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Topic: New to Arduino, but not electronics. Therefore, which board? (Read 2 times) previous topic - next topic

jp128

I have been looking at a ton of boards online, for quite a while now. Here is what I have gathered:

Arduino Uno is one of the newer boards, quite powerful, and it has a lot of shields.

Arduino Mega2560 is the most powerful with 54 D-I/O and 16 A-I/O. This one seems to be the best but there aren't a lot of shields for it. I saw that many of the available shields were compatible, however.

As far as familiarity with programming, computers, Linux/Windows, I am quite comfortable with each. I really want to get the Mega2560, but it seems that there are better things out there for the Uno.

My question is this: How long do you guys think that it would take for the Mega to get as popular, or as accessorized (is that a word? :P)? Like I said, I am wayyy new to the Arduino, but I learn very fast.

Suggestions then? Also, which site should I purchase from?
John-Paul
Geek Squad - Getting Geekier :D

fliggygeek

The mega has been out for nearly as long as the standard format Arduinos (Diecemielia, Uno). It is more expensive, larger and not as easy to use due to sheer size. It is faster, more capable and uses more power too, but these trade offs are what make less people want it for their projects. The main Arduino crowd are happy to make smaller projects and just make do with the cheaper one, and this is why there are more options for the smaller ones. It is all about market share and popularity. Therefore I do not think that there will be a similar following to the mega as there has been with the standard ones. The real question is "What do you want to make with the board?" This question is the important one, if you want to make something complex, then chances are you will need more than just standard shields and will want to make your own.  If you are comfortable coding, maybe you should get a Uno, and challenge yourself with making hardware that, when coupled with clever code, can make what seems limited by physical limitations become much more flexible and functional. Things like using Two Wire serial connections to address devices, make inputs attach to shift registers etc. Other things you may want to try, make a shield that converts a mega into a two shield Uno carrier. The options are endless.
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent di

Korman

What do you want to do with that board? If the regular Arduino based on the ATmega328 processor offers you enough I/O ports, get any compatible board you like. If you want to use pre-made shields, make sure the board has the usual Arduino dimensions, if you need small consider the Arduino Mini Pro (and don't forget the USB-TTL cable or Board to go with it), if you want cheap go with the cheapest found on ebay, if you want Italian or the Original, go with the Arduino Uno, if you like another one or a shop selling their own, go with those. It makes no big difference. If you need more I/O, the same dance applies to the Arduino Mega too.

Korman

cyberteque

I'm kinda in the same boat, new to Arduino, but have a background in electronics, programming and light engineering.
So I bought my first Mega, then another, then a Deminalova, then 2 SeeedStudio Mega clones and 10 ATMEGA328's with the Arduino bootloader.

As soon as I got my first Mega, I bought a digital compass, a GPS shield, XBee shield, 2 XBee's, an XBee explorer and a Sparkfun serial backpack LCD.
Within an hour I had a working GPS!
With a digital compass!

My point is if you get into Arduino and have a background in electronics.....

All that shit you always wanted to build, is right there!

Usually with a library and examples!

As to compatibility, the SPI and I2C pins are in a different spot, but there are software workarounds and for non-shield stuff, who cares!
It's just a different set of pins, your digital compass wont care!

CrossRoads

#4
Jan 31, 2011, 04:35 pm Last Edit: Mar 13, 2011, 10:50 pm by CrossRoads Reason: 1
Exactly! I bought a protoshield board, then promptly ignored it when I couldn't fit the circuit I wanted on it. I have since built up a lot of stuff just wirewrapping it on velleman ECS1/2 "island of holes" cards, and put in a promini on it in its own socket so I could pull it out easily to program it (to avoid my circuit interfering with the Rx/Tx lines).
[edit  corrected model to ecs1/2]
I am also an EE, so am quite comfortable designing/building up my own circuitry.  Others  may not be ...
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

retrolefty

I always recommend someone starting out to get a Mega328 based (in DIP package) board first. It allows one to move a sketch once developed and debugged into a easily built 'standalone' application by simply removing the 328 chip and buying a $6 replacement chip for your arduino board. The Mega1280/2560 boards being 100 pin SMD packages soldered into the board, don't allow that easy a process to move from development to standalone project.

Or simply buy both a 328 board and a mega board and use the best for the project at hand.

Lefty

vinhtvu2

If you decide you need more pins after getting an Arduino 328, you can always add some shift registers to add more inputs or outputs.
I have an Arduino Mega and a couple old 168 and a couple standaline 328... and I think the 328 are easiest to use for pretty much all applications. The Mega doesn't work well with shields and stuff like the ethernet shield... you have to do some extra steps to get it to work with the ethernet shield, granted it's not difficult.
Another valid point is that the 328P is breadboard-able, and you can integrate it into your design easily once you're done with the project... the Mega uses surface mount components so you'll have to leave it all connected like that, harder to print circuit board for integration.

jp128

Okay. Well, truth is, I don't know EXACTLY what I want to do with this yet. I just don't want to feel like there will be a limit haha. I have sooo many ideas and a lot of people that give me ideas as well. I am fairly comfortable with electronics, creating PCBs, etc.

I think even though the Uno does not have the specs the Mega has, I will go with the Uno. Like you guys said, I can always buy another, which I have already decided will probably happen.

John-Paul
Geek Squad - Getting Geekier :D

jp128

How hard is it to add more memory to the Uno. 32K vs 256K is a big difference.
John-Paul
Geek Squad - Getting Geekier :D

retrolefty


How hard is it to add more memory to the Uno. 32K vs 256K is a big difference.


Impossible. The memory for program storage is internal non-volatile ram and there is no way to increase it's size. 32K is pretty big, few arduino projects run out of program memory. Running out of SRAM memory to hold variables, arrays, the stack, etc is much more common.

Lefty

jp128

Would it be more feasible to get the Mega and then when I want to make a standalone just buy the 328 chips?
John-Paul
Geek Squad - Getting Geekier :D

CrossRoads

I suppose, as long as you don't use the features of the Mega that aren't available in the 328, like the multiple serial ports, or ...
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

jp128

Okay. Thank you guys for all your help. I will just have to buy both, eventually, to satisfy everything that I want to do. I will probably just start with the Uno now, since I don't know exactly what I will be building. When I finally reach it's limitations (if that happens) then I will move on to the Mega.

So thanks again for all your help :D
John-Paul
Geek Squad - Getting Geekier :D

pwillard

Here is my experience:

While I really like my UNO and Severinos...

Of all of the Arduino flavors I own... I find the ADAFRUIT Boarduino to be the most useful and the most likely item to become part of a final project.


CrossRoads

That does seem like a nice alternative to using a slightly smaller Promini (just 1.3" long) if one needed the power jack connector to supply the onboard regulator.  I am bringing in external regulated 5v from wallwarts and bypassing the onboard regulator and similarly programming via FTDI adapter for permanent embedding.
Every project is a different; is kinda nice having all these options to find a best fit at somewhat similar price points!
- promini
- boarduino
- ardweeny
- RBBB
- jeenodo
- roll your own collection
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

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