Stepper motors, LCD, and networking...? Need a gameplan.

OK, I am completely new to the whole Arduino concepts. In my first forum post, I mistook the Arduino as a chip rather than a board (controller), which was an accident. I know it's not a single chip, but works all together as one unit.

On to the madness...

I want to connect 2 stepper motors, an LCD (2x16), and connect it to a computer for controls. I want a program of some sort to export two numbers to some file format, that are sent to the 'chip' to change one motor and the other (line one of file is first motor, line two is second motor), all while reading out those numerical values to the LCD on separate lines, and relay back to the computer when the move is complete. It would also need to figure out where it was to move accordingly, and have limits (say, 359 degrees) and a home position (when reset, all motor turn to home position).

I have no idea what Arduino to buy (considering UNO), what motors to buy, how to program it, how to wire it... Basically everything. I don't know what to start with.

If anyone can give some advice of what I need to buy to start out and a gameplan of how to accomplish this, I would be very grateful!

There are many choices of 16x2 LCD. The stepper motors will depend on how heave a load you want to move and how quickly you want to move it. You will need motor drivers for the steppers and some kind of switch or sensor for each to detect the 'home' position. Communication with the PC will happen over the USB cable.

Use the LiquidCrystal library to control the LCD.

Use the Stepper library to control the stepper motors.

Try the examples for those libraries to learn how to use them.

@johnwasser I haven't even bought any components yet. I think I'm going to buy the Mega just to have more pins and memory. So far on my shopping list is the Arduino, wires, breadboard, lcd, 2 steppers, 2 10k pots, pack of assorted resistors, and a few leds (but I probably have some in my garage). Thanks for the help, I'll look into those libraries. Questions: 1)Do I have to download the code for the libraries in some special format? 2)Where do I store it? 3) How do I call it in?

I would recommend learning to cook macaroni and cheese before rack of lamb and all the trimmings.

Is this for a telescope? Just shooting in the dark. What you want can be done with an arduino UNO and I assume everyone on this forum has an UNO or another compatible board. Not everyone has a MEGA to help you on the other hand. I have one but never bothered to use it. Got too many libraries to code and UNO has enough pins anyway. The 16X2 LCD will cost you 6 pins. You will need a stepper motor controller or driver for stepper motors so maybe 3 pins?! A few LEDs costs you no more than 3 pins. If you need too many LEDs, use the 3 pins to drive a shift register is super easy to expand to many LEDs.

I would recommend you to start from somewhere, say the LCD and display numbers. Then you can pick what stepper motor after reading more posts here. Usually if you are by a larger city, there are surplus stores that sell used motors for a fraction of the price. Get a driver board from sparkfun and play with a motor. Once you are comfortable with all these elements, think of a more solid game plan for your project.

shoplist: -arduino -stepperdriver board (easydriver/bigeasydriver are cheap) -stepper library (google accelstepper) -bluetooth module (if you dont want to use usb to control your stepper from pc) -amarino if you want to control your stepper from an android phone/tablet

heper:
shoplist:
-arduino
-stepperdriver board (easydriver/bigeasydriver are cheap)
-stepper library (google accelstepper)
-bluetooth module (if you dont want to use usb to control your stepper from pc)
-amarino if you want to control your stepper from an android phone/tablet

Don’t forget power supply and lots of spare time.

I want to connect 2 stepper motors, an LCD (2x16), and connect it to a computer for controls. I want a program of some sort to export two numbers to some file format, that are sent to the 'chip' to change one motor and the other (line one of file is first motor, line two is second motor), all while reading out those numerical values to the LCD on separate lines, and relay back to the computer when the move is complete. It would also need to figure out where it was to move accordingly, and have limits (say, 359 degrees) and a home position (when reset, all motor turn to home position).

You almost describe what someone have been building with the David Laser Scanner software. Read this thread: http://www.david-laserscanner.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2421 Dont forget to check the forum and Wiki as well

Kind regards Flemming