How to Choose a Board

Hello!
I am brand new to the Arduino community and in need of some guidance. I work for a company that rebuilds/recycles Switch-gear and MCC equipment, so I have some electrical knowledge. And I took some engineering classes in high-school that worked with VEX robotics and and various milling machines, so I have some experience with writing code.
Having said that, I consider myself a baby in this, and assume I know nothing. But I love learning and expanding my capabilities!

My first project is essentially a fog machine/humidifier. I have 4 ultrasonic atomizers that came with PCBs (found at the link below)

I want to be able to press a button (analog to start with but possibly digital on a raspberry pi with a touchscreen display later on) that will start a sequence to toggle the atomizers on and off for a period of time.
Again I am a baby in this, and assume I know nothing. I would greatly appreciate any information on how to assess my needs as far as board capabilities so I can choose a board for this project as well as future projects! And if anyone would be able to help me understand whats going on in the PCB and help me determine if that is a necessary component or if I would be able to bypass that and connect the atomizer directly to the arduino?

It seems as if the atomiser is designed to be switched on or off by hand. You may be able to replace the onboard switch (or operate in parallel with it) using a transistor or relay operated by an Arduino.

Assuming you just want to control 4 of those things then any Arduino board will be more than adequate.

The Uno is a good starter board because most programs and add-ons will work with it. The nano is a smaller version of the Uno.

For the programming have a look at how the LEDs are operated in the demo Several Things at a Time

...R

I want to be able to press a button (analog to start with but possibly digital... assume I know nothing.

Here's a fact to start you off: buttons are all digital!

I would also recommend Nano as your first Arduino. Everyone is probably fed up with me saying this, but if you are planning to buy one or more ready-made "shields" then get an Uno. If you plan to learn to design and build circuits on breadboards and/or stripboards, get a Nano.

Before deciding to use an Arduino I tried hard-wiring the PCB to an adjustable power supply, and I bypassed the manual switch fairly easily with a jumper between the two legs. It was after that that I realized without something to control it I would have to run back and forth between the machine and anything else I'm doing to turn it on and off at the intervals.

Please pardon my ignorance, I meant analog vs digital in the sense of analog being a physical button to be pressed vs digital being through the raspberry pi. Perhaps "physical" and "virtual" would be more appropriate words to use in this sense.

Am I on the right track to think that I would be able to wire a button to a set of pins, and the PCBs each to their own set, the write a code to say "if [button is pressed]; then [supply 9V to PCBs]"

It's been a few years since I've written code, but if I remember correctly for the VEX robotics you wrote a library for what pins corresponded to what components, then you wrote the sequence for what order to run things given any input... I apologize for any improper terminology, but I guess that's part of why I'm here haha!

The very basic program I’ve been chewing on would look something like

If [Button is pressed]
Run [Loop 1]

Loop 1
If Count<[time interval]; Stop
Else; Run [Loop2]
Rest [time]
+1 to Count

Loop2
If Cycle<[cycle interval]; Stop
Else; Run [Atomizer]
Rest [cycle]
+1 to Cycle

theoretically that would allow me to have the atomizers turn on for 5 seconds and back off for 5 seconds, and repeat that cycle for 10 minutes before resting for 10 minutes, and repeat that loop every 20 minutes for an hour before shutting off… right?

knock_knock_hoosier:
Please pardon my ignorance, I meant analog vs digital in the sense of analog being a physical button to be pressed vs digital being through the raspberry pi.

No, the term "analog" is used in the sense of analog computers or the classic Moog synthesisers (or WWII bombsights); it refers to processing variable voltages rather than binary states.

A potentiometer produces an analog value, a switch or button a digital value.

theoretically that would allow me to have the atomizers turn on for 5 seconds and back off for 5 seconds, and repeat that cycle for 10 minutes before resting for 10 minutes, and repeat that loop every 20 minutes for an hour before shutting off... right?

Well, to me, your English description makes sense, but I couldn't understand your pseudo-code.

I would have gone with something like:

Loop 1: Repeat forever:
Wait until button is pressed.
Loop 2: Repeat 3 times:
Loop 3: Repeat 60 times:
Switch atomiser on.
Wait 5 seconds.
Switch atomiser off.
Wait 5 seconds.
(End of loop 3)
Wait 10 minutes.
(End of loop 2)
(End of loop 1)

Thank you all very much for your help and sharing your knowledge with me!

I am beginning to think that my understanding of Arduino is insufficient to do what I want to do just yet. Looking through the specs of various boards I realized just how much of the terminology I don't understand...

Pin Funcion Type Description
1 D13 Digital SPI SCK, GPIO

From the Nano Every "Tech Specs" page goes right over my head. I'm considering purchasing the "Learn Arduino from Scratch" and/or the "freeduino.begin()" e-book . Does anyone else have these books, or does anyone know if they would be a good resource for learning not only how to program and "think" Arduino but also learning more about the hardware and terminology?

Please wait and don't forget to subscribe to YouTube.??&&url=_http://bit.ly/2KXhF9d

Ah, I wasn't suggesting a Nano Every, just a plain old Nano V3. Cheap as chips, if you'll pardon the pun, on eBay from 100 Chinese vendors, so get 2 or 3 in case you have an accident with the first one!

PaulRB:
Cheap as chips, if you'll pardon the pun, on eBay from 100 Chinese vendors, so get 2 or 3 in case you have an accident with the first one!

I am fascinated by this "100 Chinese vendors" who if not all are identical in the pictures (except for the watermark), the description, the listing of "options", the price and the egregious errors, nevertheless fall into a very limited number of alternative "camps".

I cannot believe this is simple copying by independent workers. Nor can I imagine even the "store" with many thousands of items could be a full-time business. :astonished: It looks more as if there are (not so many) distribution storehouses which collect items and catalogue them (including the illustrations) with little if any duplication, then individuals choose a range of these, advertise, market, collect and package them presumably on a part-time or supplementary piecemeal basis to a "day" job.

Clearly the postage is provided at an extremely substantial discount by the Chinese government as part of their trade strategy.

And we know the vendors have little if any understanding of the products themselves. :cold_sweat:

it has a name. drop shipping. you order from goodlucksunshine47, goodlucksunshine47 passes on the order to peoples factory 43, peoples factory 43 ships it to you. if you have a complaint goodlucksunshine47 fields it, and peoples factory 43 does not have to deal with a hundred thousand complaining customers

I ordered 24 Humvee vests from half a dozen eBay sources. every one came straight from CampMor.

decades back I called a company trying to get CZ-75 magazines. all sold out. I called a different company. same voice. yeah, we got a dozen. I asked him WTF? he said he was in a wheelchair and supplementing his SSI. if he was not doing this he would be getting drunk and cursing the drunk driver who put him in the wheelchair. he preferred drop shipping.

I got a starter kit from Sparkfun - came with instructions and all of the parts - there are kits here also as well as tutorials here and other places - I did not want to mess around finding all the bits and pieces and I also needed the structure of an organized program -

I have programed in C in a previous life and did large industrial systems using Allen-Bradley PLC's - and the organized program was a great help for me, Good Luck