How did you start with Arduino?

Awhile ago I bought Digistump’s ATTiny85 out of curiosity and because it didn’t need anything and could be plugged directly into USB. Made LED blink then made it output square wave siren.

Then Pi Pico got released so I tried that but it lacked, convenient at that time, Arduino IDE support, so didn’t really stick…yet.

Then I bought Nano clone that I thought was Arduino. About at the same time I discovered Visual Micro for Visual Studio and now I only use Arduino IDE for Serial Monitor/Plotter.

Then I started buying genuine Arduino boards, Nano Every (many times), DUE, MKR ZERO, Nano connect. I made 2 Bluetooth speakers small and big. Small runs on Nano Every. Big on MKR ZERO, in both projects I used every last pin available. This was challenging and I enjoyed solving many problems.

So what about you? I am genuinely interested what other people are doing with their Arduinos.

Oh and Happy New 2022!


Well, I actually started with the "PCDuino", which runs Linux or Android and has Arduino pin sockets. I didn't know what an Arduino was, so I ordered one and the rest is history. Now I develop Arduino code mainly on STM32 and ESP32 platforms. If not those, usually Nano.

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my Arduino story is in my GitHub repositories.
It starts here

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For me the first microcontroller projects were for work in a TV station using PIC to control VTR machines, logo generators and Matrix switching.
Designing and building the hardware for each project from scratch was an annoyance and programming in assembler was hard work.

I heard about Arduino from somewhere (lost in the mists of time) and asked the wife to buy be the UNO Sparkfun kit for my birthday.
Having a standard ready made hardware platform that you could plug modules (shields) into was ideal and programming in C++ (after learning it) was also a lot easier.
The only thing I missed compared to PIC was the hardware debugging but Serial print is suitable for most things on AVR.
From then on I used Arduino for work projects (DMX testers/controllers/wireless, Matrix switching, Countdown clocks for galleries, more forgotten projects)
For home use I made battery powered environment sensors and use an RPi to log & display the data, Wordclocks, Alarm clocks, IR blaster.


I started with an OBD-I (or whatever it was, K-line, L-line, etc) interface to display vehicle codes. Of course it did not work and after a few attempts ended up with a dead arduino uno.

Next successful project was a simple timer based on/off power controller for an instant water heater (using a SSR). Yes arduino is overkill for this, but that's how it is...

Next success was my stepper motor based direct-drive turntable. Again, I believe arduino is overkill for this as a simple XR2206 based circuit can be used to generate the pulse train required for the motor driver... Something that is there in my "to do" list, though if and when I'll do it is questionable :laughing::laughing:

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My introduction was via using Picaxe and Microchip PIC products and general industrial PLC work.
Quite few times I came across situations where PLC would be overkill and expensive.
During chemo nearly 10 years ago, I bought some Arduino bits and pieces to complement my bits and pieces I had been tinkering with and repurposing.
Got used to the IDE, made some simple projects, then branched out to RS232 comms and playing with I2C.
A work job got the ball rolling at my workplace, a contactless encoder with SSI interface, 28bit, with help from this forum got some bit banging code with a Due to work.
From then on its been keeping an eye open for Arduino and peripherals going cheap or at ebay auction.
I have acquired quite a supply of ultrasonics, elcheepo servos, IMUs and pressure and temperature gear.
Work also helped to get Lora and NRF24 stuff going, then ESP32 and internet control with myDevices cayenne.
UNOs and Nanos frequently get used for component assembly testing, providing I/O.

Current project is a 30cm diameter Captain America shield to turn into a night light for my grandson.
Using a Neopixel ring and at the moment a Nano.
The shield will hang on the wall with spacers to let the ring behind it to shine on the wall.
During the day it will do Red, White and Blue patterns and using an LDR at night shut down and produce a soft glow against the wall around the shield as a nightlight.
Eventually hope to ESP32 the project and give their parents some control via their smarty phone to control it as well..

