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Arduino – Overview

Arduino is a prototype platform (open-source) based on an easy-to-use hardware and software. It consists of a circuit board, which can be programed (referred to as a microcontroller) and a ready-made software called Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which is used to write and upload the computer code to the physical board.

The key features are −

  • Arduino boards are able to read analog or digital input signals from different sensors and turn it into an output such as activating a motor, turning LED on/off, connect to the cloud and many other actions.

  • You can control your board functions by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board via Arduino IDE (referred to as uploading software).

  • Unlike most previous programmable circuit boards, Arduino does not need an extra piece of hardware (called a programmer) in order to load a new code onto the board. You can simply use a USB cable.

  • Additionally, the Arduino IDE uses a simplified version of C++, making it easier to learn to program.

  • Finally, Arduino provides a standard form factor that breaks the functions of the micro-controller into a more accessible package.

  • Board Types

    Various kinds of Arduino boards are available depending on different microcontrollers used. However, all Arduino boards have one thing in common: they are programed through the Arduino IDE.

    The differences are based on the number of inputs and outputs (the number of sensors, LEDs, and buttons you can use on a single board), speed, operating voltage, form factor etc. Some boards are designed to be embedded and have no programming interface (hardware), which you would need to buy separately. Some can run directly from a 3.7V battery, others need at least 5V.

    Here is a list of different Arduino boards available.

    Arduino boards based on ATMEGA328 microcontroller

    Board Name Operating Volt Clock Speed Digital i/o Analog Inputs PWM UART Programming Interface
    Arduino Uno R3 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 USB via ATMega16U2
    Arduino Uno R3 SMD 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 USB via ATMega16U2
    Red Board 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 USB via FTDI
    Arduino Pro 3.3v/8 MHz 3.3V 8MHz 14 6 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino Pro 5V/16MHz 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino mini 05 5V 16MHz 14 8 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino Pro mini 3.3v/8mhz 3.3V 8MHz 14 8 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino Pro mini 5v/16mhz 5V 16MHz 14 8 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino Ethernet 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Arduino Fio 3.3V 8MHz 14 8 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    LilyPad Arduino 328 main board 3.3V 8MHz 14 6 6 1 FTDI-Compatible Header
    LilyPad Arduino simply board 3.3V 8MHz 9 4 5 0 FTDI-Compatible Header

    Arduino boards based on ATMEGA32u4 microcontroller

    Board Name Operating Volt Clock Speed Digital i/o Analog Inputs PWM UART Programming Interface
    Arduino Leonardo 5V 16MHz 20 12 7 1 Native USB
    Pro micro 5V/16MHz 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 Native USB
    Pro micro 3.3V/8MHz 5V 16MHz 14 6 6 1 Native USB
    LilyPad Arduino USB 3.3V 8MHz 14 6 6 1 Native USB

    Arduino boards based on ATMEGA2560 microcontroller

    Board Name Operating Volt Clock Speed Digital i/o Analog Inputs PWM UART Programming Interface
    Arduino Mega 2560 R3 5V 16MHz 54 16 14 4 USB via ATMega16U2B
    Mega Pro 3.3V 3.3V 8MHz 54 16 14 4 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Mega Pro 5V 5V 16MHz 54 16 14 4 FTDI-Compatible Header
    Mega Pro Mini 3.3V 3.3V 8MHz 54 16 14 4 FTDI-Compatible Header

    Arduino boards based on AT91SAM3X8E microcontroller

    Board Name Operating Volt Clock Speed Digital i/o Analog Inputs PWM UART Programming Interface
    Arduino Mega 2560 R3 3.3V 84MHz 54 12 12 4 USB native

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