Just got your own Arduino UNO and confused about where to start? You have just landed at the right spot! Here we will be discussing, rather say walking you through the whole Arduino UNO board itself.
Before we start, I would recommend you to go through this post of ours to get acquainted with the very world of Arduino itself.
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And one more thing before we move on, here I am gonna use an UNO board and most probably that is exactly what you are holding if you are just starting out. If you have got some other category of Arduino board, it would be better that you go through some other material specifically targeting that kind.
With that being said, lets get started by knowing the components of an Arduino UNO.
Microcontroller – the essence of Arduino UNO!
And that’s the very core of an Arduino UNO circuitry. The very reason of its existence. Out here in Arduino UNO a series of microcontrollers are used called ATmega AVRs manufactured by a company called Atmel<link of amtel site>.
An interesting point here is that you can find people who actually buy these bare chips for just a couple of bucks and try to put up boards similar to Arduino UNO by a lot of soldering. I surely won’t recommend that at this stage.
You must have heard Arduino as being called directly as microcontroller itself. But is it not technically incorrect. We have got many other things attached along side. Just read on!
You may see a small silver vertical thing just sitting beside the microcontroller on your board. This is what we call as crystal resonator. All you need to know out here is that this is the thing which controls how fast your whole Arduino UNO system works.
Now this is another microcontroller which you will find just at the back of the connector which you use for connecting an USB cable on your board. This small beast is what serves as the connection between your board and your computer. It will help you in uploading whatever program you write for you Arduino to its microcontroller and when once its running this is the thing which channels back the data back to the computer through the USB cable. So, this is very important for debugging.
Basically it controls all the data that is being transferred through the USB port- the connection of your Arduino UNO to the outer world!
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Powering Arduino UNO!
What is really cool about Arduino boards is that you power them just through your computer only using the USB connector. Just connect your USB to your board, upload your program and see the magic!
But what if you are making a movable vehicle or a flying robot? One seriously can’t expect you to just keep moving alongside your project with your laptop connected to power it up. You are not a superman, at least I am not!
You need not worry! Arduino has got you covered up. You can connect an external 9 Volts DC power source directly to Arduino UNO by connecting it to barrel jack seen here in the picture and you are good to go. The only time you will need to connect Arduino UNO to the computer would be while uploading your program.
And you are going to have to press this thing every time you want to upload a new program to your Arduino UNO. What happens is that once you upload a program to your Arduino UNO board, it is saved automatically to its memory and you need not upload it every time you wanna show your friend how cool is your project. Just press this button and your program starts from the very beginning.
In some Arduino UNO boards, you may find this button sitting nicely in the corner beside USB connector and some it finds its place near the microcontroller itself.
Your Arduino UNO board can also power most of the basic components you are going to use. These power pins – two GND pins, 5V output and a 3.3V – are powerful enough to provide current up to a few mAmps. So, you can provide power source to Servo motors, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth components, Sonar detectors and a lot many more. But its better that you power large components like motors using an external power source only.
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TX and RX Pins
These two pins in the corner are designed to carry out serial data transfers. So, you are going to use these if you are planning to put on a GPS module or Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Module.
Pins 2 to 13 are used to for digital inputs and digital outputs. You can give a 5 V signal when you put a pin on HIGH mode in your program or can opt for digital LOW too – 1s and 0s – the mantra of digital electronics!
There are six analog pins starting from A0 t0 A6 on the opposite side of the digital pins. These can be used to read input from different components starting from 0 Volts to 5 Volts.
That is all the basic you need to know about the hardware to get you started in the world of Arduino. In the upcoming posts, we will be discussing about the software part!