Ian Glen

Cheap Module and Breakout Board Buying Guide

I’ve collected some information on cheap modules for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc. that can be had on eBay, Banggood, etc. for just a few bucks. There boards available for all kinds of sensors and chips, and for each chip or sensor there are many variants of breakout boards, some which are better than others. Hopefully this page helps you determine which one is best for your project as well as get it to do something useful.

If you discover a module that isn’t yet on this page, please let me know so that I can add it.

Table of Contents

IMU

Inertial measurement units (or IMUs) are able to measure relative motion. Accelerometers measure linear acceleration along an axis, gyroscopes measure the rate of rotation about an axis, magnetometers measure the strength of Earth’s magnetic field (or any magnetic field) along an axis, and barometers measure air pressure (and sometimes air temperature). Using sensor fusion algorithms, relative position and attitude can be calculated. Most of the time these calculations must be performed by the device reading the sensor, such as an Arduino, although certain sensors include digital motion processing (DMP) and can perform these calculations themselves. Degrees of freedom (DOF) are the total number of measurement axes. For example, an IMU with a three-axis accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope would have 6 degrees of freedom.

NameDOFAccel.Gyro.Mag.Baro.DMPPrice
CJMCU-9DOF9$4-6
GY-8010$10-20
GY-8110$10-20
GY-859$11-16
GY-8810$10-20
GY-2913$2-3
GY-5216$2-4

CJMCU-9DOF

CJMCU-9DOF

A 9-DOF IMU module with a BMX055 three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and three-axis magnetometer.

It is available on eBay for about $4-6. Search “9DOF IMU” or “BMX055 IMU”.

GY-80

GY-80

Schematic

A 10-DOF IMU module that includes the following sensors:

There are two M2.5 mounting holes and holes for a 10 pin .1” header. #4 machine screws will also fit in the mounting holes. Two variations are available. The board layout is generally the same but the silkscreen color may be red or blue. Modules with red silkscreen include extra capacitors near the mounting holes, making it impossible to use mounting screws where the head of the screw is larger than 4mm. Fillister head machine screws can be used, as they have smaller heads, or normal machine screws can be sanded down to fit.

The module is capable of running off of 3.3-5V, as it includes an onboard voltage regulator. Also includes an onboard level shifter so it can be used with 5V logic. Communication is done though I2C.

It is available on eBay for about $10-20. Search “10DOF IMU” or “GY-80”.

GY-81

A 10-DOF IMU module that is identical to the GY-80 except that it includes an ITG3205 (three-axis gyroscope) instead of the L3G4200D, and a BMA180 (three-axis accelerometer) instead of the ADXL345. The GY-81 has the same HMC5883L (three-axis magnetometer) and BMP085 (barometer + temperature) sensors.

There are two M2.5 mounting holes and holes for a 10 pin .1” header. #4 machine screws will also fit in the mounting holes.

The module is capable of running off of 3.3-5V, as it includes an onboard voltage regulator. Also includes an onboard level shifter so it can be used with 5V logic. Communication is done though I2C.

It is available on eBay for about $10-20. Search “10DOF IMU” or “GY-81”.

GY-85

GY-85

Schematic

A 9-DOF IMU module that includes the following sensors:

There is one M2.5 mounting hole and holes for an 8 pin .1” header. #4 machine screws will also fit in the mounting holes.

The module is capable of running off of 3.3-5V, as it includes an onboard voltage regulator. Also includes an onboard level shifter so it can be used with 5V logic. Communication is done though I2C.

It is available on eBay for about $11-16. Search “GY-85”.

GY-88

GY-88

A 10-DOF IMU module that includes the following sensors:

It is available on eBay for about $10-20. Search “10DOF IMU” or “GY-88”.

GY-291

GY-291

Schematic

A 3-DOF IMU with an Analog Devices ADXL345 three-axis accelerometer. It is available on eBay for about $2-3. Search “GY-291” or “ADXL345”.

Pinout: I/O pins are not 5V tolerant! A level shifter is required if powering with 5V.

Specs:

GY-521

GY-521

Schematic

A 6-DOF IMU with an InvenSense MPU-6050 three-axis accelerometer and three-axis gyroscope that includes a digital motion processor (DMP) to perform sensor fusion. It is available on eBay for about $2-4. Search “6DOF IMU” or “GY-521”.

Pinout: I/O pins are not 5V tolerant! A level shifter is required if powering with 5V.

Specs:

TODO

GPS

GPS modules provide absolute position, speed over ground, and accurate time.

TODO

Light Sensor

TODO

Rangefinder

TODO

Wireless

TODO