Let's Make Robots!

Starting with Arduino

Hi all,

I've been using many different Picaxe's for quite a while to develop different types of robots but ive never used or touched an Arduino.

i was thinking of buying one except i have no clue about the different types. is there a certain model that is simple to learn the basics with and are there any extra parts or tools i need to use Arduino.

Thanks, Will

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
The only major changes you'll find in switching from picaxe to arduino is the change in language from p basic to arduino ide and the use of supporting shields. Some ease from the picaxe will end (like you'll not be able to drive motor from the board and will have to use motor shield instead) but stuff like using using sd cards and other types of shields will be easier. For starting, I'll suggest you to start with arduino uno r3. It is cheap, uses atmega 328 and is a decent board in terms of memory and flash (memory can be increased later as well using EEPROM I2C chips). If during experiments, you end up smoking your IC, you'll still be able to buy a replacement IC cheaply (for around $3 to 5). If you have some really specific requirements, you can start with other arduinos as well. Want to use a lot of inputs and outputs, go for arduino mega, want to use a small well packaged board, go for arduino nano, want to make yourself a funny costume, go for the arduino lilypad, want to access the arduino architecture cheaply, go for the decimila (spelling may be wrong). Depends on what you want to do. And I wish you best of luck for your future developments.

Thanks for the quick reply, i think i'll start with the UNO.

Do you know of any 'starter kits' or similar that have the basic components?

Arduino is pretty straight forward.  If you want to control motors with it or use various other I/O you need a shield, but servos can work directly off of it.  All you need is a USB cable to run it off your computer or a Voltage source in excess of 6V to run it off.

Right now there are two main types available new, the UNO and the Mega 2560, but you can pick up Mega 1280s from China as "after markets" as well as "knock-off" Unos right now.  There are a few of the *BRAND STINKIN' NEW* Arduino Leonardos out right now, but they're getting snapped up faster than free sex with pretty people.  They'll probably be the cheapest, but harder to find for a while.

The main differences between the Uno and the Mega are the number of I/O pins available and the amount of ram on the chip.  The Mega has 54 digital and 16 analog I/O pins and 256 KB of flash, of which 8 KB used by the bootloader, and the Uno/Leonardo have 14 digital and 6 analog I/O pins and 32 KB of flash ram, of which 0.5 KB used by the bootloader.  Of course saying the Leonardo has I/O pins is misleading because the headers are not included.

There is also the Nano and the Lilly Pad which are more or less Unos, but you can't really use shields with them.