Arduino Super Noob

Hello Community, I’m brand spanking new to the forums and to the platform itself. I have a plethora of questions. I hope you guys can help me in finding some answers to them.

First of all, I am desperate to get into robotics. Is Arduino a good way to begin? If not, what else do you consider?

Is there any limits to what the Arduino platform can and can’t do? Could it for example, drive a car?

I have a many years of tech experience working with PC’s and servers and routers. Nothing too fancy, but I know my way around most kinds of hardware someone encounters in the PC world. I even spent a year or so working for a company that designed and built PLCs. For my regular job I write LAMP back end management areas for websites. Will Arduino be a huge learning curve for me?

I’m working with Windows right now, I wouldn’t mind switching to Ubuntu for Arduino development. Is there any advantage to doing this?

I see there is a few different versions of the board.

Arduino Nano

Arduino Mini

Arduino BT

LilyPad Arduino

Arduino Fio

Arduino Pro

Arduino Pro Mini

What do I need to get started?

Thanks for reading!

SuperNoob?? No, you're just starting something new yet again.

Be Donzi (as my friends in China say): "Don't Worry About It"!

Arduino is perfect IMHO for starting in Robotics. It can drive 4 or more Servos (Typical Radio Control Servos). Modify or buy servos with continuous rotation and you are already rolling.

I'd suggest you start with a "regular" Arduino and later play with the variants.

Or, you could get a "RoboDuino" which is just like a regular one, with added connectors built in for Servos.

Here's an example project: and...

---Couple other Robot pointers: (ArdBot is a project in last 3 months of SERVO Robotics magazine)

Personally I would buy a regular Arduino and then get a "Sensor Shield" that plugs on top and brings all those I/O connections out like Roboduino. Then you can build all kinds of stuff. And the RoboDuino is a KIT: If you don't want to start right out soldering maybe the regular Arduino is better..

Also look into "electronic bricks" as a really fast way to connect example Input and Output devices and write code to test ideas.

A lot of info on these and other subjects is on my (Very Unfinished) website. Go ahead and try it out if you want, but please don't post this in other places yet: USER: kaust PASS: student I'm using this for a workshop I'm teaching...

You could jump ahead to here if you want:

You can see the Sensor Shield and some Electronic Bricks here: Servos can plug directly into the Sensor Shield. You can buy these here: and look on ebay if you're into bargains.. (I have some of the "Seeeduino" boards and they work well).

I'm working on getting all this stuff together in China at a good price... I used to live there and have good friends who are looking for me..

Just Go For It!!

Regards, Terry King ..On the Red Sea at

Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement! I think I will go with the real Arduino! Which one is that "real" one. Is that the Arduino Pro?

No, the Arduino UNO is the latest, from many suppliers. See BUY or etc etc

Wouldn't it make more sense for me to get one of those Arduino starter kits? Can I get an Arduino Starter Kit with an UNO?

Hi wh,

I'm teaching an Arduino Workshop and several people just asked me that :) (I had enough Arduinos / Seeeduinos to start the class, fortunately)... Here's what I answered last night:

---------------------( COPY )-------------------------- There is a comparison for several Starter Sets here: it does not include the Far East low-cost suppliers...

Then there's Ebay:

I' ve bought stuff from this guy, and this is a good price for a lotta stuff ...:

Make sure you note whether the set INCLUDES an Arduino (usually an open-source copy) or NOT.. And.. the Low-Cost Hong Kong Post shipment can take 2 weeks or so. You can pay more for faster, usually.

Then there's AKA Superman.. But except for Stephen, who's from Hong Kong, you'd need to view in with Google Chrome browser with translate on.

I am trying to source this: which is a great price WITH an Arduino copy. I have bought Arduino Open Source copies from them, but like many Chinese businesses there are really more people and suppliers involved, and I'm not really sure yet if they are in Beijing or Shenzhen. -----------------( END COPY )----------------------

It's a Big Arduino World!

In a couple of weeks my friend in Shenzhen, where I used to live, and I hope to be able to source some of this stuff.

I'm still not sure what Arduino kit to purchase.

If I want the UNO, is there an Arduino Starter kit that contains the UNO? If not, what is the second best option for me?

What is so much better about the UNO versus the other models anyhow?

wh33t: What is so much better about the UNO versus the other models anyhow?

Hmmm. Right now I don't think it IS a better choice if you can find earlier versions or options. The new USB interface has been a problem for a few people, and adds no value unless you want to do detailed USB development work.

Ahh thanks for much for clarifying.

So is there just a "regular" Arduino called "Arduino" that I want then? I figure I'll just get the most elaborate starter kit I can find.

