- Yes, It has a Potentiometer on the board ... but that wasn't the primary reason.
- The Shield Headers allow you to attach shields ON TOP ... BIG reason #1
- The ICSP Headers are in the correct place for Arduino Shields ... BIG reason #2
So, why is this important if you are going to use it as a Prototyping shield, you want it to be the one on top, so you can access everything... right? Well... yes, typically. But here are the benefits to me...
- I have a pcDuino with a T Board to bridge 5V Arduino shields (the pcDuino only wants 3.3V shields used, the T Board allows 5V shields without damaging the pcDuino). It has ICSP headers, but they aren't in the standard location for Arduino shields. The MakerShield fixes that, I can attach this to the T Board and then attach a shield that has the ICSP connection, and I'm good-to-go.
- I also have an Arduino UNO clone from doflye.net (Chinese). Bought it for about $4.00 on eBay. After replacing the chip with the correct one for UNO (instead of the one that was included with it ,.. another $2.00 expense), I found that the ICSP headers on this board were rotated 180%!!!! (i.e not compatible with standard Arduino shields at all), and it's offset just a tad from the Standard Arduino.position too. The MakerShield fixes that too. I can now just attach the MakerShield to the clone, then attach a shield that has an ICSP connection, and, again, good-to-go. I tried it with my USB Host Shield and it worked like a charm.
To me, the MakerShield is a benefit in a couple of ways ... plus it's a nice Prototyping shield too ... it works for my Arduino (including fixing a problem with a clone I purchased), pcDuino (fixing the ICSP header location on the T-Board) and my Netduino too (it doesn't even have ICSP headers ... this Shield is the recommended way to resolve that too!).
Keep in mind, that it does come as a kit, you need to dig out the tools and soldering iron to put it together. But once you do, I think you'll find it's a nice addition.