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Topic: BEGINNERS: TOP FIFTEEN MISTAKES (well a shot at them anyway) (Read 4556 times) previous topic - next topic

lastchancename

Aug 28, 2017, 11:55 am Last Edit: Aug 29, 2017, 01:11 pm by lastchancename

Everyone will have their own hit-list, so feel free to add them,
and if we all agree - I'll rename the thread to Top 4362 mistakes!

They're not always program/code problems, sometimes wires are in the wrong place because you didn't read or understand the product datasheets. (They're important!)

In no particular order
Specifically not including logical or structural errors, these can be discussed in detail for each unique project.

  • Using the hardware serial pins (0,1) for some other purpose
  • IDE can't see my board...
  • Setting the Serial Monitor to a different bit-rate than the Arduino's serial port...
  • Power Supply issues (VIN / 5V / 3V3) and misunderstanding the need for common 0V
  • Global variables & variable 'scope'... along with static & volatile keywords
  • Memory usage &  data types
  • Array sizing and overflow
  • ISR strategy - small & fast return
  • Character arrays vs Strings
  • Delay() vs millis() timing
  • while() & if() / else & switch() / case benefits
  • Switch (input) wiring & pull-ups/downs (setting pinDir)
  • Input state change & debounce
  • Output pins driving something with a bit of 'meat'
  • Capturing serial streams


Edit = small clarifications
When posting - use the toolbar and read the stickies if you're not sure!
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=528443.0;attach=244985

Robin2

Who is your list addressed to?

I suspect the newbie who is making one of those errors would not understand it.

The newbie will be conscious of the symptoms - usually described as "It won't work" - but won't know how to relate the symptoms to the cause.

...R
Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

lastchancename

Hopefully some conscientious beginners that *want* to learn more (as opposed to 'can you guys do it for me?)...

Give them the hooks to search and discover. Then ask.
I'm certainly not helping every bonehead that says 'my Arduino doesn't work'. or 'pinMode 2 = input pullup'
Yet, if a 'worthy' learner was nearby, i'd give my time freely to get them over the first hump, or a tricky problem.

Having been here for a few months, acknowledging each newbie is a different person, doesn't give me very much faith in their ability to discover things for themselves.

There are some very capable exceptions - and they deserve far more support than 'where do i put the USB cable'!
When posting - use the toolbar and read the stickies if you're not sure!
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=528443.0;attach=244985

Power_Broker

Let's not forget all those noobs trying to power servos off the 5V Arduino rail instead of a separate power supply. I lost count a long time ago of how many come to the forum with that problem.
"The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of mankind."
   - Nikola Tesla

wilykat

And lack of common ground.  There's obscene number of "problem" with Arduino and externally powered device like LED string.  Only connected data, no ground.

ballscrewbob

Number 1 should clearly be the inability of new people to read the stickies.
Get that down and a lot of the rest will deal with themselves.

How many times has anyone posted the "please see this thread" and linked to the "how to use this forum".
Also guilty as charged when I first came here.

Priority to get that obstacle fixed first.

It may not be the answer you were looking for but its the one I am giving based on either experience, educated guess, google or the fact that you gave nothing to go with in the first place so I used my wonky crystal ball.

PaulRB

Also guilty as charged when I first came here.
Then, perhaps you can provide some insight. Can you remember back... Why did you not read it? Many newbies claim not to have seen the link, but this must be selective blindness, because it's at the top of every forum section. They choose to ignore it. Why is that? What would have compelled you to read it before your first post? Is there anything that would have encouraged you to read it, or are we wasting our time trying?

My theory is that newbies assume it contains only warnings about use of abusive language, tolerance of others and that kind of thing, a standard set of rules you would find on any social forum. They have read those before.

I wonder if an "easter egg", a simple, short code word, could be buried in the guidelines post. It would not be possible to start a new thread without entering the code word into a field. The code word could be short ,and obvious, once you know it, so it would not slow down frequent forum posters.


slipstick

Because I'm the sort of odd beggar that does RTFM and because I didn't first come here with a pressing problem but just to learn about Arduinos I actually did read (most of) the stickies. I think you're correct that many people turning up will assume they're just general "How to use any old forum" rules and will think they already know how to use forums.

I did wonder if a change of title for the main one might help, perhaps to something more specific to THESE forums like "Getting good results from your Arduino questions".

Perhaps it's also possible to have something that needs to be accepted when first signing up for the forums (I would say like a software EULA but no-one reads those either). If the first few lines that are visible say something like: "If you don't read and follow these guidelines it is very likely that your questions will simply be ignored by most of the forum members. Help us to help you" it might just help.

But whatever you do will at best only catch some newcomers.

Steve

ballscrewbob

@PaulRB

Initially my problems were MKR1000 related and just at that time there was not an MKR section.
Things have improved in that a board section now appears almost before the board itself.

Prior to that I did do most of the things mentioned in the "how to use this etc" but only because I come from BBS days so it was normal for me to do some homework first.

