Getting Started with Basic Electronics & Arduino

Most people don’t know where to begin when it comes to Arduino electronics. Here are a few of our favorite resources to help you start your inventing adventures. When you are ready to jump in, check out our Arduino Toolboxes – everything you need to start fun projects right now!

5 Reasons You Need to Learn to Program [link][pdf]

“Most people don’t realize just how important programming is. Just about every aspect of our modern lives is influenced directly by code.Today almost every medium-to-large sized company either has a team of developers or has to hire developers to do jobs for them. From web applications to mobile applications, to DVRs and more, our lives run on code.”

Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is Open-Sourcing Imagination

Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine — from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”


An Introduction to Arduino

If you are wondering “What’s an Arduino”, check out this video to get an overview of what’s possible!


MIT Video: Arduino Tutorial #1

Learn about electronics using an Arduino.


Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show: Super Simple Arduino

“Super Awesome Sylvia builds two different super simple Arduino Projects: The “Randomly Influenced Finger Flute”, or R.I.F.F., and an Adjustable Strobe! For these easy projects, all you need are a computer, an arduino, and one or two other common parts. Super simple at it’s best.”


Electronics Basics

Anatomy of an Arduino Board [link]

Arduino is constantly evolving and there are lots of different compatible microcontroller boards on the market. However, most of those boards share the same features. Use this link to learn about the basic parts of your Arduino Board.

Protoboard Basics [pdf]

A protoboard is the hub for most tinkering in electronics.  Most of our electronic parts are going to be connected in some way to a protoboard.  Why should we use a protoboard, and what is it anyway?  I’m glad you asked!  Protoboards are designed for prototyping which is just a fancy way of say that we’re likely to change our minds quite a few times before we settle on a final design.

Learning About Circuits [link]

Learning CircuitsLearning Circuits will guide you through 6 tutorials about electricity and basic circuits and then quiz you to test your knowledge. You can then build simulated circuits and try out your new knowledge.


The_Blobz_Guide_to_Electric_CircuitsThe Blobz Guide to Learning Circuits [link]

The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits is an interactive learning tool to support Units 4F and 6G of the UK National Curriculum for Key Stage 2 Science — namely “Circuits and Conductors” and “Changing Circuits” respectively. 

Circuit_Simulator_editCircuit Simulator [link]

A circuit simulator that will let you test out different configurations without blowing anything up. We know that is half the fun, but you have to start somewhere! Requires Java to run.

Arduino Basics  

Download the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) [link]

It’s free, comes in versions for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and includes a large library of sample code that you can use to start your programming adventures.

SparkFun Tutorials [link]

More tutorials than you can shake a stick at! Start with “What is an Arduino” and explore from there! 

Arduino Programming [link]

An overview of the Arduino Core functions and Libraries – a tad techy, but straight from the Arduino guys themselves, so a good reference to bookmark.

Getting Started – from MakeUseOf

These great tutorials show you exactly what to do with your Arduino board when you open up the package it came in. 

1) MakeUseOf: Installing Drivers and Setting Up Your Board & Port [link][pdf]

2) MakeUseOf:First Steps With The Arduino: A Closer Look At The Circuit Board & The Structure Of A Program [link][pdf]

3) MakeUseOf: Arduino Programming for Beginners – Traffic Light Controller [link][pdf]

Arduino Short Course for Beginners [link]

You have to sign up, but it’s free and has a very nice, 14 part lesson plan that will take you from the basics through introductory programming. Once you are done with this, you’ll have a very good idea about how to make your Arduino do cool stuff.

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Arduino [link]

A brief overview of basic Ardino components and basic programming concepts. 

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