XArduino – A 400-MIPS co-processor for Arduino

Recently I’ve been working on XArduino which is a XMOS XS1 L1 co-processor for the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform.

The XArduino board provides Arduino applications with a 400 MIP’s multi-threaded 32-bit co-processor, as well as providing a VGA video output and PS/2 keyboard/mouse input for Arduino application.

It features a standard XTAG-2 to for programming and debugging. In addition the XTAG-2 interface will allow for XK-1 boards to access the VGA and PS/2 interfaces as well as way of connecting standard Arduino shields.

Note: This is a 3.3V-only board

The project is hosted at xcores.com/projects/xarduino

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

14 Responses to XArduino – A 400-MIPS co-processor for Arduino

  1. Per-Tore says:


    This sounds like an interesting idea.
    Will it be available as a ready built and tested Arduino Shield? For what price?
    How will the programming be done?



    • zuzebox says:

      Hi Per-Tore

      If it goes into production I think it would sell at $40 – $50.

      Xarduino would come with a built in terminal software. An Arduino would normally be interfaced to it through either its serial port using standard serial.write and serial.print functions. An SPI port could also be used but you would need to write your own Arduino function calls to do this. I haven’t decided yet if the XArduino should use a subset of VT52 or VT100 terminal codes, but it will have terminal codes for screen X and Y positions, clear screen, reverse video etc. The user can connect a PS/2 keyboard to input ASCII data into their application.

      If someone wants to program their own application into XArduino they would need an Xmos XTAG2 (which costs about $50) and the Xmos software development tools (available for free on the Xmos site).


  2. Per-Tore says:

    Thanks for the info.
    Please inform me if the module becomes available.

  3. Pratik Saptarshi says:


    I too am quite interested in this new flavour of Arudino Board. Its really seems impressive. What microcontroller is used ???

    • zuzebox says:

      It uses a XS1-L1 from xmos.com.

      Xmos make multicore microprocessors – XS1-G4 = 4 cores, XS1-L2 = 2 cores and the XS1-L1 = 1 core.

  4. deviker says:

    I’d also like to know if the module becomes available.

    • zuzebox says:

      I’m hoping to have the design finished soon and boards soon after, but I’ve been busy at work etc.

      Interestingly, Xmos have announced a faster version of the XS1-L1 which now clocks at 500MHz ~ 500MIPS.

  5. Iain says:


    Great project. We were are looking at doing something very similar but for our version of the Arduino module. Are you going to be making the project files available?

    Kind Regards


    • zuzebox says:

      Thanks Iain,
      I’ve gotten sidetrack on another project (or two) but once the PCB is finished, I’ll put the project files on line for everyone to access.

  6. Ángel del Río Medina says:


    I have some dudes:

    Is this project GNU?

    Where are the software for vga, mouse etc?

    Can I put 256 colours?

    Can I make one?

    Do you think that could I put linux in your project? (I’ve thought in a puppyLinux because it is very little. http://puppylinux.org/)

    Thanks for your excelent project


    • zuzebox says:

      Ángel, thanks for your interest.

      No its not a GNU project.

      For VGA and mouse software check out the software libraries and projects on xcore exchange. There are projects and libraries for VGA and mouse there but you may have to adapt them to this board. There is also the VDP-1 video kernel at xcores.org (which seems to be down at the moment but an older version here.

      No the Xmos chip doesn’t have enough memory to run even the smallest version of Linux.

      • Ángel del Río Medina says:


        I have some doubts about your project:

        -Is Xarduino independent? or need I an Arduino to make it work?

        – What is the graphic resolution?

        – What is the complete name of the chip Xmos? Where can I buy it?

        – What tools should I use for programming it?

        – I have been looking at the file https://www.xcore.com/projects/vdp-1
        Does it work with Xarduino or should I modificate it?

        A greeting and thank you very much for your attention and answers


  7. Iker says:

    Hi Angel, I’m interested in xarduino and
    your posts come to my inbox, I’ll try to
    answer your doubts but please try to read
    more before asking next time, some of your
    questions where previously answered on this

    It uses XS1-L1 chip from XMOS
    you can buy it from digikey for example.

    You need Xmos XTAG2 tool, read
    February 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm post grom zuzebox
    Software development tools are free.

    Vdp-1 You should modificate it but probably
    not much.

    Puppylinux is a full x86 linux distro it won’t
    work. uClinux based distros won’t work on current
    xmos chips.

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