Getting started - From absolute zero

Hi guys,

I want to get an Arduino board for a friend for Xmas. He's a computer programmer and I know he'd love to tinker with making stuff.

I on the other and am a real geek, ::slight_smile: (honest!) but know next to noting about electronics. Can I ask you guys to advise, other than the Arduino board and the software, is there anything else 100% essential for my friend to get going? I'm thinking stuff like LEDs, cables, power source etc. Whatever the Arduino needs to "Work."

I don't want to give a lame-o present that he won't be able to use till he's bought more gear! ;D

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.


I'm thinking stuff like LEDs, cables, power source etc. Whatever the Arduino needs to "Work."

Precisely! Nothing is more depressing than not having the resistors/LEDs/Potentiometers, etc that you need!

I'm looking into getting one for myself (:)) for Christmas, and this kit seems like a nice starting point for me (I'm new to this too, but I've learned a lot since I first looked at Arduinos).

Good luck!

Thanks TchncIFI for the advice,

I (and my friend) live in Italy, so I guess I should be looking more at this rather than just the plain Arduino board. Hmm.. darn. It's twice the price :confused:

I guess there's not a halfway step, then? :slight_smile:

I suppose so. But if you can wait the time it may take, it may even be cheaper paying for CuteDigi's foreign shipping charge:

Countries except USA
Standard Shipping

  • Regular postal service
  • No tracking number
  • Approximately 3 to 20 business days US$5.95 for first item +
    US$0.95 for each additional item
    Express Shipping
  • FedEx (or Equivalent)
  • With tracking number
  • No shipping to P.O. box and APO/FPO address
  • Approximately 1 to 3 business days US$29.95 for first item +
    US$15.95 for each additional item

Not a bad deal IMO. Even if you got the Express shipping I think it would be cheaper :P.

Aside from the Arduino itself ( which can be puchased built or as a kit ) you dont really need anything to get started, aside from the sensors and leds, etc.
The programming enviroment is a free download - and that really all you need.
Rather than just giving him a box or leds and relays to play with, I would advise checking into the many many shields you can get for these things.
A sheild snaps right on the arduino and expands the hardware to whatever the shield was designed for, fo instance there are "wav shields" that will play sound files from a sd card.
or GPS/datalogger shields or many others.

This way he could start " doing stuff" right away - and that is where you really get into it. I'd leave the leds and other stuff for him to get, there are so many options - it really depends on what the project is.

just my 2cents

Hi there again, and first off, thanks! Just like Moodle (an open source project I work with a fair bit) it's great to see how helpful folk are here. Kinda why i thought Arduino would make a nice present :slight_smile:

So, I think US shipping would be a good idea if I hadn't left it so late. I think I'm gonna give the whole Arduino thing a try, too. I'll buy U.S. when I do.

As for the shield, it seems like an excellent idea. I'm going to have a look into what other ones exist. However, it does seem even more like it depends on whatever my friend decides to make as to what he'd want? If he makes a robot, I guess he wouldn't want.. ummm.. a thermostat for example.

So, the one nice thing to know is that the Arduino board thingggy works on its own if I get him the pre-assembled one. Maybe I could. also just get an LED and a switch or two. Or maybe that's still lame :-[

The important thing I guess is that on the first day my friend can do something with his Arduino. The rest of it he can get when he decides what madcap scheme he wants to try out :slight_smile:

Do you have any electronic shops in your area (such as the USA's Radio Shack)? Perhaps you could get him a gift card to there, or an online gift card to some electronics site (even eBay is nice, because they have TONS of components :)).

That way, he could get what he wanted, without you having to decide it for him :slight_smile:

Just some thoughts. :smiley:

Great idea... and a good friend indeed.

Other "items" to include:

  • a list of links/URLs for site (especially the Playground there), the Forums, and maybe Hobby electronics 'getting started' sites.
  • an Oscilloscope ::slight_smile:
  • some Wine

Also consider that while the Arduino board (Deumilanove for example) is ready-to-go, some of the shields (for example, Protoshield) might come in "kit form", and require soldering tools. (not big-work BTW).

  • an Oscilloscope

Heh! (for those who have not looked at one, well it took some serious talking for me to get my "not working" 1987 model, so yea you can have one, just depends on how low your standards are vs how low your funds are)

anyway on topic, what about that "Getting started with" or "making things talk" book

There is a goldmines worth of ideas so they know how to spend their gift card (or whatever)

Hey there Osgeld and Capio,

Wow.. an oscilloscope for Xmas.. he's a good friend, but I've got a mortgage to think about :smiley:

The book's a great idea actually, but AFAIK it's only available in English (my friend's Italian.)

As for a list of links, that's an excellent idea and I'll definitely do it. I'll prob burn the software onto a C, too. Totally unnecessary, I know, but at least it feels like you've got everything and are ready to go.

Anyhow, I've now got a shiny new duemilanove or 2009 winging it's way to my house. I'm seriously tempted to get one too. Looks like fun :slight_smile: Think wine would definitely add to my fun, too. Not sure if it'd help my progress much though.

I'm just intrigued as to what my friend will make. He's a systems programmer for bank software. Should be interesting anyhow. Maybe some sort of high-tech piggy bank. That'd be cool, a piggy bank that tells you how much is in there ::slight_smile:

Maybe some sort of high-tech piggy bank. That'd be cool, a piggy bank that tells you how much is in there

With a RFID reader to control who can get money out...

you should grab one, they are a ton of fun