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5 Ways to Destroy an Arduino

Nothing feels worse than getting a new Arduino board and then managing to destroy it after a manner of minutes.

This episode discusses five ways you can damage/destroy an Arduino – so you can avoid them!

Mistake #1: Shorting I/O Pins to Ground

Mistake #2: Shorting I/O Pins to Each Other

Mistake #3: Apply Overvoltage to I/O Pins

Mistake #4: Apply External Vin Power Backwards

Mistake #5: Apply >5V to the 5V Connector Pin

We also learn about an Arduino UNO derivate designed to protect against each potential mishap.

Everything has limits.

If you try to drive a semi-trailer full of gold bars over a tiny bridge, you could exceed the weight limit of the bridge, destroying the bridge and probably screwing up the semi-truck too.

Or, if you drive a car at 100mph and then try to stop it within ten feet of a brick wall – you’re probably going get all smashed up – and it’s not the car’s fault – there are certain limits the vehicle must be operated within.

The Arduino is no different. It has limits that it must be operated within. If you exceed those limits expect that you will damage or destroy an Arduino board.

If you know the limits – if you’re equipped with this knowledge – then you’ll be able to protect yourself from making the mistakes that might lead to destruction.

Rugged Circuits: How Not to Destroy an Arduino

All of the material in this video is based on a really great article written by a company named Rugged Circuits.

Rugged Circuits is US based. They manufacture and sell an Arduino Uno derivative board called the “Ruggeduino”.

The Ruggeduino protects against every form of destruction we talk about in this week’s video.


It’s kind of like the superhero of Arduino derivative boards – it’s pretty much invincible. It prevents simple mistakes from destroying it.

Here is a link to the article (It’s a great read and I highly recommend checking it out):

10 Ways to Destroy an Arduino


In next week’s episode, we will talk about 5 more ways to destroy an Arduino!

If you have ever damaged, destroyed, or deep-fried an Arduino board, I would love to hear about it in the comments!


  1. Avatar Brian van Vlymen on June 25, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I never knew about Mistake #1: Shorting I/O Pins to Ground but thank you so much for excellent for saftey Arduino sake!

    • Avatar MICHAEL JAMES on June 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      You bet – glad you found it useful Brian, thanks for commenting!

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