What is Arduino?

What is Arduino? How it works? What tasks can be accomplished with Arduino?

What Is Arduino?

The Arduino computer system has become rather popular with people just starting out with electronics programming, and for good reason we will discuss later. What is Arduino? Arduino is an open source hardware and computer system used to build electronic project/ devices. It is consist with tangible components mostly called “Arduino or Microcontroller” and computer softer, or Arduino IDE which is refer to Integrated Development Environment runs in Computer for writing a code to control the physical board.

But why is Arduino? There are many other electronics components you can use in starting to learn electronics programming like raspberry pi, IchigoJam and others, but It is still popular. The Arduino is easy to use, no need other electronic components for starting to use it, just only one single board of Arduino and USB cable. Additionally, Arduino IDE uses a simple programming version of C++ which is easy to learn for beginners in programming.


The original project of Arduino was started at the “Interaction Design Institute Ivrea” (IDII) in Ivrea, Italy. The pupil used a BASIC Stamp microcontroller to learn programming but it was costed of $50 which was expensive to the pupil. In 2003 Hernando Barragán developed the platform during a Master’s project at IDII called Wiring, with the supervising of Massimo Banzi and Casey Reas. The project purpose was to create easy, low cost tools for creating digital projects by non-engineers.

The Wiring platform belonged of a printed circuit board (PCB) with an ATmega168 microcontroller, an IDE and library functions to easily program the microcontroller. In 2003, Massimo Banzi, with David Mellis, with another IDII student, and David Cuartielles, added support for the cheaper ATmega8 microcontroller to Wiring project. But instead of continuing to work on Wiring, they change the project and figured it Arduino

The Arduino boards are consisted with sets of digital and analog input/output (I/O) pins that may be interconnected to different expansion boards. The boards use Universal Serial Bus (USB) for loading programs from personal computers to Arduino.

Arduino Uno

The Arduino Uno is one of the popular boards in the Arduino family and it is better for beginners. We are going to talk about what is the features on it and what it can do by using it. Arduino Uno is cheap you can get from Nyereka Tech on 11$ or 10,000Rwf in Rwanda, click here.

Arduino Uno

In this Arduino notes we are going to pass through in:

  • What projects can be accomplished by using an Arduino Uno?
  • What is on Arduino board?
  • The different varieties of Arduino boards
  • Project that you can use your Arduino board

What Arduino can do

The Arduino hardware and computer software called IDE was configured for any one want to create some thing new with interactive objects and environment. It can interact with with lED, Lamp, Switch, motors, smart phone, internet, GPS, sending and receive SMS, Camera, TV, Sensors or/and computer. Buy using Arduino you can build A robotics, controlling your home lamp wherever you are. It can used in Medical, Transportation, agricultural, education, home appliance system and soon. Mostly innovators in this time they start to develop their ideas by using this board.

What Arduino board has

There are many various of arduino boards that may be used in different categories of purposes. All those Arduino board look differently, but they have some majority their common. Jut we pick one from them to show the commonly features, called Arduino uno. We discuss many type of Arduino on the other tutorial.

Every Arduino board needs a port to be connected to a power. Arduino Uno is powered from USB cable connected from computer or other power source ex: Power bank, charger and Adapter power supply(Must not greater than 12 voltage) through barrel jack. In the above Picture, USB cable is plug in through 1a and barrel jack is connected on 1b while 1c in the other power input where it receive the range of voltage from 7-9 Vin.

USB cable is also used to upload a code from computer into Arduino board and to communicate each other. On how to installing and programming for the first time, wait a little bit.

Arduino has many different kinds pins as we numbered on the board above and have different functions:

  • GND (2): Stand for “ GROUND”. This pins is used to ground your circuit board. Here we have 3 pins of GND on the board, take time and look where they are.
  • 5v & 3.3V (3): The pin of 5V supplies 5 volts, and  pin of 3.3 volts supplies 3.3 volts of power to the other components connected to the Arduino. Th most components used with Arduino work happily off of 5 or 3.3 volts.
  • Analog (4): The analog pins are labelled from A0 up to A5. Those pins are used to read the analog signal from an analog sensors and convert it into digital numbers that we can see.
  • Digital (5): The digital pins are labelled from 0 up to 13. Those pins are used for both digital input and digital output. Some of them pins as being able to simulate analog output, those pins are marked with this tild(~) take look on digital pins 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11 on Arduino Uno board , it is alsa know as PWM(Pulse width Modulation).
  • Tx &Rx (6): TX is short for transmit, RX is short for receive. Those pins Digital pins 0 and 1, it can be used to communicate with computer.
  • LED (7): That is the LED used to indicate our Arduino is powered. This LED should light up whenever you plug your Arduino into a power source. If this light doesn’t turn on, there something wrong. Check your circuit and re-powered again.
  • Important IC (8): IC is stand for Integrated Circuit. It works as brain of Arduino, to be a real person you need to have a brain, Can you do anything without brain? Is the same as Arduino. This IC is different from board type to another board type. The most ICs are usually come from ATmega company and you can found it on the top of IC. To know more about IC read datasheets.
  • Tx & Rx LED (9): These LEDs will give us some nice visual indications whenever our Arduino is receiving or transmitting data from computer or components.
  • Rest Button (10): This button is used to rest Arduino. This can be very useful if your code doesn’t repeat, but you want to test it multiple times.

Different types of Arduino

Arduino have different kind of board, each with its own capabilities. Arduino is part of open source hardware, It means that some one can modify/edit and produce change of Arduino boards that provide even more functionality. We are going to discuss a few types of Arduino is more commonly here in Rwanda.

  • Arduino Uno

As we discussed above, Arduino Uno is good choice for starting to use Arduino. Let’s talk others. Buy it here

  • Arduino Mega

The Arduino Mega looks like the UNO but It is bigger than Uno. It has lots 54 of digital input/output pins ( but 14 pins among them can be used as PWM outputs or analog output), 16 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, and a reset button.

Simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a adapter power supply or battery to get started. The larger number of digital and analog pins make this board to be used in project require a more number of 13 digital pins or 6 analogy pins. Buy it here

Arduino Megda
  • Arduino Nano

The Arduino Nano is a small, complete, and breadboard-friendly board based on the ATmega328P. It has more or less the same functionality of the Arduino Uno. It has 13 digital input/output, A0-A7 Analog Input/output pins. It lacks only a DC power jack, and works with a Mini-B USB cable instead of a standard one. Buy it Here

  • Arduino Leonardo

The Leonardo is the first development board of Arduino that use one microcontroller(IC) with built-in USB. Because the board is handling USB directly, code libraries are available which allow the board to control a computer keyboard, mouse, and more.

Some project Arduino can be used

We are going to list most 10 projects you can build with Arduino:

  1. Build a Tiny Weather Display System
  2. Build a Motion-Triggered Night Lamp for Using Under Your Bed
  3. Build attendance system with Fingerprint
  4. Build a robotic car
  5. Build a FM Transmitter and Receiver
  6. Build a personal Alarm system
  7. Build Follow me car robotic
  8. Build Gesture control with Arduino
  9. Build A smoke detector
  10. Build Speed control of vehicle

Thank you for reading this Tutorial, you can leave your comment bellow or any suggestion to this Tutorial. You can contact us if you need to know more About Arduino or to make one project from above listed.

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