New to Arduino - A Few Questions

First, I will say I am impressed with the community around Arduino. Arduino itself is pretty awesome from what I’ve been reading.

This is my first foray into electronics building so please excuse any newbish questions.

I am going to buy my first board. I’ve already downloaded the IDE and drivers.

I’m a little unclear about the concept of ‘shields’. When I buy my board, what value is added in buying a protoshield?

For my first project I’d like to be controlling a motor/servo wirelessly if possible, using an acceleration sensor. Are there any things to consider purchasing (aside from the board, sensor and servo) that I might not be thinking about?

And one last question, are there any kits you’d recommend for getting started. I see some kits on the various distributor sites but I don’t really want to end up with a bunch of parts that I won’t end up using.

Again, what a great community. I really appreciate any insight you can provide. You have my thanks!


To control something wireless you may want to look into getting an Xbee Module. You will need two of them to communicate.

Also you will have to have a second arduino board which might be best to make that yourself which have several sites on how to do that for real cheap. I’m sure there might be other way to do it but I have never done anything wireless yet. So sorry for the limited response.

Hey demonic_crow, thanks for the reply.

I didn’t think about needing two boards. But building one would be fun. Any recommended tutorials? I’m sure I can google one up real quick.

Adafruit has some of the better kits from what I have seen. Might help reduce some shipping cost to snag everything from there initially.

Again, thanks for that tip! If anything else comes to mind feel free to post again.


This will tell you what you need and show you how to set it up. You don’t need the USB board to attach to it so that will save you some money. Just program your Atmega and just plug it into the breadboard and when ever you want to change the code you just put it back into the Arduino. Also you will need to buy an extra Atmega with the bootloader on it in order to do this which ladyada sell them. I know you can burn your own bootloader using several different method but thats up to you if you want to go through the trouble to save a few dollars.

Awesome info man. Sounds like you’ve been working with this stuff for awhile.

“thats up to you if you want to go through the trouble to save a few dollars” - I’m cheap, but not that cheap :wink: I doubt I’ll go through that extra effort more than once and only then for the experience not for the savings.

Thanks for the links. This is helping me grow my bookmarks collection as I get started.

Yea its alot of fun to mess around with. I had a ton of bookmarks back when I got mine lol. The fun stuff is actually building robots. I built a robot that used a sharp IR gpd120 sensor to avoid objects and that was a blast lol.

Robotics? Man, that is exactly what I’d like to get to long term. The first thing is for a business a friend of mine and I are involved in so its more work than fun. But when I get time I’ll be looking at the robotics side. Do you have any videos or a website with your bots? Would love to check them out!

If you wana check out some badass robots, and uber-cool people as well, check out :slight_smile:

Here’s a manual I STRONGLY recommend, for beginners and amatuers alike! :stuck_out_tongue:
It’ll go through a long list of tutorials, and it will give you the code, and it explains in fairly good detail everything about the sketch and the hardware setup.

Another site to bookmark for sure, has a A - Z list of stuff for the Arduino, anything from schematics and data sheets to tutorials! :slight_smile:

And welcome to the wonderful world of Arduino!

I agree about LMR. Thats where I learn how to build my robot and been a memeber every since the beginning of the year. Be sure to check out the start here bot cause its something simple you can do with the arduino.

Hey Bob and dc. I’m just checking in and to say thanks for the links. I’ve been reading a lot to pass the time while my board is in transit. Arrived today at my office so I’ll begin tinkering on Tuesday. I’m very excited.

Bob are you a founder of LMR? your post has it set for your WWW link. Just curious.

Well guys I’ll be back again soon with updates when I get a chance to roll up my sleeves.

Have a good weekend.

Negatory, it’s a community owned website! (Literally, it’s being paid for by it’s users, along with all the editing and what not, it’s awesome!)

I just have an uncanny love for LMR, it was where I started learning about robotics and alot of the people there are more than willing to lend a hand. :smiley:

But yeah, I had a small LED sketch already saved like 4 times over before my first Arduino got here! Now, it’s like 6 months later, and I’ve got over 8 arduino’s! (well, 3 boards, 5 chips for prototyping) :smiley:

LOL you’re funny man. Its ironic you mention how you had the LED sketch programmed before you even had your board because I knew my board would be in my hands today yet this weekend I found myself coding the LED sketch at like 3am, one eye open almost haha.

So my board is here and I’m so excited I can hardly finish typing this before hooking it up to my laptop and getting started!

I might see how I can contribute to LMR because I have already learned a lot from it just over the course of the week or so that passed since you mentioned it.

Anyway, I better go mess with my Arduino now before I spontaneously combust. Oh, and I almost bought a second one this weekend before I even had the first. I can feel the addiction creeping in already.