In Planning Stages

Excuse me Please:

I am quite new at using Arduino, to the point I am about to make purchase of a couple of starter kits; I would like guidance on which kit would serve me best in the following project I would like to accomplish.

for use in a plushy, e.g. a dog, I would want a light sensor to actually activate the Arduino, have the board activate two LED "eyes" {and if possible, fade out and quickly fade back in to simulate blinking} and have a sound file (or files) played through a tiny speaker. additionally, I would think as options, to have the "fingers" or "toes" to have momentary contact switches to change which sound file is played. I would expect the sound file to be looped until the light sensor is removed of light.

which kit off of this site, or amazon, or where ever, would allow me to competently learn Arduino, and be able to work towards completing the above project?

I realize I am ignorant of much in this environment, so since I do not know what I do not know, please advise me on anything else I would need for the above project to be fully comprehended and successfully completed. I have thorough experience in basic electronics, soldering, etc. I have made kits before, e.g. Ethernet cable tested with LEDs for each lead.

Thank you kindly for your time in replying. CAH

This kit would have enough parts to get you started in your learning process:

That kit does not include an Arduino, though - for that, go for an official one first:

...and not a clone. It isn't that clones are unreliable or such, but until you understand what a clone is, and what it isn't - you might find yourself buying counterfeits (those are clones which purport to be a real Arduino - and use trademarked symbols and graphics - but aren't real Arduinos). Also - by purchasing a real Arduino, you'll help to support this site, too.

Once you have more experience and confidence, then you can branch out into clones, other parts, and other Arduino (and compatible) devices; for instance, for your project, you'll probably want to go with something smaller - like an Arduino Nano or Pro Mini - but if you don't have experience with the basic Uno, you might find yourself confused or overwhelmed by the (slight) differences of those models compared to the Uno.

As for tutorials and projects - there's a whole host of sites, books, instructables - you name it - which can help you learn. Just google "arduino tutorials" and "arduino books" and such, and you'll find what you need. Pehaps others can also make suggestions here, too.

Good luck.


For learning, most would agree that the Uno is the easiest to work with. I would recommend getting that - most starter kits come with one. Probably best to use an official one, rather than a clone. (I would use clones once you're used to Arduino)

But for your project, you need something small - like a Pro Mini (these are like $2-3 on ebay, and need an FTDI adapter to program, but have the same chip as the Uno, and are code compatible), that would fit inside the toy.

You also need something to handle playing the MP3 - the arduino itself isn't able to do that. There are MP3-player chips and modules available for $2-25 on ebay, or more as shields (but a shield won't fit well inside a plushy)

Go to and search for "arduino starter kit"

I would link it directly, but the one i got was not genuine arduino so you'll have to search.

The first thing i would get would be some buttons, some leds, some 220ohm resistors, A character lcd, a breadboard, and some dupont cables. Also, an Arduino Mega.... (i know its overkill for most projects, but i think learning with this is a little easier than having to worry about 1k sram).

Then you can get used to coding and these forums are the best place to learn how to code, AS LONG AS YOU POST WHAT YOU HAVE TRIED IN FULL in the programming section

Thank you kindly for the input. in regards to the MP3 device, which would be better: or


and as far as size in concerned, the space available will be at least two Altoids cans stacked flat. {will be anthropomorphized dog of 2' height} which should accommodate the Arduino, the shield, well, maybe I need force three cans, third for the batteries.

Ceyarrecks: ...and as far as size in concerned, the space available will be at least two Altoids cans stacked flat. {will be anthropomorphized dog of 2' height} which should accommodate the Arduino, the shield, well, maybe I need force three cans, third for the batteries.

Please remember that this forum is international. I'm in the UK and, as Altoids are not sold here, I've no idea how big your space is. You're not alone, however. Pictures of parts with a US coin to show their size are useless to me. It might as well be a Peruvian Nuevo Sol or a Chinese Yuan, to tell me how big/small it is.

Thank you for the clarification:

Altoids Mint tin dimensions: Top lid outer (not lip): 2.36" (59.9mm) x 3.75"(95mm) Tin bottom: 2.3" (58.75mm) x 3.7"(93.9mm)

Excuse me Please:

may I receive understanding on which of the following would be preferable for this project?

additionally, beyond the price, what is the differences, pros and cons, of the following:

Adafruit "Music Maker" MP3 Shield for Arduino w/3W Stereo Amp


RioRand(TM) VS1053 shield board MP3 Music shield

thank you kindly for the assistance. CAH

They look to be functionally identical. Adafruit is a recognised brand name which provides a lot of support and open-source code. It's worth more, but not three times more. Get the cheaper one.