Arduino Night – Wednesday September 20th

Purpose

Arduino Night is a meetup for those interested in learning more about microcontrollers and their applications. Each month we’ll explore a new topic and get some hands on experience using the Arduino environment. All experience levels are welcome; we will cover basics for beginners and discuss more advanced topics for those with more experience who are interested.

Format

The intent is to be workshop focused. I may cover some topics in a short powerpoint, but I want you to walk away from every class having built/written something, or at the very least have you started down the path to building/writing something.

The actual focus of each class will vary, depending on what people are interested in. If there is a topic you would like to explore, or a project you would like to build, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Equipment

Hardware

You’ll need a board that can be programmed by the Arduino IDE.
There are countless available but you can buy both the component kit and an Arduino (uno) for $20 dollars each during the class ($40 dollars total).

If you want to build your own kit, Here’s a very brief overview of different Arduino compatible boards.

  • Arduino Uno (or compatible) – The ‘vanilla’ Arduino board. It has the basic input/output, and will give beginners plenty to play with. However, it doesn’t have any connectivity built-in, so if you want to do more than just control things you’ll need more hardware. You can order these online, or pick one up at Microcenter.
  • Arduino Nano – Small and compact version of the Uno.
  • ESP8266 Based Boards – A family of boards based on the ESP8266 wifi module. These boards can be programmed by the Arduino IDE and come with wifi built-in. There are a number of libraries available to do a bunch of intersting things. Here are some available options:
  • Many, many, many more

If you’re just getting started, an Uno (or Uno clone) is a good starting point.

I would also recommend some basic components: LEDs, buttons/switches, resistors, transistors, buzzers and 7-segment displays. There are a variety of kits available that come with everything you need to get started. Check Amazon, Adafruit and Sparkfun for some available options. Adafruit and Sparkfun also sell individual components. We will also have some components
available for those who are not able to bring their own.

Software

If you are just getting started, please install the Arduino IDE, or set up the Web IDE.

If you have some experience under your belt, and you hate the Arduino IDE (I don’t blame you), I’d recommend Platformio. It’s a good step up from the standard Arduino IDE.

September Class Project

We’re going to build a stopwatch/timer!

The hardware for this will involve at least two 7-segment displays, a piezo-buzzer, two buttons, and your Arduino. We will have resistors on hand for those who do not have their own. We will have kits available in limited quantity with all these parts (and more) for $20. If you have a board with limited I/O, you will also need a shift register.

We will use this as an opportunity to explore the various libraries available on the Arduino platform. We’ll also explore some basic programming techniques and practices.

Instructor Note

Hi, I’m Clegg. I work as a Firmware Engineer and have a passionate interest in embedded computing. I love the intersection of hardware and software, where resource constraints call for interesting solutions to difficult problems. I hope to encourage others to take an interest in this growing field.

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