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Topic: Never programmed before. Can Arduino be a hobby? (Read 5653 times) previous topic - next topic


Jan 05, 2011, 04:23 pm Last Edit: Jan 05, 2011, 06:17 pm by pman555 Reason: 1
I've never written any computer programming or anything of that nature, but I am interested in getting into electronics as a hobby.  
Would I be able to pick up an Arduino kit and enjoy it?  I'm usually pretty tech/computer savvy.
Yesterday I purchased Spikenzie Labs' Dice Kit and Adafruit's Minty Boost to get me started building simple electronics kits.

Also, if I were to purchase a beginners' kit, which should I choose?  Currently I'm leaning towards Sparkfun's Inventor's Kit.

But Adafruit's Starter Pack looks OK too.  

Or would Adafruit's ARDX be better to start with?

I will post links in a reply, since it wont let me post links in my first ever post.

Thanks in advance for your input.


Jan 05, 2011, 05:00 pm Last Edit: Jan 05, 2011, 05:03 pm by robtillaart Reason: 1
Reacting on your title: Arduino can be a hobby, a profession and even an addiction :)

A nice free reader - http://www.earthshineelectronics.com/files/ASKManualRev4.pdf  - and of course the tutorial section - http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage - is a good place to start.

Every starterkit will do, be aware that you will not do all experiments and you will have a components-heap somewhere.
Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)


Programming (also often called 'coding') can be tricky to learn.
It isn't too hard to get basic stuff to work, but more complex systems might require a coding mentality (it is sort of a different way of thinking..)
Though if you like the challenge, with an arduino it can certainly deliver on impressiveness.
One of the projects I enjoy myself (being a coding guy) is robotics. You have a mechanical aspect (there are many kits you can buy if you're not proficient in this area), an electrical aspect and a software aspect.
Lots of places to experiment, lots of things to learn (sensors, power supplies, motors, pathfinding algorithms, obstacle avoidance... to name just a couple).

So yes, as mentioned.. it can be work, hobby, an addiction, a calling, your dream...
Question is whether you have the drive to learn!


Jan 05, 2011, 06:16 pm Last Edit: Jan 05, 2011, 06:17 pm by AlphaBeta Reason: 1
Hello pman555 and welcome to the forums! :)

Congratulations on being the first newcomer that I've witnessed that actually do not post a dummy post somewhere in order to post urls in the first post, but rather thinks to reply to the thread with the urls! In my mind, this is evidence that you must be a logical and practical fellow who would fit wonderfully with any Arduino kit.

For me Arduino is actually all of robtillaart's suggestions :)
Good luck, and keep us posted what you chose and why (someone might be asking themselves the same questions as you)!


Jan 05, 2011, 09:03 pm Last Edit: Jan 05, 2011, 09:03 pm by robtillaart Reason: 1
Think when I started over I would go for the ARDX kit, a bit cheaper that the sparkfun kit and[glow] buy a small multimeter[/glow] for the difference.
Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)


robtillaart - If you dont mind explaining, what do you prefer in the ARDX over the sparkfun kit?

AlphaBeta - Thanks for the compliment!  I hope I can live up to the bar I've set for myself. haha


Welcome to the forum Pman! Yes, it can be a great hobby. I've had my Arduino for just a few months and came to it with practically no programming experience (just a little Basic back in the Commodore64 days). Just start with the easy blinking led stuff and work your way up. It can be a bit frustrating at first but once you're over the initial "hump" it starts making more sense and the learning comes more quickly. I got a lot from LadyAda's tutorials. To start I just got a breadboard some resistors and led's as well as a cheap multimeter and that kept me going for quite a while until I learned what else I needed. Good luck!


Welcome to the forum, pman555.

While it isn't enforced, it is nice if at some point you set in your profile where you are located at (you don't have to give GPS coords; just your city and country, or anything else approximate). This is so that in the future, if we want to tell you where to pick up some parts or something, we can reccommend where to go better.

It always stinks to tell someone to pick up something from some place, and then find out they live on the other side of the world or something!

Starting out, the first things you will really want are a multimeter (a small cheapo "harbor freight" style chinese brand will be OK) and a breadboard (the bigger, the better - if you can afford one of those 30 dollar 1000+ hole breadboard, get one - if you can afford two, even better! Even so, look to get some of the smaller ones as well).

Also, be sure to get some jumpers; if you're cheap like me (or you can't afford pre-made jumpers), get about a 6 foot length of 24 pair solid-conductor phone cable, then use a pair of metal shears to cut it into foot long lengths. Strip off the outer jacket, and you'll be left with a bunch of foot long pieces of wire in different colors (which you can then cut into small lengths and/or strip the ends off for jumpers). Another option (though not as good - not as many colors) is old solid-core cat5 cable.

Also, I second Imahilus's suggestion of robotics: There's no other subject that I can think of that brings together so many disparate skill sets than robotics. You can start small and work your way up fairly easily, and depending on how deep you go with your research, you can easily start treading on the meanings of life and intelligence.

Robotics, looked at from the idea of creating life from non-living matter, has been a pursuit of mankind since (likely) pre-history; no other pursuit, other than maybe flight or "eternal life", have been similar in the level of persistant pursuit by mankind over the centuries.

To be a part of this pursuit is, according to some, to be a part of the next leap forward in human evolution.

Plus its fun!

I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.


Jan 06, 2011, 03:39 am Last Edit: Jan 06, 2011, 03:42 am by CrossRoads Reason: 1
Here's my version of a protoboard - three 830 contact solderless breadboards from pololu.com stuck to a clipboard, arduino bolted down with a 4-40 hardware.

The solid core 24 guage wire certainly works fine, I used that for years.
Recently I picked up several packages of terminated flexible wire jumpers, sooo much nicer to use.

Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


Sure it can be a hobby. If it could only be a business I would have been bankrupt several years ago.  ;D


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