Monday, August 13, 2012

The Amazing Arduino.

Most everyone knows about the amazing Arduino. This integrated circuit much acts like a minimal cpu chip. There are hundreds of uses for it. everything from Sous vide machines, mini-weather stations, game machines, water sprinkler control, and a host of other uses. It is even the perfect platform for making your own robot. The list is never ending. The project originally started in Italy as an open source project and has done nothing but grow exponentially in popularity. This simple 20 pin chip is amazing.

It has become so popular, that several companies have made development boards for the chip (now there are even more advanced versions of the Arduino i.e. Mega.) Fry's carries the Osepp Arduino and Radio Shack carries the original dip version Arduino Uno, but now I think they have gone to a surface mount version. You can also get the chips and the boards from many electronics retailers such as Jameco. Early Arduino unos development boards came socketed, you could easily program your own chips and then use the chips without using the development board. You could purchase the chips alone for under three dollars. Now they are approaching six dollars, mostly because of demand. The boards for the regular Arduino sell for twenty five to thirty five dollars a piece. Still a bargain for what they can do.

For beginners, the development platform is probably the best. Though you can get the chips and a few side parts for under ten dollars and easily build your own on a bread board for testing. ( You could make a portable video game that could fit in a small candy tin, not including the monitor or hand controls. Did I say monitor? you can even hook up the Arduino to a monitor and or a tv (via an rf modulator). Like from the really old computer days. Hope you did not get rid of that old equipment when the media wanted you to. They are still good to go! There even has been developed a simple basic interpreter, so you can even write your old programs reminiscent of the old Vic 20 days.

Tv/monitor Connections will vary depending on the software you use, but the parts are generally the same. There are a zillion projects all over the net to work from. has it's own wealthy list. Can not wait to make a pong game. Linux starter instructable: ( . Have already done a prototype of a minimal security system (

There are lots of add on boards (known as shields), even for use with ethernet. Almost forgot, there is "free" software that you can download most computers to allow you to program in their own "C" for the Arduino easily. ( It is not, what can you do with it. It is what can you not do with it. Have fun.

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