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Arduino tutorial: Arduino: beginners guide

There was a time when playing with hardware like microprocessors, controllers or sensors was only possible for a couple of engineers with deep knowledge about the topic. Fortunately, that time ended when platforms like Arduino were born and quickly spread around the maker community. In this Arduino tutorial for begginers I’ll guide you from your first steps with Arduino. Let’s start!

What is Arduino?

Is it a programming language? or some kind of hardware? There is lot of confusion about this topic as Arduino is both hardware and software electronics platform.

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software – Arduino Foundation

On one side, the open-source platform is based on Arduino boards equipped with:

  • Microprocessors and controllers (mostly Atmel 8-bit AVR microcontroller)
  • Sets of flash memories
  • Digital and analog input/output (I/O) pins
  • Communications interfaces, including Universal Serial Bus (USB)

There are different models of Arduino boards that vary their components depending on their size or what they are designed for.

Arduino what is it. Begginers guide.

On the other side, the bootloader included inside the microcontroller allows us to upload programs to the flash memory. We can program using the Arduino programming language to make the programs that tell the board what to do.

This can be really easy using Arduino Software (IDE), which automatically detects Arduino board connected the USB and compiles and load the written program in the board.

Advantages

Initially designed for fast prototyping, the platform has evolved due to its numerous advantages:

  • Cheap: one of the cheapest platforms in the market.
  • Open Source software and hardware.
  • Available cross-platform: Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
  • Easy to use and fast to prototype.

Arduino software IDE

As we said before, we’ll use the Arduino IDE to write programs and upload them to the board. There are 2 possible options:

online IDE (Arduino Web Editor)

This method is probably the easiest one as you don’t need no install any software. Moreover, the Web Editor will keed your sketches and make them available from anywhere. To use the online editor go to https://create.arduino.cc/editor and follow the instructions (you can find the official tutorial here).

Arduino Desktop IDE

If you don’t have a good Internet connection this is your choice. The IDE will allow you to write, compile and load your programs to the board. It also provides multiple code examples. You can download the IDE from the following links: Windows | Linux | Mac OS X

Your first program

The Arduino tutorial can’t be finished without explaining how to develop your first program. In this case, we’ll blink a LED connected to a digital pin of our Arduino board.

First of all, the components we need are:

  • Arduino board (in this case we are using Arduino UNO)
  • LED
  • 220 ohm resistor

The image below shows how the circuit should be:

 

ExampleCircuit_bbExampleCircuit_sch

To achieve this you will need to do the following connections:

  • one end of the resistor to the digital pin
  • the long leg of the LED (the positive leg, called the anode) to the other end of the resistor
  • the short leg of the LED (the negative leg, called the cathode) to the GND

Finally, you’ll need to write and compile the following code in the IDE:

<br />// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board<br />void setup() {<br />// initialize digital pin 13 as an output.<br />pinMode(13, OUTPUT);<br />}</p>
<p>// the loop function runs over and over again forever<br />void loop() {<br />digitalWrite(13, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)<br />delay(1000); // wait for a second<br />digitalWrite(13, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW<br />delay(1000); // wait for a second<br />}</p>
<p>

Conclusion

In this Arduino tutorial we have explained what is Arduino, covered the basics about the platform and developed our first program. I hope you liked this quick introduction to the Arduino platform. Feel free to ask any question or make any proposal for new articles related with the topic. Hope to see you in the following chapters!

 

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