Think I have probably said it before but I put a lot today's blame down to cell phones and short "twitter" like questions.
Being an older geek I would force feed the "how to use this section"  along with a quiz at the end on newer users LOL

It may not be the answer you were looking for but its the one I am giving based on either experience, educated guess, google or the fact that you gave nothing to go with in the first place so I used my wonky crystal ball.

GreyArea

Why we newbies don't read the stickies.

1. We don't know our problem is a common one. If we're here, we probably googled it, but didn't find the answer, so we think it's a bit "uncommon".

2. We don't know what we're looking for.

3. Stickies can be thirty pages long.

4. It's called a help forum;

forum
ˈfɔːrəm/Submit
noun
1.
a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.

For me, a sticky doesn't count...that's a help document.

I'm not being confrontational, but let me ask...you guys are Arduino experts. But you must be noobs in other areas...basket weaving. Martial arts. The works of Charles Dickens.

When you're in the noob role...do YOU read the stickies first?

ballscrewbob

@GreyArea

No I dont always read the stickies but that depends on a few things. TITLE is crucial, CONTENT should be pertinent, AMOUNT...right now there is an inordinate amount of stickies / sections including especially this one.

I am old school so research is often my first line as I would rather help myself than ask for it.

I had hoped this new one would be of use but right now its a cluster expletive and IMHO redundant as all the info is already on the CC website.

As GoForSmoke said there is the "LEARNING" tab. Which has 4 well defined categories that already cover the aspects of this post / section in a pretty comprehensive manner.




It may not be the answer you were looking for but its the one I am giving based on either experience, educated guess, google or the fact that you gave nothing to go with in the first place so I used my wonky crystal ball.

Robin2

3. Stickies can be thirty pages long.
I agree that that makes them almost useless.

Maybe somebody can write the essential advice for newbies into 20 or 30 lines. Preferably 20.


Quote
4. It's called a help forum;

forum
ˈfɔːrəm/Submit
noun
1.
a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.

For me, a sticky doesn't count...that's a help document.
There is an old adage "God helps those who help themselves"

It is also normal good manners for a newcomer to suss out the customs and practices of a new club rather than barging in and expecting everything to change now that HE has arrived.

...R
Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

Robin2

What do people think of the following text as an initial GO-TO place for newbies. (it is a bit more than 30 lines :( )

If it finds favour I will re post it in its own Thread and format it properly.

Comments, suggestions, additions (keep them short) and subtractions are welcome

Welcome. Everyone here hopes you will enjoy your Arduino as much as we do and we all want to help you.

If you are young and wish to be treated in a manner appropriate for a child let us know. Otherwise we will assume you are an adult and can withstand good-natured banter without taking offence.

Whatever your age we do expect that you will put a lot of effort into solving your own problem - for example by first seeing if you can find the answer with Google and by using the Arduino Learning section.

To get the best from the Forum ...  Help us to help you.

Spend a couple of hours reading several Topics on the Forum before posting your first question.
--- That way you can learn how the Forum works.

Give your Topic a meaningful title so that people know what you need help with.
--- that way people with experience of your problem are more likely to read your Topic.

Describe the project you want to create so that we can understand the context of your question.
--- Often newbies ask a question about a little piece of a project.
--- If we know what you are trying to achieve we may be able to point you in a better direction.

If you have a program that is not working post the program and tell us in as much detail as possible
--- {A} what it actually does
--- {B} what you want it to do that is different
--- and always post a complete program.

If you get error messages when trying to compile a program please post the full error message.

When posting a program (or an error message) it makes it very much easier if you use the code button </>

Code: [Select]
so your code looks like this
and is easy to copy to a text editor.

Give as much information as you can about the hardware you are using
--- the name of Arduino board
--- links to datasheets for any other items you are using
--- a schematic drawing showing how everything is connected.
----- a photo of a simple pencil drawing with the connections clearly labeled will be best
----- please do NOT use Fritzing as the diagrams are usually unclear.
----- Link to > Simple guide for uploading pictures


You can get a lot more infomation at Link to > How to Use the Forum


...R
Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

GreyArea

All very solid advice...except...

"Spend a couple of hours reading topics..."

This is the only problem. The newbies I would guess are (like me) trying to get a job done in their spare time. A lot, if they knew someone who could make it work, wouldn't even be bothering themselves. They don't want to learn EVERYTHING about an Arduino. They just want a light to go on and off.

Two hours is a bit much for that...

Let me stress - this forum is no different in these challenges and I've been on both sides of the table. It's interesting Bob admits he doesn't read stickies. You're fighting human nature in that we're all part Verrucha Salt; "Don't care how, I want it NOW".

On balance though you have a lot of people who are prepared to help...even if it is through gritted teeth...and only a few who seem dismissive...so I'm staying, if you'll have me.

Probably not good news to some!

AWOL

Please take this to "General Discussion"
"Pete, it's a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart." Ulysses Everett McGill.
Do not send technical questions via personal messaging - they will be ignored.
I speak for myself, not Arduino.

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