In this blog post we look at how beginners wanting to start with Arduino can choose an Arduino board. Help is provided for beginners choosing an Arduino. The difference between an Arduino and AVR ATmega microcontroller is also covered.
Choosing an Arduino for Beginners
The recommended Arduino for beginners is usually the Arduino Uno. On the Starting Electronics website, the article on choosing an Arduino for beginners provides more information on which Arduino to choose when starting to learn about Arduino and writing sketches.
Difference Between Arduino and AVR
Many Arduino beginners are confused about the difference between Arduino and AVR, or Arduino and ATmega. Difference between Arduino and ATmega328 explains what the ATmega328 microcontroller is and how it relates to the Arduino Uno. The article also explains more about the AVR microcontroller found on most Arduino boards.
The Arduino programming course originally started in 2014 is being updated and extended. Updates include using the newest version of the Arduino IDE and updating the videos in the course to HD video.
Currently parts 1 to 5 of the course have been updated which cover Arduino sketch structure and flow, Arduino main loop, calling functions, variables, arithmetic operators and relational operators.
Once updates have been completed the course will be extended to include new material and topics. Take a look at the Arduino programming course contents page to see the currently available tutorial parts of the course.
I recently purchased three ESP8266 ESP-05 WiFi modules. These are very cheap WiFi modules costing around $4 USD each, so are ideal for hobbyists, makers and hackers to use in various projects. My idea was to try to get an Arduino web server working on WiFi as a cheap alternative to using an Ethernet shield or WiFi shield.
Although the same module is available from several suppliers, the particular module that I bought was from SainSmart: SainSmart Neu ESP8266 Esp-05 Remote Serial Port WIFI Transceiver Wireless Module AP+STA
ESP8266 ESP-05 WiFi Module
ESP8266 ESP-05 Pinout and Documentation
The supplier web page for the ESP8266 ESP-05 had no pinout for the module and no documentation. Some of the information on the web page for the module was also completely wrong, for example they state that the module has 5V compatible I/O, however this is wrong. The I/O pins only work with 3.3V logic and are not 5V tolerant.
They also state “on board antennae”, but this module does not have an on board antennae, it has a connector for an external antennae.
Getting Started with the ESP8266 ESP-05 WiFi Module
You bought a ESP8266 5-pin ESP-05 module, now what? Here are the steps necessary to get the module working for the first time. Once you have a basic understanding of the module and where to find further information you will be able to start your own project development.
Soldering the Header
The module comes with a separate 5-pin header that must be soldered into the module. After the header is soldered to the module it is easy to use the module in a breadboard.
ESP8266 ESP-05 with Header Soldered
The following video shows how to solder the header to the module.
Aerial / Antennae
I found that the module works fine without an aerial / antennae as long as it is near enough to the WiFi router that it is connecting to. Connecting a wire to the aerial connector does give it more range and picks up the second WiFi router that I have on the other side of the house.
Testing the Module
Use the pinout diagram to correctly connect the ESP8266 module power and UART data pins. An Arduino Due is ideal for testing the module. This is because a Due can supply enough current from its 3.3V pin and works with 3.3V logic. The Arduino Due is therefore completely compatible with the ESP8266 module.
A list of easy to build Arduino projects for beginners and kids. These projects use easy to obtain components and can be built on an electronics breadboard. Suitable for use with an Arduino Uno or similar board.
Arduino projects for absolute beginners below list very easy projects for first time Arduino users. The section that follows lists projects for beginners who have learned the basics of how to use an Arduino.
This easy Arduino project for beginners can be built on an electronic breadboard and uses only four LEDs and four series resistors to make a moving light display. The Arduino sketch for the project can be modified to change the rate at which the pattern on the LEDs is updated. The patterns to display on the LEDs can also be changed.
Moving Light Display Arduino Project for Beginners
Details of this Arduino Project for Beginners
A breadboard is used to connect four LEDs with series resistors to an Arduino which can be an Arduino Uno or other Arduino. Four wire links connect the LEDs to four of the Arduino pins which are set as outputs. A common GND wire from the Arduino is connected to the breadboard which connects the other side of each of the series resistors to GND. This completes the circuit and enables the LEDs to be switched on by the sketch running on the Arduino.