Noob here. Do I have what it takes?

Greetings all,

I just discovered Arduino this morning. I know nothing about writing code but I'd like to be able to customize lights and things as they are built into our equipment. Do I need to know how to write code or are there things that can be downloaded that are already written?

Thank you,

The phridge

The point of the Arduino, most people would say, is to create things that work how you want. And when it comes to simple lights, you may find that learning to code is faster than trying to scour the internet for a project that is exactly what you want with exactly the parts you have.

Don't be scared of coding. If you're scared of something you don't understand, then you literally don't understand what you're scared of.

Now I'm terrified. :slight_smile: Just kidding. Thank you for the prompt reply. What is the best way to learn coding? Also, are the Arduino products reliable?

There are plenty of tutorial series to read or watch. Best way to learn is to do. That last question has no meaning.

There are great examples that come with the IDE.
Get a UNO and go through these axamples.

Also see:
Arduino links.

Watch these:

Some things to read:


Different people learn in different ways - especially adults who are already competent in other fields.

There are lots of short example programs that come with the Arduino IDE. Between them they probably cover all the techniques you will need. Study them and make copies of them so you can make changes to see what affect the changes have.

Another very good way to learn is to read as many Forum Threads as you can. That way you get exposed to other people's problems and solutions and the way that people go about programming - good and bad. And some of ideas or techniques may be very relevant to your project even though another project is very different.

If you don't understand something and can't find an explanation with Google be sure to ask here.


PS You may find some ideas in Planning and Implementing a Program although it was not written for a complete beginner to programming.

Do I need to know how to write code or are there things that can be downloaded that are already written?

Generally.... it helps a lot to understand code and to know how to write code. But.... depending on complexity.... it is sometimes possible to get something done when everything is included.... eg. a tutorial example that provides wiring diagram plus code etc.

We all started somewhere. It will be beneficial to start with simple coding exercises. If you start somewhere..... then the experience will begin building from there.

I find that it is a lot like learning to play the guitar.

You can go find tabs of songs you like, and be able to sound decent without knowing anything about music theory or reading sheet music or knowing scales. But what you've accomplished is just playing those particular songs. Mild instant gratification. Play enough and you might pick up a few patterns, notice some trends, remember some things in common, but they are bits of knowledge floating around in the ether with no rhyme or reason.
In terms of coding, this is just copying and pasting code and feeling like anything you do to it risks ruining it. You see things you don't understand, it's magical gibberish.

Or you can learn the language of music, learn the theory, learn the scales, learn how chords are formed, etc. From learning the foundations, you'll outpace the other path quickly as you can look at those songs and understand them for the simple pieces they are. You don't need to study them note by note as you see the bigger picture. 'Blues progression' means something to you and just from understanding it, you 'know' how to play hundreds of songs and even make up your own. In terms of coding, this is being able to see other code, understanding what you're seeing, knowing how to manipulate it to suit you without breaking it, or just jamming out your own code because it's quicker to write it than to try finding something premade.

It depends on the equipment if it can be controlled easily or with 'difficulty' or not at all. Don't let the latter discourage you; it will still be fun to learn a bit of electronics and to learn coding.

There will hardly ever be a piece of code on the web that exactly does what you want it to do. As said, dig through examples to understand how to control things.

You can download the old C bible by Kernighan and Ritchie to learn the basics of C (not C++); C++ is the object oriented version of C and based on C so it should give you a foundation of the basics. Of specific interest for the beginner will be chapter 2 (Types, Operators, and Expressions)chapter 3 (Control Flow).
Be aware that this
was written with computers in mind, so a keyboard and a monitor; something that is lacking in the Arduino environment where you have to use a terminal (e.g. Serial Monitor that comes with the IDE) to send keyboard input from the PC to the Arduino and display data from the Arduino on the PC.
does not cover Arduino specifics like reading buttons, controlling motors or leds etc.

I know that the above book covers the basics of C programming. I'm quite sure that there are books tailored towards programming the Arduino. Buy or download a few (I prefer books over youtubes).