Arduino Tutorial 1a: An Introduction

So, we know a tiny bit about the Arduino board and, if you've got one, you've got it plugged in to your pc/mac and have downloaded the arduino software.

Now what?

We, are going to break tradition here and instead of flashing an LED - we want this tutorial to work with the bare minimum of an arduino board and usb cable - we are going to write a program that prints a message on your screen.

This is done using serial communication, which we will write a detailed guide on soon but for the time being all you need to know is that serial communication is where information is sent, in this case over the usb cable, 1 bit at a time. There are different speeds that this can happen at. This speed is called baud rate, and we will be using a speed of 9600 - this will make more sense as you go progress.

Earlier, we said that a microchip can be given a set of instructions, this set of instructions is called a program - however Arduino users call a program a sketch.

                                Set of instructions = Program = Sketch

Instead of having a load of instructions, one after the other, the instructions are separated into sets of instructions, with similar instructions grouped together, these are called functions.

             Sets of instructions = few or lots of Functions = Program = Sketch

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If you haven't got one already you can buy an arduino board or starter kit here
If you are based in or local to Bristol and would like a session on Arduino with a tutor - or you are banging your head against a wall trying to debug some code - please get in touch using the form below and we'll get back to you, usually, the same day.

0845 299 6003