Hardware Secrets to Firmware: Everything About Arduino For Future

Hardware Secrets to Firmware: Everything About Arduino For Future

Arduino meaning ‘strong friend’ in Italian. The name is a perfect fit for the device; it is indeed a strong friend of every firmware designer and programmer.

On board lies an ATmega chip which is the heart as well as the brain of the Arduino. This device functions on a chip that is programmed or instructed to accomplish a certain task.

The Design & Purpose

One specialty of this device is, it can be independently programmed using a simple USB Chord. That’s right, just one USB chord to program an Arduino.

arduino-1It is simple and compact with a small kit that replaces an old nasty giant programming kit usually used to program the PIC (Peripheral Interface Controller) microcontroller. Arduino is not just a device, it is an entire ecosystem enabling you to easily and comfortably work with microcontrollers.

I would recommend the Arduino to people who want to try their hand on hardware with a little knowledge. But don’t underestimate this device it can work smoothly even on complex projects.

Variations in Arduinos

Over the years there are many varieties of Arduino boards or kits created depending on the different applications these boards have. So starting with the easiest and most user-friendly one for beginners and going up the trail to have a glance at all the varieties Arduinos have, here the list begins:

1. Arduino Uno

Uno means ‘one’ in Italian. The Arduino Uno was named so because it was the version 1.0 of the Arduino software. The Uno has various applications from the easiest like playing and controlling the TV or Music to the most complicated ones like creating a complex robotic arm.

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The Arduino Uno uses a microcontroller – ATmega328P embedded on the kit. This microcontroller creates Pulse Width Modulation signals that help control other devices depending on the instructions programmed.

Features
The Arduino Uno has 14 digital input/output pins, a power jack, and a reset button. Along with the obvious USB to program the microcontroller.
There is plenty to build using this Arduino board. You can control the lights in your house, build a simple IoT device and even extract data from GPS and Sensors.

Exceptions
It is easy to use with a flash memory of 32KB used to upload a program. It’s light in weight and requires an operating voltage of 5V.

2. Arduino Mega

Arduino Mega as the name suggests is larger in size. It has added features and functionalities which came to light when compared with the Arduino Uno. The microcontroller on board base is ATmega1280.
Features
With 54 digital input/output pins, 4 serial ports, and a USB cable to power it, the Arduino Mega remains a self-sufficient kit.
Like the Arduino Uno, the Arduino Mega requires a 5V operating voltage.

Exceptions
A whopping flash memory of 128Kb is an added advantage in the Mega which compensates for its large size. Out of the 128Kb, 4 Kb is used by the bootloader.

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Source
Like the Uno, the Mega can also be used for various applications like a robotic vehicle or a miniature robot etc.

 3. Arduino Pro

· Arduino Pro Mini

This one is small, cheap and easy to fit on a breadboard.

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Feature
This one’s an exception because you will need a serial cable to program the FTDI breakout board.

Exceptions
Because there is a 3.3 V available you can use it with 3.3 V sensors.

Arduino Pro Micro

This one is similar to Pro Mini but you don’t need any serial cable or FTDI breakout board. It has a micro USB to upload programs. The Pro Micro uses an ATmega32U4 on board.

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Feature
It has a 12 digital input/ output pins. A 32kB flash memory and 2.5kB of RAM.

Exceptions
The pro has both 3.3v and 5v versions and therefore can be very beneficial. The difference in the two voltages is that it functions with 8MHz and 16MHz cycles respectively.

The Pro Micro can be used for simple graphics in a small robot. Its best use can be as a USB device or a joystick.

  • Arduino Pro Nano

The Nano has some variations with two versions on the list. The Nano can have anyone either ATmega328 or ATmega168 on board.

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Features
So depending on the version it may have a 2-4-layer PCB.

Exceptions
It’s small in size and particularly advantageous for projects where size matters. It can be used for graphics or small functions in the world of electronics.

 4. Arduino Lilypad

The Lilypad has different version depending on different functionalities and hardware/software advancements. There are two microcontrollers used viz., ATmega328V or Atmega168V in the Lilypad.

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Features
With 6 pins on the programming header, it is compatible with a USB cable. It also has an ICSP header with 10 pins and an added support for automatic reset which allows uploading sketches without using the reset button from time to time.

Exclusives
The round shape design is best suited for wearables. This is the only Arduino that is round in shape.

 5. Arduino YUN

The Arduino YUN has two processors on board. Underneath the metal can is an Atheros AR9331 which is typically found in Wi-Fi routers. It works at 400 MHz and runs on the custom version of Linux OpenWrt-Yun.
Additionally, there is an ATmega32U4 on board which can be programmed with Arduino 32 kb of flash memory and a 2.5 Kb ram (Similar to Pro Micro).

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Features
There is a micro USB for programming power and communications and a micro SD Card slot on the back side. With 20 input/output points, it stands with maximum applications available. Also, it can work as a USB host (plug in a flash drive)

Exclusives
Features on the Yun are not found on the other Arduino boards. It has Ethernet and Wi-Fi already on board.
You can program Linux directly using a command line over serial through the 32U4 or logging in with something called the SSH. You can even write python programs on Linux.
Yun is a great way to network your electronics project and get started with the IoT.

Much more!

Finally, in conclusion, there are various other Arduinos that have features close to the ones mentioned above:

· The Arduino Duemilanove and Arduino Diecimila work mainly on the concept of Pulse Width modulations just like the Uno.

· This is the Arduino Bluetooth specifically for Bluetooth applications.

· Arduino Serial and Arduino Single-Sided Serial that can be programmed using the serial ports.

· Last but not the least the Arduino NG, Arduino Extreme, Arduino USB which have specific functionalities for a specific purpose.

arduino-7The Arduino is an awesome tool to make every hardware dream project come true. It has many more amazing applications when studied in details. The best part is that it is open source and you can create your own Arduino board sitting right where you are without any hassles.