So you have just bought a new Arduino – how to get it up and running? First of all it needs to be connected it to a computer, so you can load your code into the board. Then you should decide how to power it. And finally you need a software to develop a program, compile it and upload to the board.
This article focuses on Arduino Uno (rev 3), other models could have some differences.
Most models (Uno, Mega 2560) have USB type B female port for data connection:
This port requires USB 2.0 cable type A/B:
The USB cable provides power as well, so you do not have to worry about an external power supply if you do not mind keeping the USB cable connected.
If you want the Arduino to run independently on a USB connection, then you need an external power supply plugged into the board’s power jack. The easiest option is to get an AC/DC adapter with the following specifications:
Recommended voltage: 7 – 12 V (with limits 6-20 V)
Connector: 2.1mm center-positive plug
The required current depends on the voltage supplied and the shields connected to the board. For Arduino Uno alone I use an adapter providing only 300 mA (for 7.5 V). However connecting only a GSM shield would require at least additional 700 mA.
Another option is to get a battery. This would give you mobility (for example to build a robot).
You could also power the board by supplying voltage to the 5V or 3.3V pins – but it is not recommended because it bypasses the regulator and can cause damage.
Software for code development (IDE)
Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is open-source and can be downloaded for free. It is available for different platforms:
Following one of the links above will get you to installation instructions for your operating system.
In the next article we will upload our first code “Hello World!”.