This is a (mostly) non-technical introduction to Arduino. The aim is to show what Arduino is and what it can do for you, without the constant barrage of huge technical words getting in the way.
If, by the end of this article you feel that Arduino is the go to platform for you, I will show you where you can get your hands on some of the best Arduino development boards in Zimbabwe.
What is Arduino?
It is an open-source electronics development platform.
Arduino is a set of electronics hardware and software tools that gives you a way to control, communicate and add intelligence to just about any electronics device or components.
The platform is designed to make it easy for its users to build both simple and complex electronics based designs; without the users having any in-depth technical knowledge about the underlying circuitry, and its associated electronic principles.
It is also free to use (Open-source) for both personal and commercial purposes.
Arduino software and the Arduino programming language.
You have to tell your Arduino board what to do. You do this by sending instructions to it. This is accomplished by using the Arduino programming language and the Arduino Integrated Development Environment.
Who can use Arduino?
You. Yes, you and anyone with an interest in Arduino can start learning and using Arduino today. Even if you do not have any technical background. The official Arduino guide specifically says that Arduino was originally made for students with no electronics or programming background. This is still the case up to this day.
Moreover, there are many free resources online that cater to this particular demography of Arduino users.
Professionals can use Arduino too. Though Arduino was initially meant for students; it is constantly evolving to meet the new needs and challenges faced by members of its community. As a result, it has become powerful enough to handle more sophisticated projects. So you can still use arduino as a proffesional.
Today, Arduino can be found in 3D printers, CNC machines and wearable electronics. The list is endless. This is a testament to how powerful a development platform Arduino has become.
How will Arduino integrate with my projects?
Arduino gives you the ability to control basically anything that works on electricity, using software. This greatly simplifies the process of making highly interactive electronics. You can automate repetitive task, such as opening and closing your windows, or watering your plants.
Your Arduino can also function as a standalone device. It can be powered by a 9V battery or from a 7V – 12V power supply. As a result, you can bundle your finished project, and install it were it’s most convenient for its intended function. If you factor in the physical size of your development board, you can even make your project portable.
Only your imagination(and budget) can limit what you can do with this much functionality at your disposal.
How does Arduino do all of these things?
The Arduino development board, has a micro-controller that acts as the brains of the board. You can think of the micro-controller as a miniature computer that is fitted in a tiny enclosure commonly referred to as a microchip or integrated circuit. The rest of the board’s and the software’s purpose is to make it easy for you and other electronics to communicate with this “small computer”.
You send instructions with the task you need your Arduino to perform using the Arduino software, which you would have installed on your computer. It is from these instructions that your Arduino knows what it should do, when it should do it and how it should do it.
In short. Arduino simplifies the process of working with microcontrollers by providing easy to use, and easy to learn prototyping and development tools.
So, why Arduino in particular?
So, lets go over some of the reasons why Arduino is such an attractive platform for electronics development.
Reasons to choose Arduino
- Arduino is designed to be easy for beginners, but it also retains the flexibility to be used by professionals in more sophisticated applications. This means that (for the most part) it may not be necessary for you to learn another platform as you transition to more advanced projects.
- The software is cross platform. You can use Arduino on Windows, Linux and Mac.
- It is inexpensive.
- It’s Open-source. You can download and use the software for free. You can also download the schematic for the hardware and build your own board, for both personal and commercial use without having to pay any royalties (You can make a donation if you want to show your appreciation for their generosity).
- There is a vibrant online community of Arduino users you can turn to for help if you ever need it.
Where can I find Arduino boards in Zimbabwe?
If you have decided that Arduino is the ideal platform for you.Then, I have good news! You can buy your Arduino from our online shop this very instance or you can WhatsApp 0780 323 655 for assistance.
As you buy your Arduino, it will be worth noting that there is only so much a single board can do on its own. You will need some components for your Arduino to read data from, and display information to. You will also find them here by clicking on the shop button .
At this point, you now have an idea of what Arduino is, and what it can do for you and your projects. That’s great! Now its time to learn how we can harness this great potential. The next article will take us one step further into mastering Arduino.
See you again soon!
- Massimo Banzi – Getting Started with Arduino
- Ashwin Pajankar – Arduino Made Simple
- Neil Cameron – Arduino Applied