Need some general arduino help/suggestions

Hi guys, i am planning on buying an arduino in the next couple of days but i need some help. I was thinking maybe to build the arduino from a kit that i could buy somewhere. if i could find that, my soldering skills are decent but i was worried about messing the board up and having to buy a new kit. should i build or just buy it?

My next question was what types of sensors / accessories should i buy, i am using this to get a general understanding of programming c on a board like this. some suggestions on some accessories or sensors i should buy for this application would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance

~DanMan

DanMan,

You have lots of options!

If you haven’t already, look at http://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Hardware , there are links on that page that show assembly, and some of the 3rd party kit providers.

I’m a pretty decent solderer, but I went with assembled. I did in part because the soldering, and especially the surface mount FTDI chip was not something I wanted to throw into all of the ambiguity of getting started. I also didn’t need to save the $, and I was anxious to see that first LED blink!

However, to satisfy my need to solder, I bought a proto-shield kit along with the Arduino.

(I hope it’s OK to mention company names here - this is my first post and I’m not soliciting anyone)
Regarding parts to get started, I quickly discovered Spartkfun, which has nice variety of sensors and fun things.
Beyond that, I’d suggest a breadboard, good quality jumper wires (Sparkfun) and assorted resistors - 100, 220, 330, 1K, 10K.

Recently I bought a 1/8W resistor assortment (500) from Radio Shack for an uncharacteristically good deal. (I like 1/8W since they don’t cover as many holes.)

Well, good luck & have fun. I have been obsessed with this darn thing since I got mine last November.

I am really looking forward to getting started. should i be ordering any sensors with it? i would like to have some versatility with it but wasn’t sure what was compatible and what isn’t. I have a 75 dollar budget, what should i expect to fit in there?

Personally, I started of with an IR xmiter & rcvr LEDs (for analog input), a RGB LED, and a pizeo. Later I interfaced a Sony TV remote and a 2x20 serial display. But it really depends on where your interests take you.

You can also interface to chips that interface to sensors using one of the common protocols (SPI or I2C). Check out the Playground for ideas. http://www.arduino.cc/playground/

As I said, you have lots of options!
Enjoy

A handfull of LED’s, a couple of LDR’s (light dependent resistors - cheap ) and a few potentiometers and a few switches / pushbuttons are really nice to have. They can be used for a lot of different experiments. Some standard resistors and capacitors are needed for almost anything you can doo with the arduino board. A bread board is close to a must have.

Maybe you should consider the Arduino starter pack from LAdyADA’s web shop :

That will get you most of the needed stuff for 65$ I think the kit contains most of what you need to follow her (VERY HIGHLY RECOMENDED) Arduino tutorials.

You can get DC and steppermotors to experiment with from old printers / scanners / fax machines, i bet you can find one or two for free somewhere.

If you start messing with motors you will ned a few additional components because they draw more current than the Arduino board can deliver. Nothing too expencieve though.

Good luck with your projects.

If you want to use motors but want to keep it simple you might consider the kit from Solarbotics that uses an L298 to handle 2 motors, both directions, up to 2A per motor. It’s good enough to drive the low-voltage motor kits that Tamiya makes at a higher (battery) voltage. It’s been a better option for me than trying to design my own H-bridge circuits to drive motors! And you can just use the parts on a breadboard or protoshield, since it’s a solder-yourself kit.