you could share with the community in order to be up to date regarding features and possible implementation deadline? Like weed detection alpha is planned for os 2.3.7, 2.3.6 should be released by end of next week or something?

I feel that it would be very much appreciated to get a constant information input on those topics into the community?! Please correct me if I am wrong…

Regarding RAMPS:

  • Plugging encoders and the UTM into RAMPS is painful. With our board, each encoder cable and the UTM cable will have a single connector that plugs into a single, well labelled location on the board. This is easier, faster, less intimidating, and helps ensure everything is plugged in correctly.
  • We’re including higher quality connectors all around that will make the whole board more bullet-proof and easier to wire up correctly and re-wire.
  • We’re adding more mosfets and connectors for peripherals, so you can have solenoid for water, vacuum pump for air, LED lighting along the gantry, and two auxiliary peripherals for whatever else you want to power with FarmBot (more LEDs, another Arduino, a higher power DC motor, another solenoid valve or air pump, a water pump, etc).
  • We’re adding conformal coating which helps protect the board (this could be done with RAMPS too, but it usually is not because all 3D printers are indoors)
  • We’re adding some circuitry specific to encoders, which RAMPS does not have.
  • We’re adding a dedicated 12v to 5v adapter to the board and a USB-power-out connector that allows us to power the Raspberry Pi directly from the board. This cleans up the wiring, saves cost, and will make it easier to switch to another host computer.
  • Stacking RAMPS on top of the MEGA can be problematic - its difficult to do, its too easy to damage the boards/pins, and there is a design flaw that causes mechanical interference with the arduino’s barrel jack.

In future versions of our board we’ll look at integrating higher quality stepper drivers, adding even more encoder-specific hardware, switching to a 32-bit based Arduino-compatible MCU, and other features based on community feedback.

For software: It is hard to estimate when certain features will be implemented because of how difficult and complicated this work is. I will talk to the software team and see if we can get some rough estimates out. The next release though is slated for the end of next week though!


I can’t help but feel this is trading flexibility for user-friendliness. The whole project itself it pretty intimidating, but what I love about it, is that it will allow you to hack in any field you are comfortable with (electronics, hardware, software, etc).

Does using a Farmduino still allow all sorts of additional peripherals to be connected, like how the Arduino and RAMPS have many unused pins for future use? I totally understand this move, but I’m not sure it’s justified if it reduces this projects amazing potential.

So these are moved to this Farmduino board then? Sorry, it’s not clear to me. Maybe I just need to wait and see :wink:

Are you hiring?

First of all, anyone who wants to use RAMPS, or RAMBo, or any number of other stepper motor breakout boards can continue to do so. Our board will simply be another option that is specifically optimized for FarmBot.

Regarding trading flexibility for user-friendliness: I don’t think we are sacrificing any flexibility/functionality with our board. All of the extra pins from the Arduino MCU are still available on Farmduino too, just like on RAMPS: Digital I/O, Analog, PWM, SPI, I2C for future expansion/hacking. We haven’t removed any of the functionality of RAMPS, we’re just adding to it (like the extra mosfets for more peripherals), and making the existing utility of the board easier to work with (like by unifying the pins for encoders into a single easy-to-use connector).

For software: we will probably be in a position to hire one more software developer in about a month or two :slight_smile:

FYI, I’m going to split this topic into a “Farmduino” topic.

Here’s a sneak peak of the first prototype so you can see for yourself the functionality of the board:


Are the final connectors going to be tin or gold plated?

@bgmoon they’ll be tin plated this time around.

Do you already know if/when you will stop Rasp&Arduino software development, debugging etc. in favour of Farmduino development?

The Farmduino will be able to be used instead of RAMPS & the Arduino Mega, but both board options will still be supported in the software.

The Raspberry Pi is separate, and will continue to be used.


… push

Hey @roryaronson any news on the software release date? :slight_smile:


I do like farmduino, but i can not imagine about the operation of Farmduino, Do you need to use Rsp pi 3 to connect Web-app?

Yes, a Raspberry Pi is still needed.

Hi Rory,
Do you have a sales plan for this board only?


Yes, we do plan to sell the Farmduino individually for DIY builders and people who want to upgrade from and Arduino MEGA and RAMPS setup. You can read this post for more information: Coming Soon: Full FarmBot Online Shop

Thank you~

I see the Farmduino board has an extra stepper motor driver slot but no encoder plug for that. What is this for?

It’s an auxiliary motor slot for whatever you’d like, similar to the extra E1 motor slot on RAMPS.

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You said you only added to the functionality of ramps does that mean my farmbot is using the same pins that a ramps board uses?
I bought a standalone farmbot board for my daughter’s project which is now over.
I had hoped that she would get into this and we could do it together…
However… It appears now that I’ve got an extra board laying around. I’m wondering if I can use it as a ramps alternative?
I mean I know i could reassign all the pins if I want.
But I really don’t want to have to reassign all the pins…
I know I’m being lazy, all the information is here to sit and figure out on my own, but even if I were to compare the boards pins I could still easily miss something critical…
Would feel better if you could give me a thumbs up or down on this.
I can see how it would make a lot of sense to use the same pin config and just break out the wires into convenient connectors.
Which is exactly what I was going to do when I decided to get a board from you directly and save myself an extra years worth of fooling around with it…
My kids sunflower science project totally KICKED ASS.
So thank you for keeping me on that pedestal.

What is the “RAMPS” board/device and what does it do?

The RAMPS board is a shield that attaches to an Arduino Mega to provide power and connections to motors and standard peripherals, generally used for devices such as 3D printers in the open source community. See the above discussion for differences between Arduino/RAMPS and Farmduino.