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With the onset of the tech-driven era, human minds have never failed to impress the world. Technology has become the new support system of human beings right after natural resources. It is quite evident and crystal clear how conveniently we are changing for the good. Technology has undoubtedly given a modern lifestyle to the humans.
With technology comes one of the essential contributions of electronics. Without it, technology would not have been the same. Our daily life comprises electronics, be it starting your day with a coffee machine or ending it with a good night text on your mobile phone. Therefore, not taking into consideration the magic of electronics will be unfair. Almost everything around you is a gift of electronics.
One such useful creation is of Arduino. It is an amazing integration of hardware and software useful to create a link between your computer anda real world. Let’s get into the world of Arduino and explore what more it has to offer.
Arduino – what is it?
Arduino is a popular open-source platform supported and based on electronics concepts. It is commonly used to interact with real world through writing and uploading code on it. It has a merging power of hardware for development and software for programming. The term can be used to define the physical boards or the organization behind the manufacturing of boards and various accessories.
In a general context, it is often understood as a microcontroller containing multiple parts and interfaces altogether on a single chip. Imagine just a small device serving you with an interactive experience via programming. It sounds interesting, right? Well, let’s thank the dynamic duo behind its creation – Massimo Banzi and David Cuartiellas.
What does it do?
The term is new and innovative, so are its applications. The definition is quite self-explanatory as to what an Arduino does. However, let’s discuss in detail in order to understand and appreciate what it has to offer.
The basic idea behind developing this device was to bring in the picture the artists, developers, hobbyists, designers or minds interested in interactive systems. This goal was achieved and today we have amongst us an easy and portable programmable device that can create an interactive environment for a various mass of people. The environment that it provides is called Integrated Development Environment which is easily executable on your computer devices.
To see what an Arduino can do, you just need to send few instructions as input to the microcontroller fixed on board and it will convert that to the desired output. Input might include lighting on sensor and output might be an LED pattern. It can interact with a plethora of electronic equipment giving rise to great projects.
Let’s get into the basics of the Arduino family which comprises the following.
If you remember the definition of Arduino you can infer what an Arduino board is. As discussed earlier in the section, an Arduino is a development, prototyping and open- source board. The board designs vary with respect to purpose, ease and effectiveness. It is broadly used to read given inputs and transition it into required outputs. The board resembles a microcontroller with numerous integrated parts fixed on it along with the IDE.
Listed down are the various types of Arduino boards used according to their abilities-
- Arduino UNO(R3)
- LilyPad Arduino
- Red Board
- Arduino Mega(R3)
- Arduino Micro
- Arduino Leonardo
- Arduino Nano
- Arduino Due
Amongst all the boards, the Arduino UNO has established a special place in the Arduino family. It is the most popular and used board in numerous electronic projects. These boards are easy to program and give you the liberty to create your project.
Arduino is a convenient and easy prototyping board that can be programmed. This device can’t work efficiently without the essential components. There are numerous components and parts that are required along with Arduino boards. Without them, your circuit will be incomplete and you won’t get the desired output.
The following are the general accessories that an Arduino requires –
- USB cables
- Power port for power supply
- Digital pins
- Analog pins
- Crystal oscillators
- 2/3 pin couplers
- General-purpose PCB
- Voltage regulator
- Serial connector
The above-mentioned components are a basic utility that an Arduino usually requires. Once you start your journey with Arduino you will come across more advanced accessories and tools.
The arduino based projects have been a buzz in the technology market lately. Every engineer is curious to try the interesting concept of arduino. Well, in that cas, the arduino manufacturers have been very kind to this thought and have introduced arduino kits.
Just like any other kit, arduino kits are a collection of all the essential equipment and components one will require in an arduino project.
The arduino enthusiasts willing to begin their arduino journey are being blessed with a starter kit.
The starter kit may vary from board to boards but in general, it is believed to have the following components in common.
- Arduino board (UNO, Mega, Micro, etc)
- USB cables
- Ceramic capacitor
- DC motor
- 40x pin header
The arduino kit includes most of the components we discussed in the accessories section.
We have understood the importance of boards, accessories and kits. For a beginner in an arduino project, arduino shields will be quite a common term.
Electronics component and programming might sound scary to all the newbies out there but remember what we mentioned about arduino. It is a great, easy to use and a pretty useful platform. What justifies our statement is nothing but Arduino shields. Yes, to make the arduino environment user-friendly and convenient, shields simplifies all the complexities as far as hardware is concerned. Besides hardware, you will also find software simplicity provided by programming libraries.
In simple words, arduino shields look after the functionalities and their expansion. They are not very different from boards in design. These are plugged onto the top of arduino boards in pin headers to maximize the capabilities and functionalities of it. They are often referred to as printed circuit boards. They are made to provide assistance in complex connections like Ethernet, 3d printing, LCDs etc.
Some of the popular shields you can use are –
- Capacitive Touch-pad
- Smoke detector
- Negative voltage generation
- GPS logger
Arduino – why use it?
Coming so far, do you still wonder why arduino should be your choice? Well, there always exist two varieties of mind- yes and no. In all honesty, I am pretty sure after going through the advantages of arduino, the later will change their mind. However, it is always appreciated to be well-informed about equipment beforehand rather than regretting later. So, here we present you the details and convincing reasons after which you will use arduino again and again.
Open – source : extensible hardware/software
When compared to other microcontroller platforms, the arduino platform is completely open-sourced which enables programming expertise to extend or contribute their codes and innovations. With hardware as well, under the Creative Commons license, interested and experienced designers can extend the module versions or make something of their own.
Moderate price and inexpensive
The inexpensive nature of arduino makes it one of the preferred electronic devices. You do not have to invest a lot of money on arduino boards. Just a few bucks and your work can be done assuring the best quality.
Friendly programming environment
This is the topmost convincing reason that newbies are attracted to arduino. The IDE makes working with arduino easy and fun even for people with a non-electronics background.
Executable on various platforms
If you look out for other microcontrollers, most of them might be limited to one platform. However, arduino’s IDE is easily executable over multiple platforms making it a cross-platform wonder.
Arduino – how to use it?
In this article, you might have constantly come across the word ‘IDE’. Well, it is something that makes arduino a complete worthy product. To use arduino you need to program it. The programming feature in arduino is provided by a dedicated environment called Integrated Development Environment.
The beginners are recommended to look for the IDE whenever they start with arduino. The Arduino IDE is software that provides you an environment to write, modify and execute your code. It is open-source and cross-platform software supported by programming language, JAVA.
It provides you with syntax highlighting and attractive UI which makes your coding experience fun and joyful. You are required to finish your code and load it carefully onto your device by clicking some buttons. Yureka, your task will be done provided the connections and codes are error-free.