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Xanthi, Greece
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Hi. New member here. Nice to meet you all!

I didn't know anything about Arduino until just a few hours ago! I'd seen the name pop up here and there quite frequently and started thinking it must be something amazing. Is it?

I've read most of the stuff about Arduino on its official page and was intrigued by the things it seems to be able to do controlling the outside world, so I thought I'd dig somewhat deeper.

I've thought about getting myself an Arduino Uno to start off with, but I'd like to have a few opinions first. So, what do you think? Which Arduino board is best to begin with, but not so basic that it couldn't do some advanced things?

Well, I may be almost ignorant as regards Arduino, but I've been programming in C since the '90s and I'm very good at it, so I guess that's a great advantage for learning to program a microcontroller. Some things I'd like to do first include controlling house lighting, surveillance camera systems, and perhaps other home automation. Are these things easy to do with an Arduino?

Oh, and one more question: I've read (or think I've read) that Arduino Uno may not be compatible with Windows 7? Is that so or did I misunderstand? I'd appreciate if you'd let me know.

Thanks in advance for any help with my questions.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 06:44:12 pm by Aggelos » Logged

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Hello. I'm pretty new to the Arduino myself. I picked up the Mega 2560 R3 board from RadioShack not too long ago. I need the extra I/Os for hobby RC robotics.

The Arduino microcontrollers aren't heavy on processing power or memory, so they're not going to work for audio/video processing or the like, but they're great at more basic/fundamental electronics control prototyping and hobby electronics use, like turning things on/off, controlling servos, and so on. They also have different analog and digital inputs that can interpret a proportional range of voltage from things like potentiometers, read a PWM signal, or see if something else is on or off, like a switch. Based on these different inputs, you can have the Arduino board do something else. There are also a bunch of different add-on "shields" that can add different capabilities to your project with relative ease, like if you want to incorporate an SD card for data logging.

The main part of the program that you want run will typically run in a loop so it will continue to function. I've found it a little interesting to train myself to think cyclically instead of just linearly to be able to get programs ("sketches") to do different thinks based on the changing values of variables and inputs. I'm not a professional programmer though, just a hobbyist.

So anyway, welcome to the forum, and what kind of projects did you have in mind more specifically? Controlling lights and turning things on and off should be pretty straightforward, though you'll have to deal with the high voltages properly. Probably easier to start with some LEDs and work your way up. It's too easy to make simple mistakes and short something out or overload something. You could also check in the Project Guidance section if you had specific questions on the feasibility of projects.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 04:14:46 am by Wrend » Logged

Xanthi, Greece
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Thank you so much, Wrend, for the warm welcome and for taking the time to write an enlightening reply!
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You're welcome. From my experience with the Mega 2560 so far, the Arduino boards are a lot of fun to play around with, and can be useful in a lot of surprising and innovative ways. Check out the link to the Arduino blog to see some relevant news and some of the interesting things people are using the boards for, if you haven't already.

There are a lot of projects and samples to be found for it on the internet too.

I don't know about the Uno working with Windows 7 or not. I still use XP primarily myself.

I hope your projects go well.
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Oh, and one more question: I've read (or think I've read) that Arduino Uno may not be compatible with Windows 7? Is that so or did I misunderstand? I'd appreciate if you'd let me know.
Not true.  Where did you read that?
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