What is Arduino? Beginner's Guide

Today, Arduino become a very important and popular electronic component. Basically, it is an open-source electronics platform where you can create varieties of projects. It is involved in various projects related to automation.

If you know very little about this Arduino then this article is for you. In this article, you will learn some basic aspects of Arduino. Later we will discuss them in more detail. Here, you will learn

1. What is Arduino?
2. Arduino Uno board description
3. Types of Arduino.

What Is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform in which different types of electronics projects are built. The Arduino is able to read input (like light on a sensor, a finger on a button, etc) and turn into an output (like activating a motor, turning on an LED light, etc).

What is Arduino

It consists of both hardware and software. You can write your own code on your computer using c and c++ language and can upload it to the Arduino board by using a USB cable.

And also you can remove the program and reprogram it. That means you can create varieties of projects by using a single Arduino board.

Over the year Arduino has been used in different projects and in another way it is the brain of thousands of projects.

Arduino Uno Board Description

What is Arduino

1. USB plug:

The Arduino board can be programmed by using the USB cable from your computer. Just you need to do is connect the USB cable to the USB plug. And also the board can be powered by using this USB plug.

2. External power supply:

The Arduino board can be powered directly supplying a 9-12 volt dc main power supply by using a barrel jack.

3. Voltage regulator:

To regulate the external voltage the board contains a 7805 voltage regulator which is shown beside the external power supply. This 7805 voltage regulator manages through the processor and other elements.

4. Crystal oscillator:

The crystal oscillator is used for handling the time signal issues. For using it the Arduino is able to calculate the time. There is a number(16.000H9H) printed on the top of the crystal. the number tells us the frequency of the crystal which is 16MHz.

5. Reset button:

This reset button gives the privilege to reset your program which means you can start your program from the beginning. There are two ways you can restart the whole program.

At first, by using the default button, and secondly, by connecting your own reset button at the pin labeled as reset.

6. Power pins(VIN, 3.3V, 5V, and GND):

There are the following output voltage pins -

VIN - This input voltage you can provide by pin at the pin labeled or by using an external power source( USB connection or another regulated power source).

3.3V pin - 3.3V supply output 

5V pin - 5V supply output 

GND - Ground pins

7. Analog I/O pins:

The Arduino board has 6 analog input pins(A0 to A5). These pins can read the signal from the analog sensors( like temperature, proximity, and humidity sensor) and convert it into a digital value that can be read by the microprocessor.

8. Digital I/O pins:

The Arduino board has 14 digital I/O pins where 6 pins provide PWM( Pulse Width Modulation) output. These digital pins can be configured to read logic values(like 0 and 1) or can give digital output for different modules such as LEDs, Relays, etc.

In the pins labeled, there is a symbol "∿" corresponding to the pins to show PWM output.

9. Microcontroller:

The Arduino board contains an IC( Integrated circuit) chip which is slightly different from board to board. Usually, an IC chip called ATmega328 is used in the Arduino board which is made from ATMEL company.

You can say a microcontroller is the brain of all Arduino boards. At first, you must know the IC type of your Arduino board before loading up a new program from the Arduino software. The information is available on the top side of the IC.

What is Arduino

10. Power LED indicator:

In the Arduino board, the L symbol is used for the power LED indicator. This LED should light up when you connect the power source to the Arduino board that means it is used as an indicator.

If the light does not turn on then there is something wrong with the connection. Then you need to recheck your circuit.

11. TX, RX LEDs:

TX LED: The TX is short for transmitting. This light flashes at different speeds while sending the serial data.

RX LED: The RX is short for receive. This light flashes while the Arduino receives data.

12. ICSP pin:

ICSP stands for in-circuit serial programming that is used for programming the Arduino board.

Usually, an Arduino bootloader program is used to program an Arduino board, but if the bootloader is damaged then ICSP can be used. This ICSP is used to restore a missing or damaged bootloader.

13. AREF:

AREF means analog reference. In the Arduino board, AREF is used to feed the Arduino a reference voltage (0 to 5 volt) from an external source.

Types Of Arduino

There are different types of Arduino boards are used for different types of projects such as

1. Arduino Uno (R3)
2. LilyPad Arduino
3. Redboard Arduino
4. Arduino Leonardo
5. Arduino Mega (R3)

What is Arduino

1. Arduino Uno(R3):

The Arduino Uno is the best board to start your first electronic project. It is the most used and documented board in the Arduino family. In the series of USB Arduino boards, Arduino Uno is the first board and a reference model for the Arduino platform.

It consists of a microcontroller that is based on the ATmega328P, 14 input/output pins, 16 MHz quartz crystal, a USB connection, a power jack, Aan ICSP header, and a reset button. All those things about Arduino Uno are already discussed above. Here you will learn about other types of Arduino.

2. LilyPad Arduino:

The LilyPad Arduino is a circular type board designed for e-textiles and wearables projects. It consists of a microcontroller that is based on the ATmega168V or ATmega328V. And it can be powered by a USB connection or other external power supply.

It should provide an external power supply a DC voltage between 2.7V and 5.5V. Don't power with more than 5.5 volts, or plug the power in backward otherwise, it will damage your boards.

Technical information

MicrocontrollerATmega168 or ATmega328V
Operating Voltage2.7-5.5 V
Input Voltage2.7-5.5 V
Digital I/O Pins14
PWM Channels6
Analog Input Channels6
DC Current per I/O Pin40 mA
Flash Memory16 KB (of which 2 KB used by bootloader)
EEPROM512 bytes
Clock Speed8 MHz

3. Redboard Arduino:

Redboard Arduino is looking and acts like an Arduino Uno but it is slightly modified to make the board batter-suited to our purposes. It can be powered via either USB or barrel jack connectors. It should provide an external power supply a DC voltage between 7V and 15V.

Another feature of Redboard Arduino is it consists of shields in hundred of forms, and they can add GPS, WiFi, MP3 decoding, and all short of other functionality to your Arduino.

4. Arduino Leanardo:

The Arduino Leonardo consists of a microcontroller that is based on ATmega32u4. And it has 20 digital input/output pins(Where 7 PWM outputs pins and 12 analog inputs pins), 16 MHz quartz crystal, a micro USB connection, a power jack, Aan ICSP header, and a reset button. It should provide an external power supply a DC voltage between 2.7V and 11.8V(LV version) or 5V to 36V(SV version).

5. Arduino Mega(R3):

The Arduino Mega(R3) is designed for more complex projects. It consists of a microcontroller that is based on ATmega2560, 54 digital input/output pins, 16 analog input pins, 4 UARTs(hardware serial port) 16 MHz quartz crystal, a USB connection, a power jack, Aan ICSP header, and a reset button.

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