Which Ardunio and what other parts will I need

I have a school project(I am the teacher) that will run over two weeks. I want as part of the final product a display of a computer with all parts on display on a wooden board.

I want it a bit like a museum exhibition where students can come and press a button and it will explain what that part does. I am not sure what I will need in terms of arduino board and other parts. One of the key thing is having enough inputs so that there can be a range of buttons they can press on the display probably at least 8. Would be nice if an LED came on as well to let the user know that button has been pressed.

The next part is then where does the sound get played. Since the computer on display will be working not sure whether to have the arduino pick up the input then the computer plays the sound or set it up so the arduino plays the sound but wonder if that is overly complicated. Seen some examples but they need sounds on a SD card etc and in correct format.

Any advice on parts needed would be really useful and ideas for how this can be realised.



Having an Arduino trigger a sound from an MP3 module and turn on an LED at the same time would be pretty simple. Some of these have a pin you pull low to trigger one of say 8 sounds, others you send a simple serial message. http://www.mdfly.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&zenid=470ff33cf13bcbb09625ac3e0ffe4938&keyword=mp3 Connect the output to a set of selfpowered PC speakers like you might find with a desktop computer sound system.

display of a computer with all parts on display on a wooden board.

I'm not sure from your post if you have already decided the "text" (written or spoken) for each of the parts to be on display. If not, that would be my starting point in order to crystallize your requirement.

I'm also unsure what exactly you have in mind as the "display of a computer" because an Arduino isn't really like a PC or laptop and I'm not sure how good it would be for explaining, visually, what is in a PC.

On the other hand if you want to explain all the parts of a small microcontroller project then an Arduino is ideal.

However I suspect the kids might be more attracted to a project (or two) that shows some "cool" stuff you can do with a microcontroller than to a display of its parts. My inclination would be to make something "cool" and have story-boards to explain the parts and the concepts for the kids that are interested in that stuff.

Another option might be to have the text (or spoken word) display on a PC that is connected to the Arduino. Probably a lot more flexible (and cheaper) than making sound snippets come from the Arduino.

Have fun.


No the explanations will be on paper or something next to a label for the component like you see at a museum.

The computer will be a physical PC with all components attached and operating just on a large piece of wood rather than in a case.



Thanks for response Cross Roads. What is the best original adunio board to but to interface with both buttons and MP3 module?



The Arduino Uno has a total of 20 inputs (14 digital inputs/outputs and 6 analog inputs), so that would easily handle your estimated 8 buttons.


I appreciate what everyone has put up so far as it's good advice. I want it for 13/14 year old students so don't really want them soldering things due to health and safety risks the school will have. I would like to use tinker kit with the mega as the kit has more inputs then.

However can I put the tinker kit shield on the same time as the mp3 shield? I am kind of wondering where in this instance a rasberry PI with an interface expansion card might be better for the job.



ptrobson: The computer will be a physical PC with all components attached and operating just on a large piece of wood rather than in a case.

So, if I understand things better now, the Arduino has no public role in the exhibition. It will just be there to manage the push-buttons that will allow the viewers to call up different explanations.

If the PC, which is the subject of the exhibition, is working then that seems to me the best device (in terms of easy programming and existing sound resources) for playing sounds or displaying text (or both) in response to a button press. It should also enhance the exhibition value of the PC. The PC can do anything that a RaspberryPii could do.

(I'm a big fan of exposing kids (and adults) to the insides of a PC - I guess it's the modern equivalent of Walschaerts valve gear :))

I'm not sure where kids doing soldering come into the pricture. I didn't realize from your first post that the kids were going to be making anything.

All the wires connecting switches and the Arduino could be plugged or screwed in. It might not be reliable that way over a long time but it would be fine for a few weeks - especially if there is someone around to push in anything that might come loose.


If you are concerned with soldering safety, get a portable soldering iron operating on batteries. Sears or amazon have them for $25 USD (don't know your location). Search weller portable iron. It has minimal risk of burning or else. Also use leadless solder and enough ventilation. I also use wire wrapping. It has no solder or any electricity. Just wrap wires on posts using a tool manually. Radio shack has tools for less than $10 USD. Try solderless breadboard and jumper wires first.

If all you need for button response are LED, and sound, arduino can handle everything. Adafruit has a module that you can use to play sounds:


It even has its own SD card slot so just add speaker (recommend powered speaker sets so you can amplify the sound.