Programming Arduino while connected to ZumoShield

I’ve recently bought an Arduino and ZumoRobot shield. I’d like to be able to program the Arduino while it is conncected to the robot’s shied, however the userguide has some conflicting information on this and I’m not sure if I can do it:

Warning: When powering the Arduino from the Zumo Shield, you must never connect a different power supply to the Arduino’s VIN pin or plug a power supply into the Arduino’s power jack, as doing so will create a short between the shield’s power supply and the Arduino’s power supply that could permanently damage both the Arduino and the Zumo Shield.

When the Arduino is connected to a computer via USB, it will receive power (and supply 5V and 3.3V to the shield) even when the Zumo Shield’s power switch is off. This can be useful if you want to test your Arduino program without allowing the motors to run, since turning the power switch off disconnects motor power (VBAT).

Source: Pololu - 3.a. Features and components

So, can I plug in the USB cable and program the board while it’s connected to the shield?
Is the above warning only applicable if the shield is turned on? Please advise as I don’t want to kill these boards.

Hi Marcin,

I think that its fine to plug the Arduino into USB while the shield is connected. Since the docs explicitly mention the other power sources but not USB as something that would cause damage. Just to be safe, turn the power switch on the shield off whenever you connect to USB and you should be fine. Especially since it specifically mentions that this is something you can do.

TLDR: You should be fine to connect to USB, turn off the shield power switch first just to be safe.

Thanks Stephen. My first Arduino so I’m probably a bit paranoid about blowing things up!



Blowing things up is part of learning sometimes! But I agree this one comes with a pretty serious “you can break it” warning so I think you are completely justified.