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Author Topic: Getting Started. What to buy?  (Read 1231 times)
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Sorry if this is a wrong place for it but I figured id rather have it moved from a General Discussion where any topic can work rather than put it in a place where it shouldn't be.

I've always been into hardware but the initial start up to really get into it was always just too much for me. Now that I'm looking around, though, it seems like I am able to generally afford stuff. And so I've been on Sparkfun looking into Arduinos, Kits, etc. to determine what I want for around $100 (Although less it always good).

And so I have a few questions:
1. What are some general things I should have just to get started and mess around a bit? I don't have a project in mind at the moment so I just want enough to experiment some.
2. I understand the differences between the SMD and the PTH version of an Uno, but what end result does it put to me?
3. Am I aiming too low or high with a budget of $100? Can I go lower or is it not high enough to realistically get started?

Hopefully with your answers, I can pick a kit or get the parts for starting out.

Thank you,
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1.
You need an Arduino, I'd reccomend the UNO, doesn't matter if it's SMD or the DIP version. You also need a USB cable for it unless you don't have one already.
You need a breadboard, some jumper wire and components to play with. For example LED's with resistors, potentiometers, push buttons, various sensors and so on. I don't know what you like to play with.

If you don't know what you want to do and which things you would like to play around with, just order one of these http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10339. It matches your budget exactly.
I started with one of those.

2.
It probably won't matter to you which version you get.
You can't replace the ATMega on you board if you buy the SMD version but I don't think that's necessary unless it breaks and they usually don't do that.

3. The kit from sparkfun is $100. You can get away with lower if you skip some of the components.
You can also check the parts list and buy the parts separately but I don't know how much that would save you. The experiments and the source code for the kit is available online at ardx.org

You can also buy a bootloaded ATMega328, a crystal and some caps plus FTDI interface and do everything on breadboards if you like. That's probably the cheapest way but you won't be up and running in five minutes like you are with the UNO.
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The above recommendations are good. But I take one exception, the Uno SMD is a restrictive board compaired to the standard Uno board. Being able to program a sketch on a standard board and then remove the chip to a standalone application is very convienent, and as you have a stated hardware backround I'm sure that would be something you would be intereseted in.

The Uno SMD board was a responce to a shortage of DIP 328p chips and has no advantages over the standard Uno board.

Lefty

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That was the main thing, the fact hat I may want to just simply remove for a new in the case I want to stick it for a bread board Arduino. I mean sure I could create my own board to lets me stick a sketch on to an AtMega ad use it then, but it would make my Uno not as much of a proto platform as I would like it to be. I was trying to get the Inventor kit, but with a DIP chip by buying up all the parts in it but I couldn't get an exact part count and even then the price was going a bit high. In a perfect world I would want the inventor kit with a DIP chip but it is a fair bit of chance at it seems now.
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How about this one then?
http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=170

It's based around the same experiments but has a few parts less and is cheaper.
They say it contains the THM version but you might want to get that confirmed.
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Thanks for the link, I will confirm that. Are there any other kits out there that can work too seeing as this one is currently out of stock?
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You can get most of those same parts from dipmcicro.com and with inexpensive shipping too.
I would recommend a socketed board to start so that when you accidentally overstress an output & fry the atmega you can pop a new one in & keep going.
To add further, I would recommend a duemilanove (www.gravitech.us in AZ still carries them, or try mouser.com, they carry all the arduino stuff now) so that you can bitbang a bootloader onto a new blank part. Requires adding 4 pins to the board and jumpering those pins to the ICSP header.  There's a very well documented procedure available.
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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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Would this kit from the other thread be alright? Do they come with socketed boards? http://www.earthshineelectronics.com/10-arduino-duemilanove-compatible-starter-kit.html
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Looks like a socketed part.
My personal preference is the Duemilanove for its X3 connector
http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/arduino-duemilanove-schematic.pdf
for the big bang capability,
http://www.geocities.jp/arduino_diecimila/bootloader/index_en.html

I don't know if this capabililty has been worked out for the Uno, maybe using the 2 ISCP header parts
http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/arduino-uno-schematic.pdf

Others might advocate for a standalone programmer. Many ways to skin a cat, as they say.
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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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So this would be to stick in my own boot loader? Also the nice thing about Unos and the new megas is that whole "can emulate as a USB device" feature
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Yes, burn a bootloader into a blank part, or replace existing bootloader.
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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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(Not trying to sound jerky or w/e) But what purpose would that have to me? Can't I buy chips with loaders on them already?
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Yes, and you can buy blank ones for less and then load your own.
Or - take advantage of the FTDI chip and load Other parts that you Can't buy preloaded - like 644s, 1284s, the SMD parts ...
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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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I see that point you are getting at but I really want to experiment with the USB emulation that the new connection offers.
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No problem, can always pick up another later on.
Or roll your own version of one.
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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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