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Should I Use Arduino Or Experiment?

  1. Nov 8, 2013 #1
    I am building a remote control airplane, and naturally the most complex aspect of it is the electronics. I don't know if I should use the Arduino microcontroller or try to build my own circuits that only do one simple thing (I am using commercial electronic speed controls either way for the motors). I need to communicate controls and LARGE streams of data (air quality testing; ). I already have air quality equipment. I am wondering if I should even bother or just buy pre-made everything. I want to learn as much as I can, but I also don't want to take on a task too big for one person to do. Cost is not a big deal (within reason), as this isn't something I am paying for myself.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2013 #2


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    “the most complex aspect of it is the electronics”, suggests that you have little experience with the design of electronic circuits at the component level.

    You need to get the project functioning as soon as possible for maximum data and psychological reward. You should therefore integrate available modules at the system level. Once it is working, and you know the specifications and requirements, you can progressively replace the heavier modules with simpler light-weight and more efficient circuits.
  4. Nov 9, 2013 #3
    Do you know anything about programming java, python, C or C++? There is a hardware platform called the Raspberry Pi which is the size of a credit card. It runs a linux build and you can install any programming tool chain you want. I used it to build a remote control car with a video camera. I made an app on my phone to control it. I plugged a wifi dongle into the RPI and communicated with it via wifi.

    I had to build a second board with a little pic12F to control the steering servo. RPi's built-in access to the GPIO pins doesn't provide access to the hardware interrupts so I couldn't create accurately timed pulses. Instead I configured an I2C connection to the PIC and let it genatrate the pulse.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  5. Nov 9, 2013 #4
    I should have added that the Raspberry Pi is inexpensive too. I bought it for $35 US.
  6. Nov 9, 2013 #5
    I am not experienced in electronics, correct. I am, however, an experienced C programmer, and that is where my interest in electronics came from (although not entirely). I do not want to use a Raspberry Pi for two reasons:
    1. It is more like a PC than a microcontroller
    2. It gobbles up lots of battery life

    Thank you for the advice, everyone.
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