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Arduino Part I: Getting Started

#1 erik.price  Icon User is offline

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:08 PM

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment in my (unknown) part series of using Arduino!

DISCLAIMER. I am not a electronics or engineering major, and only have a working knowledge of electronics

If this is your first experience with electronics (like it was mine) I would recommend ordering a pre-made Arduino (Official List of Arduino Retailers) I ordered mine from Adafruit, and then ordered spare parts (LEDs, resistors, servos, etc.) from SparkFun.

However, if you're a more advanced electronics person, you might want to consider rolling your own Arduino. Instructions Here. The end results will be essentially the same performance and capabilities wise either way you do it.

Anyway, for the purposes of this tutorial, you will need:
  • A few LEDs
  • Jumper Wires (optional)
  • Resistors (various, just get a grab bag of them)
(at least to complete the first few sections, other stuff might be required later)

They can all be picked up at a local store or bought for about a quarter a piece online.


WHAT EXACTLY IS ARDUINO?

The Arduino is a relatively new electronics prototyping platform. It is completely open source (both hardware and software), has an easy learning curve without sacrificing power, and has a huge support base.
And if you were wondering, it's pronounced "Arrrdweeno", not "Ardeeno" (which I think sounds better).

Arduinos are made with Atmel AVR chips, and can be programmed in either AVR C (which is essentially a stripped down version of C small enough to work on a micro controller), Processing, Wiring, or Arduino's own language, which has a syntax extremely similar to C, which is what I will be covering.

GETTING STARTED - INSTALLATION
The official "Getting Started" page can be found here. But I'll sum everything up in the tutorial

Link to the Official Download Page

WINDOWS

Installing the Arduino software in Windows is rather straightfoward, and shouldn't take you much longer than 30 minutes (if you have an incredibly slow internet connection)
  • Download the latest Arduino IDE (Version 17 at time of writing) Direct Link
  • Unzip and Drag folder to Program Files (or wherever you want)
  • Plug in your Arduino. When Windows asks where to look for drivers, tell it to look in the folder "drivers/FTDI USB Drivers" in your Arduino directory
  • Repeat the process when the window pops up again
MAC

Like on Windows, installing the software is easy on Mac.
I don't touch Macs anymore, but I remember that the installation process was really simple, PM me if something is wrong.
  • Download the .dmg file and move the Arduino App into Applications Direct Link
  • Navigate to the "drivers" directory of the Arduino distribution, and install the correct one (Intel/PPC)
  • Connect the Arduino to see if everything works properly
LINUX

I did this on Ubuntu, so replace apt-get with whatever package manager you use. Linux is probably the easiest to install Arduino on, it's only a 3MB download (gzip'd). Direct Link

You will need some packages before you can install this though.
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre gcc-avr avr-libc
That's it, enter your password, hit yes, and wait for it to download and install.

Unzip the file and run the script named "Arduino" (it's really just a shell script that launches the actual Java GUI)

FOR ALL SYSTEMS, YOU NEED TO GO TO TOOLS > SERIAL PORT > AND THEN CHOOSE THE PORT YOUR ARDUINO IS ON OR NOTHING WILL UPLOAD!

Test out your install by plugging in your Arduino, and in the software, go to File > Examples > and choose a random example. Hit upload, and see what happens, if no errors pop up, you've done everything correctly, and don't worry about the board doing absolutely nothing just yet.

Alright, so that brings tutorial 1 to a close. In the next chapter, we will cover basic electronics, and learn the syntax of Arduino's programming language. (Hint: If you know C or Java, now is the time to brush up)

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