Getting Started with Arduino

Getting Started The arduino in your kit is a development platform from Physical computing projects. At its roots, the Arduino board is essentially a small portable computer. It is capable of taking inputs (such as the push of a button or a reading from a light sensor) and interpreting that information to control various outputs (like a blinking LED light or an electric motor). The Arduino board is one among a multitude of development boards based on the ATmega328. It has 14 digital input/output pins (6 of which can be PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ISP header, and a reset button. Don’t worry, you’ll learn about all these later.

That’s where the term “physical computing” is born – an Arduino is capable of taking the world of electronics and relating it to the physical world in a real and tangible way. This will all make more sense soon. 1. Download Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) In order to get your Arduino up and running, you’ll need to download the newest version of the Arduino software first from (it’s free!). This software, known as the Arduino IDE, will allow you to program the board to to materialise your ideas. It’s like a word processor for writing programs. Go to and follow the simple steps.

2. Connect your Arduino to your Computer Use the USB cable provided in the kit to connect the Arduino to one of your computer’s USB inputs.

3. Open the Arduino IDE Open the Arduino IDE software on your computer. Poke around and get to know the interface. We aren’t going to code right away, this is just an introduction. This step is to set your IDE to identify the Arduino. GUI (Graphical User Interface)

Arduino IDE2

Verify Checks your code for errors compiling it.
Upload Compiles your code and uploads it to the configured board. See uploading for details.
Creates a new sketch.
Presents a menu of all the sketches in your sketchbook. Clicking one will open it within the current window overwriting its content.
Saves your sketch.
Serial Monitor 
Opens the serial monitor.

4. Select your board: Select the Arduino Uno from the Tools > Board menu

5. Select your Serial Device Select the serial device of the Arduino from the Tools > Serial Port menu. On the Mac, this should be something with /dev/tty.usbmodem or /dev/tty.usbserial in it. Instructions for PC and Linux can be found here.

 Next: Getting Started with Circuits