Everything You Need To Know About Arduino
When we, as students & electronic engineers, think about various IoT, embedded systems, and remote working projects, Arduino is the first thing that comes to our mind. This electronic gadget gained momentum and widespread popularity in the electronic market over the past few years. But do you know why? We can use Arduino for motion sensor systems, temperature control, sprinkler control, garage door control, etc. We can also use it in theft detection at the enterprise level & various other professional or personal purposes.
This article is a comprehensive guide on Arduino board, Arduino kit, and Arduino Uno, their benefits, usage, and how to install or use them. Also, if you are one of those who find creating electronic circuits interesting or wish to learn about Arduino boards but find it intimidating at the same time, this article will help.
What is Arduino?
Arduino is an electronic board and an open-source platform that simplifies electronic system use through easy-to-use hardware and software. It makes creating electronic gadgets easy for newbies yet flexible enough so that more learned professionals can use them for intensive projects. The design of Arduino is such that it makes use of electronic board more accessible to designers, artists, IT professionals, hobbyists, etc. Individuals or enterprises inclined to create interactive objects or environments can leverage this Arduino board.
Since Arduino hardware or the board is open source, we can produce a derivative of the board. We can also build a new product based on Arduino's design. But, to save time & effort, we can purchase Arduino online or in any electronics store.
An Arduino board that comes pre-assembled will comprise a microcontroller programmed using Arduino programming language. It also comes with an Arduino development environment. The Arduino programming language is comparable to C and C++ programming. Arduino boards are also popular because of the easy-to-understand documentation with knowledge-rich guides on various aspects. Its official website also features information & guide on making a good Arduino-style API along with official Arduino libraries to make Arduino-based gadgets quickly.
History of Arduino
In 2005, two Italian engineers, David Cuartielles & Massimo Banzi, created Arduino. The boards were designed with the needs of the students in mind, making them easy to learn and program. Arduino boards improve skills in electronics and use them in real-world & practically realizable projects. Their focus was to ease the integration of multiple sensors and electronic components and easily input a variety of sensors. These sensors include ultrasound, accelerometer, pressure sensor, photoresistors, pressure sensors, gas sensors, motion sensor, moisture and sound sensors, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages of Arduino
The Arduino company designed it to make microcontrollers accessible to everyone as a simpler version. The electronic board, along with its libraries & API, also bridges the gap between the real and programming worlds. The Arduino kit and the board come with numerous advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we will address them one by one.
- Ease to use: Anyone can learn to use Arduino. A novice with little or no programming knowledge can start using it & create a project using it. Arduino boards are plug-and-play electronic units with a straightforward and minimalistic hardware interface. Also, the Arduino website has documentation for the Arduino language, the board, and other open-source systems that it provides. All these make Arduino easy to learn & use.
- Inexpensive & readily available: Arduino boards come at a cheaper cost, and anyone can afford them. We can start using it by downloading and using the development tool (IDE) that is freely available.
- For learners, these boards are effective as we can easily use the board for one project by connecting the wires and removing them after completing the project. We can integrate affordable sensors based on project requirements. Thus, a single board is enough to work on multiple projects due to their reusability.
- Support cross-platform project development: The term cross-platform means something that can work on multiple operating systems and system architecture. Arduino does not limit itself to Windows. We can develop Arduino projects on Linux and macOS. Unlike any other microcontroller, we can run Arduino development IDE on any operating system. Hence Arduino is more flexible.
- Open-source software and hardware: Arduino projects take advantage of open source. Thus, students and professionals can create, redesign, modify, and update the version of the board and the software to create flexible projects. Users do not have to worry about licensing and other stuff. Experienced professionals can redesign and make Arduino-based products. The open-source IDEs and libraries also help make projects more flexible and easy to use.
- Tons of libraries: Since we use Arduino boards to create projects to measure motion sensor systems, control temperature, control water sprinkles, manage garage doors remotely, etc., these projects require different sensors. To control this using programming language, Arduino has multiple libraries that help to control & leverage sensors, motors and modules. We can easily extend the functionality of an Arduino board using these pre-designed libraries. These libraries come with pre-defined functions. They help users play with the hardware and various connectors associated with the Arduino kit.
- Lacks multitasking: Arduino microcontrollers and processors can perform a single program at a time. Other similar electronic boards, like Raspberry Pi, offer multitasking abilities. Multiple processing cores increase the programming efficiency, which is deficient in the Arduino board.
What is an Arduino kit?
If you are interested in electronics and programming, the Arduino kit, also called the Arduino starter kit, can be the best toolkit for simple projects. It will help you dive into electronics & code-based project development. As the name suggests, it is a collection of various electronic components that can be used to build digital or electronic devices. It is a DIY (Do It Yourself) kit, meaning anyone can start working using it. Even non-engineering students and designers from art & cultural backgrounds can use these Arduino kits. This kit helps anyone understand the fundamentals of current, voltage, programming, and digital logic.