Definitely it's a New learning curve into MICROCONTROLLER learning ,it makes a lot easier the whole embedded process ,you will experience that if you had taken up PIC microcontroller's tried programming them in C/C++ there is a lot of mishaps and connectivity problem's that you will face initially(However will make you learn) ,but then ATmega's and PIC both are prices same more or less then ATmega based open source system's are in fact blessing's. There is a whole lot of support for it and also a person can just start and make new development's pretty fast.

wh33t: So is there just a "regular" Arduino called "Arduino" that I want then? I figure I'll just get the most elaborate starter kit I can find.

The main issue is what "Arduino" boards you can buy that are CURRENTLY made by the original group.

Take a good look at: for today's products, and yesterdays. The 2009 Arduino Duemilanove is functionally the same as the Uno with a different USB interface chip. Many open-source copies of the Arduino Duemilanove are available (AKA Clones)...

And there are some derivatives like the Seeeduino and the DFRobot clones ( I like the DFRobot Romeo which has connectors for lots of servos and a built-in H-bridge chip to drive small DC motors..

Here's a big starter kit for $63 shipped: Tell Leon that "Peng Sent Me"...

NOTE: Most of these Ebay "Arduino" kits have open-source copy "clone" boards made in China. But all the ones I've bought so far look good and work fine. The ATMEL chip was tested well in the factory and the board is not very complex...

If you already have an Arduino board here are LOTS of parts to play with for 38 bucks shipped:

BUT, BUT these shipping prices are for HongKongPost Airmail which can take 14-20 days to USA. Some sellers have more expensive faster options.

I hope to be sourcing some of this stuff soon, with better shipping options to USA / Europe. "It's Complicated" believe me...

But most important stuff is get started and learn things. This is a GREAT era to do electronics / microcomputer stuff. I've been hacking since Vacuum Tubes and this is WAY better :)

So if I get ( I will be able to read regular Arduino Tutorials and apply the same techniques/knowledge? I think I will get this. It has an LCD :smiley:

OK, Maybe you’d do fine with a little bit simpler kit. (That one has a copy of the Arduino MEGA by the way…)

He has these four, I think: $30+13 (With Arduino clone) Looks good to start… $38 (No Arduino) $30+13 (With Arduino clone) $50 +13 (The one you looked at)

The smaller LCD’s like the first one are good and supported by the libraries that come with the Arduino software…

What access to electronics parts do you have? Where are you located??

Maybe I shouldn’t do this, but let me know if you want one of these with fast ($$) shipping… My friend in China could probably help… Probably about $20 for DHL… so probably about $60 total…

Shipping is the challenge from where this stuff is made in Asia…

Or you can buy in USA from Adafruit or Sparkfun…

I'm in BC Canada. ( these guys are fairly close. I'm not sure what they stock though.

I'm a COMPLETE noob to electronics. I will basically get what ever you think is best for me. I would like to buy a kit big enough so that I can actually do some things with it. Not being too close to supplies I'd like to have enough to keep me occupied while I wait for new parts to arrive.

I'm confused what makes the Arduino's different. Don't they all run the same programming language?

wh, Canakit is probably good.. Their starter kits have some things to try out and learn with (The Pro kit, anyway) and since they are in BC you can get other stuff...

There is a good comparison of Starter Kits here:

But don't get bogged down in Analysis Paralysis.. get Doing!

[quote author=Terry King link=topic=50644.msg384127#msg384127 date=1298828500] wh, Canakit is probably good.. Their starter kits have some things to try out and learn with (The Pro kit, anyway) and since they are in BC you can get other stuff...

There is a good comparison of Starter Kits here:

But don't get bogged down in Analysis Paralysis.. get Doing! [/quote]

Thanks dude, You've been a great help. I'm going to get the Pro-kit.

OK, so I got far into buying and researching some of these Starter Sets. I found 4 that I liked, and got a good price on them directly from the guy in China. (Disclaimer: these are now on the online store I have!). But you can buy them on ebay if you want, without the carrying case and information I provide. Take a look here: You will see some come with an Arduino-compatible 328 board, one with a Mega1260 compatible.

If you have an Arduino but are looking for lots of low-cost components, displays etc. to go with it, this: may be interesting.

I'm working with newcomers in the workshops I am doing and that's what got me started on finding sources for all this stuff, plus the interesting discussions and explorations we had earlier in this thread. Remains to be seen if I ever break even on this stuff, and I'm trying not to go too ]crazy with my friend Peng going to the incredible "Radio Row of 2011" at the SEG market in Shenzhen. Good thing I am not physically there or I'd be outta control :)

Anyone with suggestions for what should be IN Starter Sets please let me know!

[Update: Starting to put together our own Starter Sets.. Suggestions appreciated! ]