I previously introduced open source hardware here on , but you’ll need more than just an Arduino to get any of this up and running. Arduino «starter kits» are sets of common but useful electronic components that you can use to create a lot of beginner projects, but what exactly does a starter kit consist of?
The exact content depends on where you buy it, but I’ll walk you through the basic set of components that you can see in the kit.
Obviously you’ll need a real Arduino in there. Uno is the base model and is a good compromise between form, function and cost. Larger or smaller models are available if you need something built-in or more outlets, but not in starter kit form.
In addition to the USB cable, your Arduino starter kit may also come with a separate power supply to power the Arduino when not connected to a computer.
Breadboard — the name seems to come from the past, when literally bread cutting boards were used — is a reusable platform for mounting components. Consisting of several small holes that are actually connected at the bottom with various lines, they create circuit connections when you insert components into them, thus avoiding the need for soldering and allowing for easy experimentation.
Large layouts have both horizontal and vertical connections in a given pattern. The outer holes are usually painted and used as power «rails». Very small breadboards may not have this, so it’s obviously important to figure out the exact wiring diagram your particular board has.
Jumpers are used to connect to your breadboard (to another physical area) and to the Arduino itself. These are just pieces of wire with fixed ends that can be plugged into the Arduino and plugs on the breadboard.
The main component of any electronic circuit, resistors limit the flow of current to other components. If you like to think of a circuit as a network of water pipes running in one direction, a resistor would be like connecting a smaller pipe to the end of a larger one. The main reason for this is to protect other components from damage.
Resistors come in a variety of given values, but their use is not an exact science. Although there are formulas to work out exactly how much resistance you need to supply your component with the correct current, in reality you may not find an exact match and simply use the closest available. The starter kit will contain various typical resistors used in conjunction with other starter kit components — for example, some low efficiency LED resistors.
How do you know the value of a resistor? It’s simple, but you need to refer to the color chart. There are several colored bars across each resistor: the first two represent the numerical value, and the next represent the number of zeros to add to the end of that (multiplier). The fourth is the tolerance range, which shows how much the resistor can actually change, but you don’t need to worry about that at this stage.
Here is a useful reference table:
I doubt I need to explain this, but almost all kits will come with a variety of LEDs. Just make sure you use a resistor with them in your circuit and you will soon be doing all sorts of flashes. Also note that LEDs have both positive and negative sides. The negative element should be connected to ground (GND) on the Arduino and can be identified as the shorter of the two legs or by the flat notch in the LED head.
If your kit is equipped with an infrared LED, you won’t be able to see it when it’s on because the IR spectrum is invisible to the naked eye. You can use it for projects that involve, for example, remote control. Interestingly, a digital camera maybe pick up infrared light — try looking at the end of your iPhone remote control the next time you change channels.
A simple little speaker that you can hear on your computer. Although they will make sound if you just turn them on, you can program them to create different tones, or import software libraries to do it for you.
I don’t think I need to explain this too fully. A pushbutton establishes a connection between two points. The one thing you might not know about switches yet is that you will often use them with them. high resistance resistor but you will learn about it during the training you will follow.
Potentiometer / Photoresistor
These are both types of variable resistors, that is, a resistor whose value can be changed. The potentiometer you can get will be a dial so you rotate it to create different degrees of resistance. It may not be obvious at first or written on it, but you can use the diagnostics in the Arduino software package to find it out later.
The photoresistor will adjust its resistance depending on how much light hits the surface. They are usually used to automatically turn on the light when it gets dark enough.
Where could I buy
These companies supply good starter kits for $50-$100:
That’s as much as I’ll cover this time. Next time, I’ll focus on a few of the cooler components you might want to use for your first projects, and I’ll also walk you through programming your first basic Arduino project before moving on to some cooler ideas you might have. want to try.
Have you already had experience with Arduino, or are you thinking about buying an Arduino starter kit? Do you have a specific project or just want to learn more about electronics? Where is your favorite Arduino/Electronics store?