The Grove system has various sensors and boards that to me all appear to be I2C-based, with a standard connector shape/size added to them - however I am not sure if this is exactly true or not - is there any way to find out? are the specifications different somehow?

For example, looking at the hub for it

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I don't see any special circuitry or anything, and it claims to be an I2C hub - is it really just a form factor on top of the I2C interface?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think "I2C hub" qualifies as an oxymoron. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Jun 4, 2015 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pretty sure it's i2c the connectors are labeled with i2c signal names. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattYoung Maybe if they buffered bus capacitance (which they don't in this case) they could call it a "hub". \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That looks like just a breakout board. Put I2C on one connector and it parallels to the other 3. Your system must use I2C and that is used to connect all the boards together. \$\endgroup\$
    – I. Wolfe
    Jun 4, 2015 at 17:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can connect multiple i2c devices on the same bus this looks like it's just a fancy way of wiring a bunch of slaves and masters together so just passive like you say. The word hub is used loosely here... \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


The Grove System is a physical standardization of various electrical interfaces including but not limited to I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO, and analog connections. The Grove base shield is an Arduino 1.0 shield used to connect various peripherals to an Arduino-compatible mainboard.

Note that all Grove connectors are physically identical regardless of their purpose.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the last sentence: "...connectors are physically identical regardless of their purpose". \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might I ask what the source of this is? (I agree, it certainly appears that way... ), but it seems there are multiple "base shields", for example this Ti board supports 3 grove connectors, there seems to be an rPi version, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2813274: The stupid link didn't go through for some reason. But "shields" are Arduino, TI has "BoosterPacks", BB has "capes", RPi has... something else. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ The url is this: ti.com/tool/cc-devpack-debug or the "Ti SensorTag Debugger DevPack" - (actually I wanted to use the Ti board, but without all the Grove nonsense - I can do my own wiring/soldering if that's all there is to it..) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ My link. And the Grove BoosterPack is here. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 17:21

I would call this a "splitter". "Hub" implies active circuitry (like USB hub or Ethernet hub).

For the most part, this Grove business is a bunch or peripheral boards with standardized connectors and somewhat standardized pinouts.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Funny, a Ethernet hub can be completely passive. And a usb hub works more like a switch than a hub. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Jun 4, 2015 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ As @Passerby mentions, traditionally Ethernet hubs were passive coaxial ports. Then 10baseT came along and the hubs now needs some simple retransmit circuit because 10baseT can't be multi-tapped. Then came switches. These days almost all ethernet "boxes" are switches even though some are labeled hubs. And some switches actually have router capabilities. I haven't seen a real hub since 2005. Traditionally, the difference between a splitter and a hub is the number of splits - 2 and it's a splitter 4 or more and it's a hub. If it's split 3 ways then it depends on the person you're talking to \$\endgroup\$
    – slebetman
    Jun 5, 2015 at 3:13

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