Introduction to Arduino

Objectives and Overview

Welcome to Experimenting with Arduino! In this course, you’ll be exploring the wonderful world of Arduino. But first, let’s take a look at what the Arduino is. Additionally, you’ll review some of the expectations and responsibilities with the Arduino kit.

Lesson Objectives

  • Become familiar with the Arduino and identify the strengths of the tool.
  • Become aware of the Arduino kit contents and recognize it’s your responsibility to keep track of them.
  • Recognize example projects that use an Arduino.

What is an Arduino?

Arduino Yun board layout diagram

An Arduino is a device that allows you to create software that interacts with electrical components. With an Arduino, you can read electrical inputs and control electrical outputs.

It uses what is called a microcontroller. A microcontroller is a small computer that is stored on a single chip. It contains a processor, memory, and inputs and outputs.

The Arduino is based on the ATMEGA8 and the ATMEGA168 chips.


The Arduino was designed to be very accessible. They are relatively inexpensive and you can program it using a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. It uses the Processing programming environment which looks a lot like Java or C.

The Arduino is also open-source both in software and hardware. This means that there are a lot of free resources and help available online and that inventors can use the Arduino as the brains of their products and prototypes without paying license fees.
This open nature has greatly increased the adoption of Arduino devices and has spurred the creation of a number of Arduino compatible accessories and software.

Because Arduinos are open source, people are free to create their own version of Arduino devices that serve specific needs. Very powerful Arduinos power a number of 3D printers and small compact Arduinos are the go-to base for many wearable electronics projects.

Experimenting with Arduino

There are two aspects to working with an Arduino: the first is the hardware which includes the board itself and all of the components that attach to it.

Here are some of the components that you’ll be working with during this course:

  • Breadboards
  • Jumper wires
  • LEDs
  • Resistors
  • Photoresistors
  • Potentiometers
  • Piezo speakers

The second aspect of the Arduino is the software IDE where all of the code is written. This is where you develop, and then upload, the code that controls the Arduino board and the electronic components for each project.


Arduino is an effective way to learn some programming fundamentals as you work through the projects.
The instruction will be a mixture of direct instruction from the program staff, hands-on experimenting with the projects, and following project guides.

This course is a collection of a hands-on Arduino projects. As you build your skills, you’ll have more options and opportunities to expand into other projects.


There are several project kits that contain the key components that you’ll be using in the course.
You’re responsible for the content of the kits!
The kits include the following items:

  • Uno board
  • Solderless breadboard
  • Jumper wires
  • Resistor pack
  • LED pack
  • Pushbutton
  • Photoresistor
  • Potentiometer
  • Piezo speaker

At the end of each day, you must put away all of the items into your kit!
Now that you understand that, let’s jump into the software!