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Arduino Uno As An Easy To Use Microcontroller For The Non Engineer

1527 words - 7 pages

The microcontroller, Arduino, was created in 2005. Before then, a consumer would choose between either a PIC (Peripheral Interface Controller) microcontroller or a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). Although both cost less money, they are difficult to understand and use. Although Arduinos are more expensive, they offer many benefits. Arduinos have their own USB interface controller on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) which allows for easier connectivity between the Arduino and the computer. Another benefit is that the microcontroller, the ATmega328, is already configured on the PCB so that the inputs and outputs are ready to use. Another benefit to Arduino is that the programming Language is similar to C and is easy for a beginner to learn.

1. To establish the pros and cons of the Arduino
2. Shield use, and how to extend the functionality of an Arduino
2. Possible Uses for an Arduino
3. Construction and Accuracy of the Arduino
5. Final conclusion on the Arduino

Secondary research was primarily used. Electronic sources are the main type of secondary source, with a few from interview, and from print. There was a small amount of primary research as well, through my experience with Arduino in the Sylvania Engineering Club.
Background on Arduino Microcontroller
A microcontroller is essentially a very small computer on a single IC (integrated circuit). On the Arduino, there is a Atmel Atmega328 microcontroller, which allows the user to create a program for their circuit to follow. For example, say that you wanted to make an LED (light emitting diode) blink on and off with a one second delay in between, instead of using an IC to create a 1Hz square wave, you could use an Arduino and a simple program to make it blink. Figure one shows the code that will make the LED blink.
int LED = 13
// this tells the arduino that pin 13 will be used in the program

void setup() {
//this sets up a program that will run only once, as soon as the Arduino is turned on

pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);
//this sets pin 13 as an output

void loop() {
//The loop command will run for forever

digitalWrite(LED, HIGH); //this sets the output pin as having a higher voltage than GND
delay(1000); //this shuts down the cpu, and forces it to wait one second
digitalWrite(LED, LOW); //this sets the output pin as having an equal voltage as GND
delay(1000); //this makes the cpu wait another second
Figure 1

The first program that nearly every programmer writes is called, “Hello World,” which just displays the words “Hello World” on the screen. Arduino’s do not have a screen, so most people write a code called, “Blink,” which is the simplest program that can be written for an arduino. Figure 1 shows the simplest way that this can be programmed. If you look at the signal on an oscilloscope, the high and low voltages can be seen, with one
Figure 2 ...

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