arduino uno board

Ever wondered what is an Arduino? Or are you a maker who is thinking about moving on to the Arduino platform? Which ever your situation this article will get you up and going.

WHAT IS AN ARDUINO

Arduino is an open source development platform for electronics based on the AVR micro-controllers. It features a simple hardware and software layout. Its products are licensed under the GNU lesser General Public License (LGPL) and the GNU General Public License(GPL). This means that the manufacture of Arduino boards and software distribution by anyone is allowed. Arduino boards are available commercially in preassembled form or as do-it-yourself (DIY) kits.

The Arduino LLC has a variety of boards some of which are Arduino Mini, Nano, Uno, Mega, Diecimila, Duemilanove e.t.c. And to further ease the usage of their product for their customers they included a range of shields which are basically add on hardware like sensors, drivers and other modules needed while working with the Arduino.

THE ARDUINO HARDWARE

To consider the hardware let us take the popular Arduino uno as a case study . The hardware consist of a board, input/output pins which consist of 14 digital for binary logic, and 6 analog pins for use with analog sensors and output devices. Some pins can be configured as pwm pins for controlling motors and other pmw devices. The uno has a micro-controller (ATmega328) pre flashed with a boot loader, a usb port for programing, a 16mhz crystal oscillator, a dc port for power supply and power pins (GND and POWER). It has an onboard ATmega16u2. The ATmega 16U2 is primarily responsible for USB/Serial signal conversion. It also has ICSP header pins

WHAT CAN AN ARDUINO BE USED FOR

Arduino boards are able to read input from their sorroundings. with the right sensors in place, Arduino boards can read light intensity, voltage levels current drain, temperature/humidity, moisture and other physical parameters e.t.c. They could also process these data and perform an action based on the programmed logic. Not only that could give output in the text using a display, publish something online or even contact a person in special occasion

HOW DO I PROGRAM AN ARDUINO

Actually to program the Arduino you can use any programming language with compilers that produce binary machine code for the target processor and upload it to the mcu but the Arduino developers made a very simple IDE to use with the Arduino.

The IDE is a cross-platform application (Windows, Mac and Linux) written in java with a somewhat similar structure to the processing IDE, and can be downloaded from here. The programming language support c and c++ language using a special rule of code structuring. The IDE comes with examples that provide an easy way o get a grip on the Arduino IDE and the programing language. Basically the IDE has two functions these are void setup(); and void loop(); the former use to set pin directions (input or output) and the latter for continuous program basically a while(1); loop.

I hope this post is able to give you a hint of what an arduino is actually is.

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