Tom... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

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My introduction to Arduino was a project that failed. My dad wanted to see temperatures in his greenhouse at the beginning of Spring to have an idea when it would be safe to start tomatoes from seed. This could have been easily achieved with a min/max thermometer or a $30 weather station, but he wanted to be able to check it on his iPod from his armchair.

I got an Uno and WiFi shield and a DS18B20 and got it to read temperatures. Then I added a web page on my LAMP server to receive the data and set up a MySQL database to store it. Another page using Google charts and Dojo gauges displayed history.

It worked well, usually for a day or so before crashing and I could not see why. Eventually I discovered that Verizon periodically sent me a ~1400 byte ethernet packet and my WiFi library didn't check for buffer overrun. Once that was fixed, it would run forever.

I took it to my Dad's house and it didn't work. Or rather, it did, but not in the greenhouse. In my American house, the WiFi could reach far and wide, but in English brick built construction, it was a different story. So I tried X-Bee. Then X-Bee pro, then X-Bee pro with an intermediate mesh node.

It never did work. I could have fixed it I expect, but I was 3000 miles away and we got fed up with having to ship the hardware to and fro. It was fun and the WiFi version ran in my house for years, but it didn't actually solve the user's requirements :frowning_face:


When I was a boy, one of my hobbies was to copy electronic circuits from a magazine. Most of them related to guitar effects processors. They worked poorly because of bad soldering habilities and also because I didn´t know what each of those components do.

During university I kept this interest, learned some programming and a little more about electronics but decided it would still be a hobby.

Started to work, had kids and no time for hobbies at all...

Time passed by until I realized that schools are more concerned about teaching kids electronics, physics and coding through robotics. That´s when I dicovered Arduino and found out that my old interest for electronics and programming things is still alive.

In 2021, I decided to develop a Bluetooth uroflowmeter for my wife. I liked the idea because it has mechanical parts, sensors and data transfer. A challenge with lots of different things to learn. I begun with an Uno and a HC-05 Bluetooth module. When things got working, I tried to downscale the project to a Nano 33 IoT. Got some help here at the forum, but found out BLE is too advanced for me to deal with for now. The project ended up working fine with an ESP32.

Now I´m trying do a multi-purpose robot, to learn dealing with DC motors, servos and some other sensors. My soldering is much better, my electronics not as good as I wanted it to be and now I need glasses to see the components. :laughing:


I started with Arduino UNO and still loving it the most.


Me too, our local library had a good stock of basic electronics books and how to build books.
I would meticulously copy diagrams.
My best gift was three years worth of Electronics Australia (EA), they were 1960s vintage, this was late 1960s to early 1970s.
They had many shortwave and audio amplifier projects, a mix of solid state and valve tech, I was in heaven.
Pencil, plastic ruler and a projects book, like a big scrapbook.
Then reading the text on how they worked.

Kept me out of trouble and occupied when it was too rough a weather to go outside.

Tom... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:


I used to buy the magazines on newsstands. Did some googling on "Electronics Australia" and found out they look like those ones I used to read ("Divirta-se com a Eletronica"). But I´m a little younger. My adventures were in the late 1980´s.

Things today are quite more accessible. Almost everything that I´ve learned about Arduino is on the internet. Electronic components are also more easy to buy and cheaper than they were at that time.

Cheers to technology and happy 2022! :beers:

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AVR's give me nostalgia on steroids, single-thread 8-bitters that OWN the hardware.

i learned Main Loop programming and State Machines 40 years ago on 8-bit machines with limited RAM. But those machines ran clock-equivalent to AVR at 1MHz.

And then there was a series of kidney operations left a load of clots that shotgunned neural connections. Memory gets copied over time so what I lost whole pieces of was the 90's, I lost more C++ than I have left and I don't know how much. But I wrote C before then.

Maybe after things settle down I can move and get back on the forum more.


Last spring (2021) I decided to take an online drawing course. 7 lessons, each of 3 sections. I couldn't complete the first section due to my Essential Tremors! You know what this means? WAR!

I retrospect how foolish if me, but I was mad. Many months go by and I deep dive into Essential Tremors. Long story short: Cala Trio can treat some people with ETs via neurostimulation of the nerves in the forearm but it costs $3200 and $156/month. Yes, I can build a copy. I can't sell it, but I can give it away.

