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Everything You Need to Know About Arduino

Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform used for building electronics projects. It consists of both a physical programmable circuit board and a software, or IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that runs on your computer, where you can write and upload the computer code to the physical board.

Arduino was born at the Ivrea Interaction Design Institute as an easy tool for fast prototyping. Initially, it was aimed at students without a background in electronics and programming, but now, it is considered to be a great tool for people of all skill levels. The Arduino hardware and software was designed for artists, designers, hobbyists, hackers, newbies, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

The Arduino board started adapting to the new needs and challenges, differentiating it from simple 8-bit boards to products for IoT applications, wearable, 3D printing, and embedded environments. Arduino can interact with buttons, LEDs, motors, speakers, GPS units, cameras, the internet, and even your smart-phone or your TV.

Why Arduino

  • It can be programmed with C++ language.
  • Arduino Uno uses a different USB chip which makes installation of the Arduino software lot easier.
  • Has higher speeds of communication with the computer.
  • Comes equipped with the ATmega328 Microcontroller, which has more memory.
  • The processor can be easily replaced if damaged.
  • Can supply more current on its 3.3V supply.

 

Why Kids Should Learn Arduino

  • Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform.
  • It is flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.
  • Kids can use this to make interactive objects quickly and easily for their school projects.
  • It will enhance their thinking and analytic skill set.

Why Arduino is Here to Stay

 

Arduino is here to stay! This is entirely due to its features that make it a huge hit. Let’s look at the features that makes it a permanent fixture:

 

The IDE Runs on Macs, Linux, and Windows

The IDE works on Macs and Linux, not just Windows. It’s based on a strong and well-supported backend, the open source gcc toolchain, and wrapped in Java, so porting is easy and bugs can be found and fixed.

Strong Community

There is a big community of smart people using and working on the IDE to keep it going strong. This is all because of its affordability and quality.

The Driver Work on Macs, Linux, and Windows

Like the IDE, the drivers work on Mac, Windows and Linux. the serial chip, a well understood interface, can be used for debugging as well as programming, and easily slots into software tools like Java, Python, Perl, C, NET, BASIC, Delphi, MAX/MSP, and PureData, Processing, etc.

Libraries to do Everything

There are numerous  object-wrapped libraries to do complex things, like writing to SD cards, LCD screens, parsing GPS, as well as libraries to do simple things, like twiddle pins or debounce buttons.

Light Weight and Runs on the Metal

The code runs directly on bare metal, with a well-tested and understood compiler. It’s not interpreted like .NET or BASIC. It’s fast, it’s small, it’s light weight, and the HEX file can be used to program fresh chips in bulk.

Sensors
The Arduino became a huge hit because of its analog-to-digital input. You can take data from sensors to measure light, temperature, using the Arduino. It also has ready-to-go SPI and I2C for digital sensors. This covers 99% of sensors on the market.

Simple 
Many dev boards are complex with a lot of added-on parts like LCDs, buttons, LEDs, 7-segments, etc. showing everything it can do. On the other hand, Arduino has the bare minimum. There are hundreds of Arduino shields, from LCD to Wi-Fi, but it’s entirely up to the user to add whatever he or she wants.

Thankfully, It’s Not Made by a Chip Maker

The board was not designed by a chip maker. This is important because, Chip makers often want to set themselves apart, so they add lot of things to differentiate themselves. The Arduino highlights commonalities between microcontrollers, not the differences. This means that the Arduino is a perfect beginner platform, meaning, everything you can do with an Arduino you can do with any other microcontroller.

Low Cost

You can get an Arduino even for $30, and eventually see one for a lesser price than this. In a market where most of the dev boards start at $50 and cost up to more than $100+, there is no doubt that Arduino is easily affordable as well as, there is no compromise on the quality.

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Arduino Variants

The Arduino comes in a variety of different types that make choosing the right one difficult to decide, but variety also allows for flexibility in choosing the perfect solution. Arduino makes several different boards, each with different capabilities. They are as follows:

Arduino Uno

The Uno is a great for beginners who are experimenting with Arduino. It provides a solid foundation for those just getting started and has a lot of the options to explore the platform. It also works with almost every shield available. It has 14 digital input/output, 6 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, a reset button and more. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.

Arduino Nano

The Nano is almost similar to Arduino Uno, but it is only about 1/3rd the size and cannot use shields easily. The Uno is meant to be used as a permanent fixture in projects or with breadboards for testing.

Arduino Lilypad

The Lilypad has a unique design where it can be sewn into fabrics for wearable projects or art. It was developed by Leah Buechley and cooperatively designed by Leah and SparkFun. Each LilyPad is designed with large connecting pads and a flat back to allow them to be sewn into clothing with conductive thread.

Arduino Mega 2560

The Arduino Mega 2560 is like the UNO’s big brother. It has more memory and more I/O pins than any other Arduino. It has 54 of digital input/output pins, 16 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started. This would also be a more expensive Arduino to leave in a project permanently.

RedBoard

The RedBoard can be programmed over a USB Mini-B cable using the Arduino IDE. It works on Windows 8 without having to change your security settings. It is also more stable due to the USB/FTDI chip and it’s completely flat on the back, making it easier to embed. You can power the RedBoard over USB or through the barrel jack.

The above-mentioned ones are just some of the variants available in the Arduino family.

Features of Arduino Uno

Arduino has became more popular controller because of its useful features. Arduino overcomes the drawbacks faced when using microcontrollers like 8051 and 8052. Arduino Uno gained popularity because of this features. The other benefits of Arduino Uno is as follows:

  • Easy Connectivity – It can be connected via USB slot.
  • Memory – Arduino Uno has 32 KB of memory. It comes with 2 KB of SRAM and 1 KB of EEPROM.
  • Clock Speed – The Clock speed of the Arduino is 16 Mhz, so it can perform a task faster than other processors or controllers.
  • USB Interface – The most important feature of Arduino Uno is its USB connectivity. Meaning, if we want to operate Arduino with a PC, we can do this using the USB.
  • Input / Output Voltage – The Arduino Uno can be powered via the USB connection or with an external power supply. If we are using external power then we can supply 6 to 20 volts.
  • Input / Output Pins – Each of the 14 digital pins on the Uno can be used as an input or output, 6 pins out of 14 can be used as PWM output and 6 pins can be used as analog pins.
  • Communication – The Arduino Uno board supports I2C and SPI communication.

We hope that we have given a clear picture of Arduino. We are looking forward for your comments in the comment section below. Apart from this, if you need any further clarifications, you can email us at [email protected]

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