Arduino Antics

A few weeks back I picked up an Ultimate Microcontroller Pack from MakerSHED. MakerSHED items are now sold at RadioShack of all places. Turns out RadioShack is actually a decent place to get electronic components once again.

If you’re not familiar with what and Arduino is or can do, I suggest you head over to and do a bit of reading. Simply, Arduino is a cheap, easy to use, highly configurable, open source microcontroller. Arduino comes with its own programming environment for the simple to learn language. The programming language is very simple to use and learn. Arduino has been around long enough and used widely enough there are sample ‘sketches’ available for download for nearly anything. If one is not available, chances are at least portions of it are available.

The Ultimate Microcontroller Pack contains an Arduino Uno board; a ‘maker shield’, which is a stackable breadboard; some motors; a few buttons and switches; speakers; breadboards; jumper wires; and and LCD. This way is a bit expensive ($160) to get into it, but it does ensure you will have everything you need to start playing around with the quite capable microcontroller.

Programming the Arduino is a really simple process compared to most other languages. You define input and output pins then write what you want to do with them. Documentation is excellent so even if you can’t find someone’s code doing the same as you want to, you can read for a bit and figure out how to do it. There is such a large community of users for these popular microcontrollers that information is widely available on the internet.

So, what’s this all about?? More projects! More projects with more things! Now a whole new world of projects is opened up. U encourage you to do a bit of reading about the Arduino and see if it is something in which you are interested. If so, entry into this exciting world can be had for around $30 for a basic Arduino board.

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