Arduino Class Sunday July 24 2016

This is a reference post for the Intro Arduino class I am teaching at Decatur Makers on July 24, 2016, from 6pm-9pm.   See the Decatur Makers website for cost and registration info.

Getting Started with the Arduino!

Low-cost user-friendly microcontrollers have made it possible for anyone to quickly create small electronic projects.  Many DIY projects use microcontrollers.  This getting-started session will introduce users to the Arduino system and provide hands on activities with a low cost kit of electronic components, as well as your own Arduino (open hardware clone) to take home.  

What we will (try to) cover:

Code for class (the LCD display uses the stock code from the LCD display demo)

  • LCD display will use the standard tutorial code above. CONNECT RW TO GROUND.  This is not stated, though shown in the diagram.
  • IF TIME — analog reading, using stock tutorial (AnalogInOutSerial) and we will modify to demonstrate plot monitor

What you need to bring — a laptop computer.  Windows, Mac, or Linux. Macs sometimes have problems with the drivers (see below).

What you will receive! — an Arduino Uno (clone), breadboard, ~20 jumper wires, ~10 assorted colored LEDs, assorted resistors (10 each of 220/1K/10K/100K Ohm), potentiometer, ~5 pushbuttons with caps, 16×2 LCD display

BEFORE the class

These Arduinos use the CH340 USB serial driver.  You need to install that driver on your computer.  Follow these instructions from Instructables.Com.

If you have not done this, please arrive at the class 45 minutes early.  Based on past experiences, it works fine for most, but there are always a handful of Windows and Mac computers where the installation requires some kicking of the tires.

Reference Material is an excellent reference.  It contains an online reference guide to the language and programming environment, and explains each of the example sketchs (programs) built into the programming environment.

All the components in the kit provided are standard components used in many electronic projects.

Adafruit ( and Sparkfun (  are two common online companies to buy components and kits for microcontroller-based projects (such as LCD displays).  These companies also often have tutorials on their website for each of these components.  eBay is another place to buy many of these components — asian manufacturers often sell and ship direct for much less money than US or European manufacturers, with the tradeoff of a longer shipping time and unknown documentation.

Fixing Driver Issues

Some OSX users had trouble.  Seemed to be fixed by

Additional Code

Here is my sketch for a CW  (morse code) beacon/message sender.  (ZIP file) You can change the #defines for your desired words per minute and the outgoing text, and the program will loop and key the message at the interval specified in the code.

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