Arduino Project 5 – Adding a stackable ICSP header to the Arduino Ethernet Shield (micro-SD/R3 version)


I’m currently working on a bit of coursework which includes XBee shields and XBee 2.5 ZNet modules. Since I want one of my nodes to form a bridge between the XBee network and my existing ethernet network I bought an Arduino Uno and one of the new ethernet shields with micro-SD slot. The pictures are for the older non R3 micro-SD ethernet shield but I’ve got an R3 one as well and the layout appears identical (apart from the new pins which are of no concern for this exercise) hence the procedure will be identical.

1. The problem:

The issue is obvious, the ethernet shield doesn’t pass the ICSP pins through to the next layer hence the XBee shield has nothing to plug into. Initially I wasn’t sure if there could be more than one shield using the ICSP headers so I sneakily soldered wires to the underside of an old Diecimila and the underside of an XBee board. With the ethernet shield between the two I could receive data from the XBee network and upload said data to my mysql database via the ethernet shield. So I got out the tools :)


2. Removing the existing ICSP headers:

I started by removing as much solder as possible from the top solder points of the header with de-soldering braid to make my life easier later on when trying to get the actual header pins out. Then snip off the black plastic part of the header but leave as much of the actual pins as possible attached to the board (makes it easier to get hold of them when you are trying to pull them out). Heat the pins up one by one and pull them out.


3. Tidy up:

I still had a few holes blocked with left over solder. Again de-soldering braid is your friend but you could probably just as well use a Dremel type tool with a tiny drill to clean the holes.


4. Fit and solder the new ICSP stackable header:

Like in Arduino Project 4 I used an 8-pin header and cut it down to two 3-pin ones with a Dremel and diamond cutting disc. Feel free to use whatever you have available, these 6-pin headers will be available somewhere but I just wasn’t patient to search for them ;) Fit the new header to an Arduino board and attach the ethernet shield above with the new ICSP pins fed through the appropriate holes in the ethernet shield. This would be a good point in time to take whatever second ICSP enabled shield you want to fit on top of your ethernet shield and check that it’s female ICSP header actually reaches the new ICSP pins you are about to solder in place. If you are happy with the result heat up the soldering iron. Two pins are rather close to the micro-SD slot so be careful not to connect them to the metal housing of the micro-SD slot.

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Add a comment »One comment to this article

  1. Hey,

    Nice post. I need an urgent help. I have arduino uno and trying to use these exact same ICSP header for interfacing the micro SD card shield. I know I can do it directly via 10,11,12,13 pins on arduino and this works, however I want to be able to do it using ICSP header pins (this as per documentation, supplies the MISO, MOSI, CLK, RESET, VCC and GND pins).

    Any help will be appreciated!



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