Hello! I'm new and I have three questions.

Hello! I'm brand new to the forum and Arduino. I havn't gotten any actual boards or hardware yet. I'm currently looking at starter kits. I am juat starting to learn about electronics and programming. I'm 13 and do not know how to solder but I am going to learn. Now that you guys know how much of a noob I am I have 3 questions.

  1. What does a protoshield do exactly?

  2. For the LEDs and buttons that come with starterstarter kits where can you find those outside of starter kits and which ones are compatible with Arduino?

  3. Where are some good places to start learning about electronics, electricity. and programming? Do you guys know of any really good books or websites?

Thanks in advance for any and all answers! 8-)

1: A protoshield mates with the Arduino, and combines a small breakout board (a place to develop circuits) with all the pins brought up, as well as a place to connect a blue-tooth adapter.

2: Any button (switch) will be compatible. LEDs are compatible, if they, when combined with a resistor, draw no more than 40 mA, at no more than 5 volts.

3: http://earthshinedesign.co.uk/ASKManual/

Awesome! Thanks for the help!

wow that tutorial is written really well!

Okay, now I have another question. Is a protoshield a nessecity when first starting out? I'm wondering because I'm comparing starter kits. Also are they easy to solder-remember I don't know how to at all?



Protoboard is absolutely necessary IF you're planning on making some of your own semi-permanent boards. And for practice with soldering.

Breadboard is absolutely necessary regardless of what you're doing. The small one that fits on the shield is okay.. nice for small prototyping, but anything more than a few LED's and it's just a hassle! I suggest getting another, bigger board for other projects. (maybe not right away, but you'll want one sooner or later:P)

But yes, the shields are fairly easy to solder (it was the first thing I've actually soldered), some vendors also have them assembled. If not, some will charge you an extra like $2 to have it assembled. (if they don't have the choice, ask them)

Thanks for the reply it was really helpful and cleared up the whole protoboard thing, but I made a typo and I actually meant protoshield. I changed it in the original post. Also, what is the difference?

Well proto-shields are made just for Arduino's, they have the same dimensions, the pins match the arduino's pins, and labled on top of the shield, etc.

The proto-boards are just boards with a bunch of holes with copper pads.

For example, here's a shield: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7914 Click on their pictures, that shows the before and after pictures.

And just a normal protoboard: http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/images/product/ProtoBrd3.jpg (okay, they're not normal.. those are huge) The bottom is just normal .1" spacing throughout the whole board, no specific design.

So pretty much a protoshield is something you can use as a structure if you want to make your own shield and a protoboard is the structure you would use for making your own board?


Protoshields are for mockup - testing one or two components together.

Protoboards are for semi-permanent assembly.

PCBs are for finished designs that won't change with new ideas or new hardware.

Thanks. That really clears things up.