So I have been looking into buying an Arduino board, and I'm wondering what type of (useful) projects can be done relatively easy and without spending too much. I also want to make sure I buy the right things. I have the starter kit in mind. Would it be realistic to have something that would flip a lightswitch? What if I wanted to turn on or control a bluetooth speaker? Would things like this be realistic to do? What kits/supplies would be needed and are this projects too complex for a beginner? Thanks!
Before you start any project, you will need to understand the capabilities of the Arduino, and learn something of the programming language.
So, we recommend to buy an Uno and try out some of the simple examples that come with the software development package (Arduino IDE).
Hint: for examples of completed Arduino projects, just google "arduino" along with your favorite project idea. Chances are it has been done and details are posted somewhere.
Thanks for the input, I have a good bit of prior programming experience, so I don't think that would be an issue. Ill check out the uno if you think that is the way to start. If I decide that I like it, would you recommend buying the starter kit next?
There are lots of "Arduino starter kits".
If the kit contents and suggested projects look interesting and worthwhile, why not?
You can learn a lot just playing with a $2 eBay Pro Mini, too. However, with that you will need a USB/serial programming adapter, a "breadboard", soldering pencil, etc.
I have a good bit of prior programming experience, so I don't think that would be an issue.
Yes.....but....if you have done "regular" programming i.e. database, web, desktop apps etc. you will have a bit of a learning curve moving to process control (controlling lights, motors, reading switches and sensors etc.) - for lack of a better term - things just work differently and some of your thought processes might need to be reviewed.
I had done C in the past and have a heavy industrial programming background much of it on the factory floor using PLC's (Programmable Logic Controllers) using Ladder Logic and I have had to struggle at times with the Arduino and the different way it works. In some cases things that I could have done with maybe one or two rungs of code take half a dozen here.
My advice, do what I did and get an intro kit and work through the text, expand on the examples as you see fit and try a few extra things. The intro will save you a lot of frustration in the long run.