You just got your Arduino – now what?

You received your package from Karlsson Robotics and have just unpacked your Arduino, you look around for a CD or manual and find nothing. Not to worry here is a quick guide on getting started.

ArduinoUnoFront240USBCable

Make sure you have your Arduino and a USB cable before you continue.

The very first step will be to get an interface from your PC to the Arduino – you can get download any software you need at the Arduino ‘Getting Started’ page.

From the link above you will can click on the operating system you are using and you will be able to get a Step-by-Step guide to installing the software on your computer. The guide will also instruct you on how to install the correct drivers for the model of Arduino you have.

Once you have installed the driver and configured your connection to your Arduino you can run the ‘blink’ example. This will flash one of the LED’s on your Arduino board.

Play around with making the LED blink faster, stay on longer and off shorter or even flash Morse code by editing the following lines in the demo sketch.

You will see in the SOS code that we have added a function called ‘flash’. Creating a function makes it easier for you to execute a procedure that is repetitive in this case the function takes 2 parameters.  The first parameter is ‘count’ this specified how many times the LED’s must flash. The seconds parameter is ‘duration’ this specifies the duration in milliseconds that the LED should be on and off.

The loop function has also been changed – it now calls the flash function to flash the LED. For ‘S’ which is 3 short dots in Morse code it is instructing flash to flash 3 times at 150 milliseconds each time. For ‘O’ the duration is 300 milliseconds to reproduce a dash. We complete the SOS by sending the final ‘S’ and then pausing for 1 second before repeating the ‘SOS’.

If you are familiar with the C language you will notice that a sketch looks very similar to C – that’s because it is based on C. You can even create C++ Classes to use, but more on that in another tutorial.

Congratulations, you now have your Arduino up and running and have modified an example sketch to flash out a SOS.

You are ready to start exploring the real fun side of Arduino.

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