One of the great things about microcontrollers is that they allow you straddle the divide of pure electronics hardware and computing software.
Now there’s no substitute for seriously learning the two, but Arduino is a great way to strike out gently in both directions – you can learn the basics of coding and combine it with some simple electronics. The more you learn, the more you can branch out into the ‘internet of things’ and start building your own smart technology ideas.
Microcontrollers make this easier because they can run C++-like code you can code on your PC, but they can also interface with electronic components – LEDs, transistors, LCD panels, Wi-Fi controllers, Bluetooth interfaces, motor drive circuits, servo motors, stepper motors, buzzers, capacitors, resistors, diodes, AND, OR, NOT gates and the list goes on.
But if you’re wondering how to start, I’ve been writing a new beginners’ masterclass in APC magazine called Arduino Basics where I take a simple project idea and show you how to code it and how to build up the electronics side of it. My super-simple weather sensor project has just gone up on the website and it’s a great way to dip your toe in and see how it all works.
What’s more, there’s no soldering either. In the story, I show you a trick that allows you to power the temperature-humidity sensor directly from the Arduino I/O ports so you don’t even need any connecting wires – it just plugs straight in.
The project includes all necessary source code on the website, so once you get the parts, it should be nice and easy to put together.
Of course, this story is now a couple of issues old – you’ll get the latest in the new issue of APC magazine, out now at all good newsagents.