Start Easy & Go Strong PDF Print E-mail
Written by Robert Taylor   
Monday, 07 October 2013 08:38

This week we will focus on good beginnings.   For those of you who are just getting started in the world of micro-controllers and hardware hacking, this is the perfect place for you to be.   There are so many choices out there, and for the beginner they all look alike.   There are a few questions you have to ask yourself before you begin, and those questions are:

  1. What am I attempting to get out of this?
  2. Am I working towards a goal, or just learning?
  3. Am I prototyping for an existing idea?
  4. What is my budget to start with?

Once you have answers to those questions, its time to start looking at the various possibilities.   There is quite an array of micro products to choose from, ranging from the Raspberry Pi complete microcomputer to the Arduino compatible world of UNI, NANO, DUO, MEGA and MINI.   Then there is an entire  range of ATMel chip based application specific circuitboards.   Of all the selections, probably the most versatile to begin with would be the Arduino Compatible NANO v3 chip.   This unit has the best of both worlds.   Its small and compact and can easily be at the heart of any prototype, while at the same time its powerful enough to do the though jobs its needs to do and has plenty of interfaces to get it done.   Functionally its compatible with all but the Arduino MEGA 2560 boards.   It has the range of voltage compatibility that the other similar boards have and its footprint is small enough to easily fit into any  broadboard unit.   

 This brings us to the second question, what should I get as my test or build-out platform.   A good starting place for this is to use a broadboard.   A breadboard is nothing more than a group of pin sockets which are electronically tied together to allow easy connection between the pins.  A simple start for this is the 830 point single plane breadboard.   This unit has two sets of pin rows (left and right), these groups of 5 pins are tied together and constitute one row.   The pins for the chip or microcontroller go one-each into these rows.   This leaves the other 4 pins for connecting wires or other components to.  Additionally along the edge are 4 long electrically connected rows of sockets which are intended for power.   The 830 point board includes a power module which is capable of producing 5V and 3.3V from any DC power source.   Also included are 65 pre-fabricated jumper pins you can use to connect rows together.   With this starter kit you can easily create most all of the prototype connections you will need.


Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 17:06

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