Beginning Arduino, 2nd edition - PDF

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Beginning Arduino, 2nd edition by Michael McRoberts

I first discovered the Arduino in 2008 when I was looking for ways to connect temperature sensors to my PC so I could make a cloud detector. I wanted to try out a cloud detection concept I’d read about on a weather forum, and as it was experimental, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it in case it failed. There were many solutions on the market, but the Arduino appealed to me the most. Not only did it seem to be an easy and cheap way to connect the sensors I required, but it could be used for other cool things. Thousands of projects in blogs, video sites, and forums showed the amazing things people were doing with their Arduinos. There seemed to be a huge sense of community with everyone trying to help one another.

It was obvious that I could have a lot of fun with an Arduino. However, I didn’t want to be trawling through websites for information. I wanted to buy a book on the subject, something I could hold in my hand and read on the train to work. After looking around, I found one book. Unfortunately, it was very basic and out of date. Worse, it didn’t give me anything practical to do with the Arduino, and I didn’t warm to the teaching style, either. What I wanted was a hands-on book that taught me both programming and electronics as I built things instead of having to wade through pages of theory first. Such a book just didn’t exist at the time.

Then I started Earthshine Electronics to sell kits based on the Arduino. To go with the kit, I produced a small tutorial booklet to get people started. This little booklet ended up being extremely popular, and I got hundreds of queries from people asking when I would be adding more projects or if I sold a printed version. In fact, I had already thought that it would be great to produce a comprehensive beginner’s book, crammed with projects and written in an easy-to-follow style. That is how this book came about. This book has proven so successful at teaching people about the Arduino that it has since been updated to this second edition with improvements and updated sections relevant to the changes in the Arduino world since I began.

I have written this book with the presumption that you have never done either computer programming or electronics before. I also presume you’re not interested in reading lots of theory before you actually get down to making something with your Arduino. Hence, right from the start of the book, you will be diving right into making a simple project. From there, you will work through a total of 50 projects until you become confident and proficient at Arduino development. I believe that the best way to learn anything is by learning as you go and getting your hands dirty.

The book works like this: the first project introduces basic concepts about programming the Arduino and also about electronics. The next project builds on that knowledge to introduce a little bit more. Each project after that builds on the previous projects. By the time you have finished all 50 projects, you will be confident and proficient at making your own projects. You’ll be able to adapt your new skills and knowledge to connect just about anything to your Arduino and make great projects for fun or to make your life easier.

Each project starts off with a list of required parts. I have chosen common parts that are easy to source. I also provide a circuit diagram showing exactly how to connect the Arduino and parts together using jumper wires and a breadboard. To create the parts images and breadboard diagrams for the book, I used the excellent open-source program Fritzing. The program allows designers to document their prototypes and then go on to create PCB layouts for manufacture. It is an excellent program and a brilliant way of demonstrating a breadboard circuit to others. Pop on over to http://fritzing (dot) org and check it out.

After you have made your circuit, I supply a code listing to type into the Arduino’s program editor (the IDE) which can then be uploaded to your Arduino to make the project work. You will very quickly have a fully working project. It is only after you have made your project and seen it working that I explain how it works. The hardware will be explained to you in such a way that you know how the components work and how to connect them to the Arduino correctly. The code will then be explained to you step by step so you understand exactly what each section of the code does. By dissecting the circuit and the code, you will understand how the whole project works and can then apply the skills and knowledge to later projects and then to your own projects in the future.

The style of teaching in this book is very easy to follow. Even if you have absolutely no experience of either programming or electronics, you will be able to follow along easily and understand the concepts as you go. More importantly, you will have fun. The Arduino is a great and fun open source product. With the help of this book, you’ll discover just how easy it is to get involved in physical computing to make your own devices that interact with their environment.



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