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Part II: Intro To Arduino Microcontrollers

Anna Sapiga
Anna Sapiga
PA Engineer

Welcome to Part II of the article "Intro to Arduino Microcontrollers". Last time we went over the basics of Arduino and some of the different board models that we carry in stock. Today we’ll be going over a couple more of the boards that we have as well as how to get started with programming and coding them. The last two boards we’ll be discussing have some more advanced features than the ones we went over in Part 1, the Arduino Mega, and the Arduino Ethernet.

Arduino Microcontrollers

Arduino Mega

Photo of Arduino Mega2560 Rev3 by Progressive Automations

This board is the go-to option when you have a project/design that features a ton of input and outputs. It shares the same specs as the Uno except for some key differences. It has 54 digital input/output pins (14 can be PWM), 16 analog inputs, 4 UARTs that allow serial communication and its dimensions are 2.1" x 4".

Arduino Programming

Now that we’ve gone over our selection of Arduino boards it’s time to learn how to start programming. First things first you’ll need to visit the official Arduino site to download the IDE software, which we mentioned briefly in part one. This is the software that is used to code and program all Arduino boards and once it’s installed you’ll be able to start programming. Before you start you’ll need to make sure you select whatever board you plan to use with the software. On the top menu, screen click on “Tools" then select “Board" and then select whichever board you plan on using. After that click on “Tools" again but this time select “Port" and select which port matches with your Arduino. Below you'll see a picture of the IDE software screen.

A picture of the IDE software screen

The simplest way to test your board and make sure the programming software is working is to use the “Blink" test. Many Arduinos come with a built-in LED, which will blink in this example to test if it is functioning. In the IDE software click on “File" then “Examples" followed by “Basics" and finally select the “Blink" option. Make sure to change the pin from 13 to whichever pin the LED is on whatever board you are using. The default delay, 1000, pauses the “Blink" program for an amount of time, in this case, 1000 means 1 second since it’s coded in milliseconds. Once you’ve tested it and made sure it’s working you can start coding! We’d recommend checking out one of our earlier posts to try out sample code and test some basic functionality like how to control the timing of a linear actuators motion

Hopefully, you found this helpful and feel a little more informed on how to use our Arduino microcontrollers with actuators. If you’d like to order one today you can order online or contact us if you have any more questions regarding Arduino or any of our other products. Our team of engineers are always willing and more than able to answer your questions and help you design your perfect project.

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