Before we start, I will explain a bit about few terminologies that you should know first.
Since Arduino is a type of a micro-controller, so what is Micro-Controller?
Micro-controller is a small computer on single integrated circuit board containing a processor core, memory and programmable input/output peripherals. Processor is the brain that do the process for all instructions given from the programmer. Memory is the temporary place to keep all instructions before processed by the processor. And programmable input/ouput mean that we can program Arduino to do something and change it with new program in the future.
What is the benefit using Arduino?
You can program arduino to control anything. From the simple one, light on an LED light to more complicated one. You can use it to monitor the temperature, wind speed, home automation (Music, TV, Fan, Pump, Lamps, water plant), check gas leaking, motion sensor, light sensor, heart beat sensor, robot etc. etc..
The limitation from the implementation arduino is your idea.
What you should know if you want to use Arduino?
You have to know at least basic C programming language and basic function of electronics like transistor, resistor, diode, relay, AC power and DC power. Because basically arduino is only supply and receive electric DC current through its pins, digital and analog. Just simple like that.
What are the types of Arduino?
First generation of manufactured Arduino is NG (new generation). NG used the Atmega8 chip running at 16MHz, 6K memory and run at 19200 baud. The next version was Diecimila with Atmega168 chip, 16MHz, 16 kilo byte (K) memory but still still run at 19200 baud.
In 2009 Duemilanove was released with Atmega328, 32K memory and run at 57600 baud. There is a good thing in this version. The power supply can be switched from USB to DC. Finally Arduino can be stand alone.
All of the above version use 2KB bootloader and FTDI (FT232RL) chip to control the USB interface. FT232RL is royalty free driver but it is only act as USB port. You can can’t use it with keyboard, mouse, MIDI etc.
In 2010, we got Uno. Uno in Italian mean ‘One’. It’s named to mark the upcoming release of Arduino 1.0. The Uno and version 1.0 will be the reference versions or Arduino. Uno still use Atmega328 but has smaller bootloader (521bytes) mean that you get another additional 1.5K free extra flash memory for programming. It also has atmega8u2 chip to replace FT232RL which allows various type USB interface. Now it runs at 115K baud. You can upload your codes in 3 seconds.
Arduino Uno board (front side)
Arduino Uno board (back side)
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