Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Arduino tips and suggestions?

  1. May 20, 2015 #1
    Hello guys!!

    i am electrical & electronic engineering, 2nd year (almost done) hopfully 3rd year in the upcoming term after summer, and i chose my modules for next year but i haven't taken any computing or microprocessors module as I am really bad with them, but im buying an arduino next week and i ll practise in the summer because next year we will have a year 3 project and the topics are randomly given so just in case if i get a topic where i will have to programme or build and stuff, i ll defo need an arduino i assume.
    so I want to get some experience with it in the summer, it will be like my toy.. :P
    but i was wondering can anyone suggest me what components or parts should i buy with it? i mean im definiteling buying loads of extra resistors and capacitors and transistors blah blah because im really not good with wiring things on the board as well.
    my friend suggested me to buy things like ultrasonic sensor, relay ISO, LCD touchscreen, temperature sensor, dc motor and stepper motor but to be frank i dont have much clue on how i ll use them, but still i want to buy and watch videos and try and so amybe i can learn a bit... Can someone suggest me some cool tips on what to buy please... considering im really beginning to this.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Look at the project descriptions and videos and buy what you need to do a project that strikes your fancy. Once you decide on a project, you can shop the various kits that contain the components you need, or ask again here.

    There are many different starter kits. Read the reviews though.

    https://www.adafruit.com/products/68 for example
  4. May 21, 2015 #3
    Thanks for your reply.
    Yeah I don't know the lsit of topics available at the moment. I will have an access to see them after August, but as I said, since I am really bad in programming and wiring stuff up, I wanted to buy and practise to get ahead of something at least. Thats why :)
  5. May 22, 2015 #4
    IMO just playing with them will not yield good results, look around for a simple project and just get the components you need for that project ( a few spares if the component can be damaged - like LEDs for example) - the basics for Arduino can be learned with a Potientiometer, LEDs and an 16x2 LCD display, not mentioned much but get a few NPN switching Transistors and brush up on driving circuits ( i.e. the Arduino can "drive" a few LEDs or load from it's own pins, but larger loads ( 10 LEDS for example ) need an intermediate circuit.. The basic IDE includes a number of examples, it is easy however to hook up the example, "get it to work" and not really learn much unless you then fiddle with the code ( break it then fix it) - then combine three or four of the basic elements to make a larger system. After that it may be difficult to stick to a larger project unless you are interested in it. -- for example I am making a self-watering planter, and a single phase AC inverter.

    Also for items like the Ultrasonic Sensor - it will rely on libraries (well so does the 16x2 LCD - but managing text output is important to learn early) - if you just want to use the sensor that is fine, but trying to learn how this device is utilized is more tedious. The libraries are all open source, and you can play with the libraries as well - but the complexity goes up dramatically if you do not have a good handle on setting up and managing the Arduino's code to start with.

    Also a number of projects at www.sparkfun.com -- as for code practice I recently found this : http://www.123dapp.com/circuits

    As for the course work - is there any way to look at the previous years projects ( from the students 1 and 2 years ahead of you) - if you can find a few and study them ahead of time it may provide some guidance.
  6. May 22, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I agree with Windadct completely. You really need to decide on a specific project that interests you. That is part of the learning process --- defining a project and then making it happen.
    You will start with the basics no matter what in order to learn the flow (how to design, program, compile, load, execute, debug).
    Toggle an LED with an input button. Or count input presses and display the result in binary with a few LEDs.
    That will teach you the critical steps of Input, Output, and switch debounce.

    But, once you take that first step you will be amazed how simple it all is. So, gear up for something moderate that interests you, and make it happen.

    If you just play around, you *may* have fun, but it is more likely you will get frustrated. It may seem daunting now, but it is actually pretty simple once you can make a button toggle an LED.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook