Before we get too far into some of the technical stuff that comes with Arduino, it is important that we take some time to get a good feel for what Arduino is all about. If you are someone who likes to work on robotics projects, you will find that working with an Arduino board can make things easier, whether you are a beginner or someone who has been working on these types of projects for a long time. When you first get started on a new project, there are a lot of things to consider, but the Arduino platform is one of the best to help you get started.
When you hear about Arduino, you hear about a special microcontroller that can be programmed and software that will help you to control some of the robotics projects that you want to work with. In many cases, this is a great prototyping platform that helps you to work on those projects and give things a try with some basic code. Even though there is a lot of simplicity that comes with the Arduino platform, you will find that it has a pretty large fan base when it comes to using this software to help build up some electronic projects.
There are a wide variety of projects that you can use with Arduino and the ATMega chip that comes with it. Some choose to use Arduino because it can work as a temporary addition that is easy to add into the project while they are finishing it up. Or you can choose to make it a more permanent part and embed it into the project when everything is done. This makes it easier to work with, and it can fit any of your needs.
When you are starting out with the board, you will be able to program it with the Arduino software; this software is easy to work with even if you have never worked on programming or a robotics project before. If you have worked with Java or C++ in the past, you will notice that the coding language for Arduino is similar, so this can make things easier. The software is simple, but you will enjoy all of the power that can be found on this board, so even those with a bit more experience will get some of the power that they want out of their projects.
Another thing to notice about Arduino is that its platform is open sourced, which means that anyone who is interested, will be able to use this platform for free and those who are willing can make some adjustments to the code without any hassle. This is a good thing if you are just starting out with Arduino or with coding because you can access codes and projects from other people who have used this software in the past.
Not only will you be able to look around and find that the codes you want to use have already been developed by someone else (which can save you a lot of time and hassle trying to figure out the coding on your own), beginners will like the fact that the Arduino community is vast and can offer them quite a few opportunities. This makes it easier for you to find forums and other locations where you can meet up with others, ask your questions, learn something new, and do other things that make your project easier to handle.
Despite all of the power that you can find on the Arduino platform, you will find that it is pretty basic to use. There are only going to be two main parts that come with this platform, which can make things simpler in the long run. The two parts of the Arduino platform include:
The Hardware: The first component of this platform is the hardware. This is basically the microcontroller, which is the circuit board. You can take the microcontroller and physically program it to do what your project needs. You will also find that there are a few of these microcontrollers or boards that you are able to pick from and each of them offers something new for you to enjoy.
The Software: The second component of this platform is the software. This is like the environment that you will use on your board, and you can run that on your personal computer. The environment, which is also known as the IDE, will be useful in helping you to upload as well as to write the codes that should be sent as instructions to the boards. When the programs are written on your board, it should react based on the matter that you ask.
These two components are going to work together to help your project come to life. The only hardware that you really need to make this work is a good Arduino board and each project will need a different kind to help you out. The software is pretty cool because you will be able to write out the codes that you want to use and get some good results.
Before you start writing out the codes that you want to send to the Arduino board, you have to make sure that you have the Arduino IDE in place. This IDE is free, thanks to the fact that the Arduino software is open source, which means that you can just go online and download it on your computer at no extra cost. Once it has been downloaded on your computer, you will be able to write out your own codes for each project or use the codes that are provided if you get the projects from another source, with the help of the Arduino programming language. The IDE for Arduino will work on most operating systems from your personal computer, so this should not be an issue.
There is one thing that you should keep in mind if you are trying to download this Arduino IDE on a computer that uses the Windows 7 operating system or an earlier version of Windows. There will be a few additional steps that are needed compared to some of the other operating systems. This takes just a few seconds longer, but it can be frustrating when you try to get things done, and it isn’t working. You will be able to use the IDE on these older computers so don't feel like you need to update your whole system to make this work.