I have a general understanding of basically what an Arduino is, but beyond that know absolutely nothing. I have been reading this forum for 2 days and have no idea where to post my most basic questions. I wanna know what I need to buy. I am ready to purchase whatever I need but don't know what I need.
From the websites I have found there are at least a couple dozen variations of an "Arduino board" are there any I should avoid? I was ready to buy the one called the Duemilanove but everyone says out of stock, then I find the Uno, but just before ordering I seen a ton of others such as nano, bluetooth, Mega2560 but it gets worse. I then see a video clip on something called the Sanguino and was totally impressed by the number of I/O's it offered. I have little to no interest in the Lily thing, but then I think it is merely another version of the Arduino system correct? So it could do just about anything that all the other boards do? Then I found little mini stripped down RBB or something like that, their boards that start around $8 bucks! I feel so lost.
I only have USB on my laptops, so serial will not be an option. There is more than one type of USB 'driver' now, is the newer one better than the FTDI one? Then I need resistors, capacitors, buttons, switches, jumper wires, some fun sensors, a few displays and all sorts of other components. Where do people shop? I wanna spend a couple hundred initially will that buy me enough to play?
I am just looking for a forum or website articles geared more toward the absolute beginner, you guys are all too smart for me lol. I don't know what to buy. Maybe someone could give the ultimate shopping list. You know something like for $75 you could get this and it could do xx # of projects, or for $150 you should buy this and it can do XX more projects. Just any help really, where do I start?
Where do I post stupid beginner questions, you know like asking the difference in the new USB driver vs. the older one?
You might want to spend more than just 2 days "lurking". As you have noted, the Arduino world is somewhat complex and widely applicable to many different projects. Spend some time looking through the Exhibition/Gallery section to see what other people are doing with Arduino.
I am sorry to have not been more clear. I have been watching the Arduino projects on Youtube, Engadget and Instructables for nearly 2 years now, just never knew what exactly it was. The hundreds of projects have inspired me for some time, even the most simple LED blinking is impressive to me.
There are many variations of Arduino because it is "open-source" and many people have different notions of what would be useful. That is a good thing. It gives you many options so you can select something that best fits your project.
This is what I find the most interesting. It is just as amazing as the advent of cheap pricing for computers. When costs are driven down this low it totally paves the way for innovation and at the very least implementation. I know that every person out there has a use far more important or relevant to what their individual needs are the the person before them. But with the fact that the price point is so low combined with the development being open source together it opens up worlds to us all.
I guess the main reason I am writing is because I do not have a specific use in mind for myself, this is why I don't want the options to me closed. I want to have my desk cluttered with as much as I can so that I can attempt any project I want. Certainly one board would limit me more than another if I don't know what all I want to try out yet correct?
If you are new to electronic projects and will be learning as you build, I would suggest that you start with a arduino board that use a processor chip in a DIP package that plugs into a socket. It's not unusual for newcomers to damage their boards while learning and the ability to just plug in a replacement $5 AVR chip is not to be ignored. Boards based on SMD packages like the Uno SMD or Mega2560 boards make it almost impossible to replace the processor chip for all but the most experienced users.
I wouldn't over think it too much, for $20 you can buy an Arduino, another 20 for some parts, then start playing.
Another option is a starter kit, there are a few around, like this http://toysdownunder.com/arduino-starter-kit.html (http://toysdownunder.com/arduino-starter-kit.html).
Here's a review of some
Cupla years old now I think but still useful.
The Uno is probably the board you're looking for, the Duemilanova is the older board
Some fun things to pick up, obviously capacitors, resistors, LEDs, motors, stepper motors (motors that you can move in precise amounts), LCDs, LEDs, sensors of all sorts, Xbees, Xbee shield, Xbee explorer (the shield goes on the arduino, the explorer plus into the computer via USB)