Getting Started with Arduino

Img 7427 The Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based around a microcontroller. It accepts inputs, such as signals from sensors (light, temperature, moisture, etc.) or data from the Internet or wireless devices, and sends output signals to devices, such as LEDS, motors, speakers, MIDI sequencers, computers, and so on. You can write programs for the Arduino on a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine and load them onto the Arduino with a USB cable.

Recently, Make published a book called Getting Started with Arduino, written by Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of Arduino. It's only 116-pages long and uses attractive hand-drawn illustrations to get even the most clueless newbie up to speed. Filled with easy-to-understand examples and projects, I wish there were books like this about everything I was interested in learning more about, from beekeeping to furniture making to investing.

Getting Started with Arduino


  1. There are good books about all that stuff. With Google and various forums, it’s even simple to find them amid all the bad ones.

  2. I would have bought this were it a PDF (without DRM), but I’m not going pay extra for manufacturing and shipping, wait a week for delivery, and then burden myself with a big block of wood lying around the house just so I can read some instructional text. Does it come with a buggy whip?

    It’s funny; I still prefer reading fiction on paper. But with something like this, where I just want to extract the information from it right now, I’m unwilling to wait on UPS and go though all the analog hurdles to distribution when they’re so unnecessary.

  3. @SIDB – are you willing to pay $10 for a PDF of it (no DRM)?

    on thing to consider with a book on electronics, a lot of folks sit at workbench or table and flatten a book out to read it, some do get PDFs and print out some pages and others use a laptop too – for whatever reason most seem to prefer a book.

    but let me know the price you think is fair for a PDF and i’ll see what’s possible (i work at MAKE).

  4. This is excellent news! I just saw the Nintendo Keyless Entry System & was curious what Arduino was and if it was over my head. Seeing all the different boards on the Make site is giving me ideas.


  5. The Arduino board is hands down the best $50 (Cdn$+delivery) I have ever spent.

    Cszostek (#6)

    I wouldn’t consider myself a hardware guy or a serious software coder, and I found the Arduino and it’s C based language very easy to deal with. The documentation it comes with has lots of tutorials and sample code fragments to help you out. If you have done casual coding in any language you should pick it up in no time.

    My first project with it was a shutter timer for my DSLR that uses three touch buttons (AKA thumbtacks) and two 7 segment LED displays to control the number and interval between shots.

    I have now graduated to a 7×20 LCD (7×2.5 foot) matrix that will hang off my balcony and crawl Christmas/Hanukkah/Quanza etc greetings in as many languages as I can find.

    After that has run it’s course I am thinking of using the audio I/O to do some flanging/delay/catch and repeat effects for my brother’s electric guitar/PA.

  6. @PT

    Was that supposed to be a link to somewhere? I’m keen to find a PDF copy too – MAKE seems to want as much for shipping as they do for the tiny little book.

  7. NO! I do not like programming & soldering. I do not like them in a boat, I do not like them with a goat . . . Would not, could not in a box . . . would not, could not with a fox . . .


  8. You can find this book for 10 dollars at o’reilly for digital download, if you check out using DRUP4 in the coupon field you’ll get 40% rebate through all of december :)

  9. I picked up a copy of this just recently. I was hoping for a little more information on the electronics side of things, but it’s an easy read and it means my less-technically-minded partner can get some kind of idea of what I’m enthusing about.

    And yes, PDF. I like dead tree books, myself, because they’re easier to take with you to the bathroom =)

  10. Is this beginning electronics for idiots who like to play with wires and maybe solder? Or do I have to have some basic electronics knowledge to get something out of this? Because I’ve been tempted by Arduino many times, but it always seems too complicated.

  11. @Cavalaxis

    Depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to make something really fancy you need to know more about electronics, if you want to make an LED blink you just connect it to your computers serial port, click your mouse three or four times and it blinks, a clever badger could do it.

    If you are interested in such things it’s probably worth the $20 or $30 it costs you to get a basic kit. Once you start playing with it you’ll start to get more ideas about what you can use it for.

    If you don’t like problem-solving though it probably isn’t for you. Any non-trivial program you write is likely to have bugs, and you’ll need to be able to figure them out if you want it to do anything original.

    I’m currently working on getting the Arduino core running on the AVR Butterfly, a $20 demonstrator board that comes with a speaker, temp sensor, voltage sensor and an LCD. It won’t plug into shields, but it includes a handful of interesting components a beginner might like.

    Right now we’ve got it running example apps that read the temperature sensor and send the current temperature out the serial port. Fun stuff.

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