The Arduino platform is the most versatile. Its possibilities, its simplicity of programming and its approach to the public of all kinds has allowed to give life to all kinds of experiments. There are those who have come to make advanced temperature control systems, as well as those who have decided to do the odd madness of the most surreal.
Things like a button that counts the daily WTF can be done thanks to the electronics and programming on this platform. But for those of you inexperienced, what is the best way to start? Here we are going to give some key tips to get started in Arduino , although we are going to make something very clear from the first moment: there are no shortcuts or privileges to master Arduino, you have to be constant and have a good system that takes you from scratch to create your own projects with Arduino.
How to get started with Arduino? Key tips
It must be clear that Arduino is not something unique . Anyone who is going to start in this field will come across a ton of boards, sensors, libraries and different components. Thanks to the popularity of Arduino, an ecosystem has been generated around it that allows you to manufacture practically anything. For this reason, one of the key points is the choice of the plate.
A board for a 3D printer is not the same as a board to create connected objects or the IoT. For the former, an Arduino MEGA is usually used and to have WiFi connectivity the most popular is the esp8266 . Be that as it may, they all work in a similar way. This is one of the advantages of the Arduino platform.
Now, if you are a beginner, the recommendation is to start with an Arduino UNO. It is the most popular and best-selling plate. It is the Arduino flagship but do I have to buy an original or a clone?
Arduino board, original or clone?
Arduino is the forerunner of free hardware. When we talk about free hardware we talk about sharing the electrical diagrams and documentation of that hardware. It is as if Apple gave the community and users the blueprints of their iPhone phones. What’s more, Arduino licenses allow you to replicate any board classified as free hardware and sell it at any price you want. Of course, the logo or the Arduino name cannot appear.
This has given rise to a large market for clone plates whose origin is usually China, although there are also plates from American companies such as Adafruit or Sparkfun. These boards are also clones but of the same quality as the original Arduinos.
Because Arduino also makes prototyping boards. So what is the difference between the Chinese clones and the original plates?
Apart from the price (there may be double or triple differences), the quality. There are clone boards that are not bad but the vast majority use poor quality components. That translates into problems when creating projects and programming the microcontroller.
But the really important thing when choosing an original or copy board is that if you buy an original one, you will be supporting the Arduino platform. Because Arduino is not only hardware, behind it there is a huge community with millions of visits a day to its website, support forums, documentation and an IDE to be able to program Arduino boards and other brands totally free since it is free software.
If we all stop buying original boards, Arduino disappears.
Arduino has a wide range of models such as Arduino UNO, Arduino MEGA or Arduino Nano. Choosing one or the other will depend on which project you need the plate for. If you are starting, I repeat that the best way to start is by using an Arduino UNO. You can buy an original for about € 20 and thus support the brand.
Is it recommended to start with an Arduino Kit?
Taking into account that you are going to start to get started in this world, it is best to start by buying an Arduino kit . Options like the Elegoo pack are highly recommended because, in addition to incorporating a clone board (this is of good quality), they come with a large number of sensors and components that sooner or later you will need in your projects. At the same time, he also buys an original Arduino UNO. It never hurts to have a reserve plate.
- At first you will use a few LEDs or resistors but later, rest assured that you will end up using almost all the components that are in the Arduino kit.
- Keep in mind that you can buy all these components separately but it will be much more expensive.
- With this type of kits you can do from very basic projects to quite complex projects using electronics and programming.
The Arduino platform uses a reduced version of the C / C ++ programming language. This means that if you know how to program in C ++ you won’t have any problem. In fact, if you know how to program in any language, it is very easy to take the next step with Arduino.
Now, if you do not have experience with programming, the first thing to do is learn to program. And this does not matter if it is for Arduino, for Windows or for Android. The basics of programming are always the same.
One of the advantages of Arduino is that it is easy to get started. Virtually anyone between the ages of 10 and 100 can turn an LED on and off in 10 minutes. With other platforms this is unthinkable. With the time it takes to set up the system alone, hours can go by. With Arduino this does not happen. System configuration is extremely simple.
But there is still an even greater advantage. Once you learn to program with an Arduino board, using the rest of the boards, whether they are Arduino or other brands, is immediate since they use the same programming language and IDE. This means that today you can be creating a 3D printer or a robotic arm and tomorrow, with the same language, you can create an automatic irrigation system controlled from your mobile.
Of course, you will have to make an effort if you want to learn. As I said, there are no shortcuts or privileges, we all start from the same starting box. Start by turning on an LED and with the next project you may be controlling the awnings in your house. All using Arduino.