Evelta is a leading online electronic components distributor in India. They have a massive collection of electronic products & components, including semiconductors, capacitors, sensors, resistors, connectors, boards, relays, and modules available for same-day shipping. So, if you are looking for additional electronic circuits and systems for your Arduino project, try Evelta.
What is Arduino Uno?
It is a popular Arduino board that operates on the ATmega328p, ATmega16U2, or other similar microcontrollers. The microcontroller is the heart of this Arduino UNO board. The board contains a set of analog and digital I/O (input-output) pins to connect the board to other devices or components.
Arduino UNO features a valuable addition to the electronics world by providing a USB interface (for charging supply), fourteen digital I/O pins (out of them, 6 Pins are for PWM), and six analog pins. It also allows three communication protocols named Serial, I2C and SPI protocol. Arduino UNO R3 is currently the most popular version. The Arduino UNO price starts from Rs. 900. The Arduino UNO price on Amazon is Rs. 1,099. The board provides regular bug fixes and incorporates innovative chips to make the board suitable for multiple project use.
Fig: Arduino UNO R3 (Rev3) Circuit Diagram (Image Source: arduino.cc)
Where do we use Arduino UNO boards?
Students and hobbyists often use Arduino UNO boards because they are easy to use on multiple projects of different forms (personal and professional purposes). Here are some projects and situations that often leverage Arduino UNO boards.
- We often leverage Arduino boards in home-based automation projects. Arduino UNO boards can be used to implement projects like automatic switching on of lights, fans and other equipment upon us entering a room. Even remote control and management of home appliances can be made with just Arduino boards, smartphones, and the internet.
- Other than personal purposes, Arduino boards also help with professional grounds. We can use Arduino for the traffic light countdown timer. Based on sensors, we can also program it to manage light intensity in traffic lights based on the sun's rays. Based on the sunlight's power, it will automatically adjust the traffic light's intensity.
- Weighing machines employed in grocery shops while buying products and food items also use Arduino boards. It features a sensor that can measure the weights. The output line remains connected to a digital display panel that shows the figure based on the programming set to it.
- Today all enterprises across various sectors have inclined towards automation. Thus various tasks like counting the number of workers in factories, checking the temperature in industries & factories, the sound measurement from manufacturing units, etc., get measured automatically using industrial automation solutions.
- We can also see the use of Arduino UNO boards in different situations, like emergency lights in railways, parking lot counters, medical instruments, garage room automation, temperature control systems within companies, sprinkler control, etc.
Features of Arduino UNO
Arduino is known for its simplicity and universal usage. Here is a list of notable features of Arduino UNO.
- Arduino UNO boards have chips placed that remain directly plugged into the USB port. It acts as a virtual type serial port like the computer systems. Because of it, communication with computer systems becomes smooth.
- Because of the USB interface, the Arduino board works like a serial device. The USB port helps the board connect to other interfaces or acts as a DC power to the board.
- The ATMega328 in Arduino UNO is cost-effective and easy to use. The board comprises additional components like timers, PWM pins, external interrupts, internal interrupts, and various states of sleep modes.
- All the pins within the board work like an oscillator. They have a frequency of around 16 MHz. These pins can help in creating numerous projects & is beneficial for most applications. The microcontroller's speed does not change throughout.
- Arduino UNO comes with different types of pins (containing thirteen digital & six analog-type pins). The pins provide certain functionalities to the board and help connect multiple digital and analog hardware & components to it. We can also increase the computing capability using these pins.
- The Arduino board features a total of 32 KB of flash memory. Within it, we can store the data.
- Arduino board comes with built-in LED light fitted with it. It makes the debugging process straightforward and enables finding any bug in the code.
How to install the Arduino?
There are two options for installation.
1. You should have a reliable internet connection. Use the online IDE (Arduino Web Editor). You can save the sketches in the cloud rather than backing them in devices. If we use the online mode for installation, we will always have the up-to-date version of the IDE. Also, we do not have to install updates or community-generated libraries because they will remain pre-installed.
2. If you use the offline mode for installation, you must install the latest version of the desktop IDE.
Popular pins & buttons in Arduino UNO
- USB - B Socket: It connects the board to the computer for firmware loading. It also powers the Arduino.
- ICSP Pins: They help in programming microcontrollers.
- Reset Button: This tactile switch resets the ATMega328 microcontroller.
- USB-TTL Interface Chip: Helps to communicate with any computer.
- Crystal Oscillator/ Ceramic resonator: It works as a clock source and determines the speed of the microcontroller.
- Digital and Analog I/O: Used to connect input-output devices to & from the board.
We hope this article serves as a comprehensive guide on Arduino boards, Arduino kits,Arduino UNO prices, and various features and benefits of Arduino. If you want to build any electronic, IoT, or programming-based project, you can find almost all electronic components in Evelta.