Arduino refers to an open-source electronics platform or board and the software used to program it. Arduino is designed to make electronics more accessible to artists, designers, hobbyists and ayone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. An Arduino board can be purchased pre-assembled or, because the hardware design is open source, built by hand. Either way, users can adapt the boards to their needs, as well as update and distribute their own versions.
Why Arduino ?
A pre-assembled Arduino board includes a microcontroller, which is programmed using Arduino programming language and the Arduino development environment. In essence, this platform provides a way to build and program electronic components. Arduino programming language is a simplified from of C/C++ programming language based on what Arduino calls “sketches,” which use basic programming structures, variables and functions. These are then converted into a C++ program.
Other open-source electronics prototyping projects, such as Wiring and Processing, provide the underpinnings for Arduino technology.
Google Android Open Accessory Development Kit is also based on Arduino.
The Arduino Uno is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328. It has 20 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs and 6 can be used as analog inputs), a 16 MHz resonator, a USB connection, a power jack, an in-circuit system programming (ICSP) header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer (or appropriate wall power adapter) with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.
The Uno differs from all preceding boards in that it does not use the FTDI USB-to-serial driver chip. Instead, it features an ATmega16U2 programmed as a USB-to-serial converter. This auxiliary microcontroller has its own USB bootloader, which allows advanced users to reprogram it.
The Arduino has a large support community and an extensive set of support libraries and hardware add-on “shields” (e.g. you can easily make your Arduino wireless with our Wixel shield), making it a great introductory platform for embedded electronics. Note that we also offer a SparkFun Inventor’s Kit, which includes an Arduino Uno along with an assortment of components (e.g. breadboard, sensors, jumper wires, and LEDs) that make it possible to create a number of fun introductory projects.
More information about the Arduino is available on Arduino’s website.
Choosing the right controller
The table below compares the Arduino Uno, Leonardo, and our A-Star 32U4 Prime controllers. The A-Star Primes are based on the same ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller as the Leonardo and ship with Arduino-compatible bootloaders. The Primes also offer many advantages, including superior power management that enables efficient operation from 2.7 V to 11.8 V (LV version) or 5 V to 36 V (SV version).
Arduino Uno R3
A-Star 32U4 Prime LV
A-Star 32U4 Prime SV
|Clock:||16 MHz resonator||16 MHz crystal||16 MHz crystal|
|User I/O lines:||20||23||26|
|Ground access points:||4||4||43|
|7 V to 12 V||7 V to 12 V||2.7 V to 11.8 V||5 V to 36 V|
|Regulator type (5 V):||linear||linear||switching|
|at 3 V in||—||—||0.75 A||—|
|at 5 V in||—||—||1.5 A||0.2 A|
|at 7 V in||1.0 A||1.0 A||1.5 A||1.0 A|
|at 9 V in||0.5 A||0.5 A||1.5 A||1.0 A|
|at 11 V in||0.35 A||0.35 A||1.5 A||1.0 A|
|at 24 V in||—||—||—||1.0 A|
|0.5 A(1)||0.5 A(1)||1.5 A(1)||1.5 A(1)|
|Weight:||28 g||20 g||13 g to 33 g|
1 With sufficiently capable USB power supply.