Start with ELEGOO UNO R3 Starter Kit. Blink then Blink without delay. Went through several accelerometers and gyro and a couple of SD shields and rand out of memory on the UNO. Replaced by a Mega2560. Finally able to record my tremors in my forearm at 250Hz to an SD. Added a couple of SSR to switch the output of a TENS unit at the frequency of my tremors. Managed to use a DFT to plot the frequency spectrum.

Got a lot of experimenting to do before I release a "how to" with source code and parts list under GPL2. Fun and games experimenting on your body!

Happy New Year!


I had been working with 8051 and PIC microcontrollers programmed with assembly for many years and wanted a more integrated controller. The 8051 had no ADC, I2C, SPI, only 1 timer/counter, very limited SRAM and EEPROM, etc. All of those functions had to be added with external parts or programmed. I did not have access to libraries for those functions. I searched for a easier to use controller and settled on Arduino because of the free IDE, compiler and extensive libraries. I have had to learn C++ but that was easier than I thought it would be.


I see people are also listing their back stories... I asked my parents to buy me a DEC PDP-8 after I encountered one on careers day at school. In retrospect, they could have saved themselves a lot of money if they had!

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My back story starts in 1973 at Colorado State University where I took my first programming class in Fortran after the US Navy and fell in love with programming. But I had to leave school and went to work as an auto mechanic and later as a test tech and engineer. I did not have much more contact with computers until I got my first XZ81 (see my avatar) in 1982 on the day that my son was born. I, over the next few years, learned microcontroller programming in ZX basic and Z80 assembly and built a bunch of peripherals for the ZX81 and later the Timex 2068. After that is when I started with the 8051 and PIC stuff. And programming PCs for doing tasks for work. Mainly using Visual Basic and Labview for data acquisition and data reduction and monitoring test article conditioning.


Nice project.

Have you read "The Terminal Man" by Michael Crichton?

Tom.... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

For me, it's a bit more than nice, but thanks for the compliment. I'm hoping that I'll be able to suppress the tremors in my dominant hand and be able to draw a smooth curved line again. Not much original in this project. Oh sure I wrote the code, but there are more than 10 peer reviewed papers on this idea, so much of the research was done by others. I just couldn't see getting ripped off by a commericall health care company just because they managed to afford the cost of clinical trials to get FDA approval.

I read the Andromeda Strain when it first came out. The technology in the synopsis of "Terminal Man" as presented by Wikipedia is IMOSHO quite dated. DBS, Direct Brain Stimulation, though quite costly, is readily available for refractory Essential Tremors but it is no longer the flavor of the month. MRgFUS, MRi guided Focused UltraSound is the new kid on the block. Fancy paying to have part of your brain cooked? Not me.

It just occurred to me that your reference to the "Terminal Man" in light of my original post might lead you to think I was considering TransCrainal direct current stimulation. It is being studied by some medical professionals. No, I'm not dumb enough to put a couple of electordes on my head and let an arduino control the application of the current.

If you are interested, I'll be posting the results of my experimentation on


I see your method, not to reinvent the wheel but use the research already done and work forward on that.
The advantage that you have, is the hardware to do this stuff is now ready available and at prices to make the enterprise worthwhile.
On top of that the fact that the researcher, you, is also the client makes it even more significant.
I think we all wish you well on your enterprise. :+1: :+1: :+1:

Tom... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

Thank you!

Actually there is a shed-load of research to still do. I found out the Medical Researchers are usually not engineers. It seems to me that they overlook the most obvious aspects when doing their research. e.g. Phase angle. Is stimulus more or less effective if you vary the Phase angle of the stimulus relative to the peak amplitude of the tremor? There are many more "ideas" to explore in this area.

My only regret is the FDA and the US Patent system will prevent many people of benefiting from these type of developments. It's OK if you are a DIY type of person with a bit of electronic savvy but poor Uncle George who has problems with his smart phone and TV remote is out of luck.