To put it briefly, an Arduino is an open hardware development board that makers, hobbyists, and tinkerers can use to create and construct objects that interact with the physical world. While “Arduino” refers to a particular type of board design, it can also be used to describe a business that produces a particular version of these boards. It is also frequently used to refer to the community surrounding compatible boards produced by other people or businesses that perform similarly.
How is an Arduino constructed?
The circuit board of an Arduino contains a variety of parts that interface with one another. The layout has evolved over time, and some variations now include additional components. However, a basic board is likely to contain the following components:
There are several pins that can be used to connect the Arduino to different components. There are two types of these pins:
digital pins that only have two possible states: on and off. Digital I/O pins on Arduinos typically number 14.
For more precise control, analogue pins, which can read a variety of values, are helpful. There are typically six of these analogue pins on an Arduino.
These pins are set up in a particular way so that if you purchase an add-on board made to fit into them, commonly referred to as a “shield,” it should fit into most Arduino-compatible devices without too much difficulty.
a power connector that supplies power to the device itself as well as a low voltage that, if the connected components’ power requirements are low enough, can power LEDs and various sensors. A small battery or an AC adapter can be connected to the power connector.
The Arduino’s main chip, called a microcontroller, enables programming so that you can programme it to carry out commands and make decisions based on various inputs. Depending on the type of Arduino you purchase, the precise chip may vary, but they are typically Atmel controllers, typically an ATmega8, ATmega168, ATmega328, ATmega1280, or ATmega2560. Although there are minor differences between these chips, a novice will mostly notice the variations in onboard memory sizes.
On most newer boards, a standard USB port serves as the serial connector. With the help of this connector, you can communicate with the board from your computer and download new software for it. A USB port can frequently be used to power Arduinos, eliminating the need for a separate power source.
A number of other minor parts, such as an oscillator and/or a voltage regulator, which are crucial to the board’s functionality but which you typically don’t interact with directly; just be aware that they are there.
How do I make an Arduino work?
The majority of Arduino enthusiasts will opt to use the official integrated development environment (IDE) for the Arduino, particularly when they first start out. The Arduino IDE is free software that is written in Java and can be used with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The IDE gives you the ability to write code in a unique environment with syntax highlighting and other features that make coding simpler, and then you can quickly load your code onto the device with just a few clicks.
Typically, Wiring, a programming language based on Processing, is used to create Arduino code. Visit the official documentation for more information on getting started with Arduino programming.
How can I find out more?
Here at Opensource, we’ve written articles on a variety of tools and projects that use the Raspberry Pi for research, education, and plain old fun. Several of our favourites are as follows:
Can’t decide between a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino? Ruth Suehle explains some of the variations and what might be useful to you in making a choice.
Want to use your Arduino to manage a powerful device? Bob Monroe examines a shield for a DC motor.
Have you considered using the Arduino to read from nearby devices? You can learn the fundamentals of using RFID tags with the Arduino from Luis Ibanez.
Getting going? Take a look at an Arduino starter kit right here.
Looking for fresh project inspiration? Six favourites are compiled by Alex Sanchez for Arduino Day.
Do you ever wonder how it all began? To find out more about the history of the tiny device, look at the Arduino making video.
For even more articles, be sure to browse the Opensource.com tag for Arduino.