Getting GIFs onto the Filesystem

Alright so now you want your own favorite animations to show up, right? The fun part is getting those files onto your Arcada board. There's two options

  • In the previous step, select using SD card storage UF2 then create a folder called /gifs on an SD card that is FAT formatted, and put your GIFs in there. Pop it into your SD card slot and you're good to go!
  • Use the default QSPI flash storage, which you can access via the computer USB port if you use our pre-compiled code or compile with TinyUSB support

Format QSPI with CircuitPython

For QSPI, you need to have it 'formatted' as a CircuitPython filesystem. The easiest way to do that is to load CircuitPython. You only have to do this once, then you can load more gifs or remove them over USB

(If you have an SD Card just format it with an SD card writer/reader on your computer)

You only have to do this process once to format it, but its a fast way to get your board set up and create the gifs directory + maybe add a few gifs

Start with your folder of GIFs

With your board running the animated GIF Arduino code, plug it into USB and then double-click to launch the bootloader.


Grab CURRENT.UF2 from the xxxxBOOT drive and drag onto your gifs folder on your computer, making a backup of your Arduino firmware

Visit and download the latest firmware for your board as a UF2

Now drag the circuitpython.UF2 onto xxxxBOOT, which will replace the Arduino code with CircuitPython runtime.

Your gifs folder now has two UF2s - CURRENT.UF2 and circuitpython.UF2 (with the version info)

In a few moments you'll get a CIRCUITPY drive, this may contain circuitpython code, files, etc. This is the 8 MB Flash storage on the board, available as a disk drive


Now's a good time to create a folder called gifs on the CIRCUITPY drive if you have not done so

Drag all the GIFs you want to display into the CIRCUITPY/gifs folder

Once you're done, you can re-load the GIF code by double-clicking the reset button again, to launch the PORTALBOOT bootloader drive, then dragging the backup you made before, CURRENT.UF2 back on.


The board will automatically reboot into GIF playing mode!

Loading GIFs onto QSPI / SD over USB

Arduino doesn't have the ability to access both the SD and QSPI at the same time (because they both have a File type and are incompatible) so we can't copy files from SD to QSPI easily.

However Arduino can be convinced to show the QSPI or SD as USB mass storage, so you can have it show up as a disk drive.

For QSPI, you need to have it 'formatted' as a CircuitPython filesystem. The easiest way to do that is to load CircuitPython. You only have to do this once, as shown above.

For SD, format using any USB SD card formatter dongle.

You must have the board plugged into USB with a Data/Sync Cable then press the reset button. You should see a disk drive appear. It may be called CIRCUITPY or USB Disk (you can rename it if you like)

You can explore the disk, if it doesn't yet contain a gifs folder, please make one now - then put a bunch of gifs in it!

When you're done, be sure to Eject the disk - it wont disappear but it will flush/save all your gif data so it doesn't get corrupted

This guide was first published on Mar 20, 2019. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Loading GIFs) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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