Great introduction to the Arduino

Filed Under (DIY Electronics Projects, Homebrew) by Jonathan on 06-04-2012

I’m a huge fan of the platform.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the projects I think are just too simple and can be done on a PIC for a lot less cash.  That being said, there are some REALLY neat Arduino projects out there and I’ll be Highlighting more ham related projects here in the future.

Just in case you’re really not sure, here’s a snip from the Wikipedia entry on Arduino:

Arduino is a popular open-source single-board microcontroller, descendant of the open-source Wiring platform, designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of a simple open hardware design for the Arduino board with an Atmel AVR processor and on-board input/output support. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and the boot loader that runs on the board.

Arduino hardware is programmed using a Wiring-based language (syntax and libraries), similar to C++ with some slight simplifications and modifications, and a Processing-based integrated development environment.

The whole entry can be read here:

The Geek Group is a hacker/makerspace in Michigan that does a lot of really neat things (and they have one hell of a machine shop as well!).  In this video, they give a good basic introduction to what Arduino is, what sets it apart from a PIC and how you can get started programming and tinkering with Arduino.

If you know of any great ham radio related Arduino projects, post them in the comments and share!  I may add them in a future post.

Here’s “The Geek Group” video:

Comments (2)

  1. One of the more active Arduino radio projects is K3NG’s keyer:

    I’m not sure I agree that you could do PIC projects more cheaply than Arduino, though. With PIC you need a programmer ($), a development kit ($$) and then a PCB or breadboard to hold your project. The Arduino combines the programmer with the PCB, and the software is free and cross-platform (PIC looks very Windows-based). You can wire tiny projects direct to the terminals of an Arduino. The language actually looks like a structured language, and not just bit operations the way PICBASIC can.

  2. Understood. But, your argument works if you are doing JUST ONE project. If you had to buy an Arduino for ten different projects, compared to what I would pay to make many of them with a PIC, then there is a cost savings. Again, I’m not saying you can do everything on a PIC. I’ve just seen many small projects that are done on Arduino when it isn’t necessarily the best platform. PIC programmers are cheap (I built mine for about $20.00 US). As far as the development environment, there are open source options as well. That and the PIC for a keyer would still cost less than an Arduino. I have a few Keyers I built on PIC’s and they work fine. I’m not diggin’ on Arduino at all, I love the platform. Just many small projects are on the platform that can be done much cheaper otherwise.

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