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Arduino Starter Kit Competition INDEX:

 

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 1

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 2

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 3

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 4

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 5 (motor fun)

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 6

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Part 7

Element14's Arduino Starter Kit Competition - Final Part and Conclusions

 

After a quick look through the project book the other night I couldn't wait to get going; so I actually started working my way through the intro of the book last night and assembled the development board (the Arduino Uno and a breadboard). I had a few minor issues whereby the diagram for assembling the baseplate didn't seem correct - e.g. which side the feet should go in. I also had trouble finding the three 'screws' - before realising they meant 3x bolts in the components pack. These were slightly too long and I mounted them from below and fixed in place with the nuts. However the Arduino Uno board didn't sit well on the baseplate - partly because it was only held by three bolts (and there were four holes) and partly because some through mounted components protruded more than others on the Arduino. No great issue - but noted as it could confuse someone only just setting out into the electronics/engineering world.

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Then came installing the software from the Arduino website - the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). At the time of writing this blog this was version 1.8.3 - download and install was without any issues on my Windows 10 PC. Then came a simple test install of some software - this section clearly explained the code sequence and a soon saw the 'L' LED flashing away on my Uno (I also changed the delay value as recommended and it did indeed flash faster).

 

Project Book - 01 Get to Know Your Tools

The project book is really nicely laid out with a simple explanation as each electronic concept is introduced. The first use of the breadboard was to wire up a Light Emitting Diode (LED) using the Arduino's +5v power supply. Another nice point is how the book shows the electronic schematic as well as a physical breadboard view - which could really help people understand the concepts and ensure they get the circuit built correctly each time.

 

After the simple LED circuit there were additions of a single series push button, two series push buttons (the AND circuit) and two parallel push buttons (OR circuit). All at this point we were still using the Arduino as a simple power source.

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Project Book - 02 Spaceship Interface

This next section then introduced the ideas of Sketches (the name for an Arduino program written in the C programming language). It explained about driving digital pins and reading them as inputs. The explanation was concise and didn't at any point seem boring nor brushed over any important points. I wasn't sure if the code was available on the Arduino website or on my installed C drive but instead decided to type the code from scratch. I think this is a much better way of learning (as long as there isn't too much to type) as you learn what happens if you mistype code, is it case sensitive, how to copy/paste and indent the code.

 

After writing the 'sketch' I uploaded it to the Arduino Uno - and soon I had a very cool Spaceship Interface which gave some interesting effects depending on whether the switch was pressed or not. There was also a simple cardboard overlay to finish the project off neatly.

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Summary So Far: I found the quality of the project book very good as it clearly explained the steps and concepts through each of the projects. I also think that given the popularity of the Arduino that if there was something that a reader didn't quite understand there would be plenty of available help from Arduino forums and sites such as Element14.