Arduino Electronics Electronics Programming XE Week 10 - Intro to Arduino and Flashing LEDs

Intro to Arduinos

We’re back from Easter and for the next 3 weeks we’ll be having weekly sessions on Arduinos. The official Arduino introduction can be found here but this is mine:

What are Arduinos?

Arduino is an opensource system that consists of two parts, a physical PCB with a programmable micro controller and the software to write and upload code to the micro controller. The Arduino software is called the Environment or IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Talking (and writing) about Arduino can be complicated as you can be referring to the Italian company Arduino (the originators), the Arduino programming system/IDE, a specific Arduino PCB or one that is compatible the Arduino IDE.


How many different Arduino are there?

There are many, many different Arduino PCBs the vary in size and capability. Also, as the platform is opensource there are many different board manufacturers that make variations and add-ons.

A full list of the official Arduino products can be found here and there is also a comparison table that goes into detail about the technical differences.

This video by Sparkfun (an electronics retailer that produce over 60 Arduino programmable PCBs) is a little old but is good for explaining the difference between the most commonly used boards and their variants.

Just like it said in the video, the Uno is the most common PCB people use and is the one that most start with and stick with,  you’re unlikely to out grow it in a hurry – I’m using an Orange Pip which is technically identical to the Uno.

Orange Pip


What can an Arduino be used for?

The simple answer is almost anything. “Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.” –

Depending on the board, the inputs and outputs and what they’re used for an Arduino can be used for load and loads of things – a quick Google will return hundreds of post titled “Top 10 Arduino projects” etc.



While researching for my next post I found this video that gives a much more concise version of what I’ve written here plus details of the components on the Uno board and a setup and programming tutorial.

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