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So, today I looked at Arduino; seems very interesting. I still don't want to shell out the money just yet, as I have some questions, namely:

  1. Should I learn something about electronics? What and with what resources?
  2. What stuff should I buy? I have a limited, but not that small budget (probably up to 200€, but preferably less). I'm interested in getting a screen (mustn't be complex, but I would prefer one like that), some speaker, some way for it to move and a way to remotely control it. I would also want a battery. I also wan't to be able to use my board for many things in the future, so it shouldn't be too basic, I guess. I think I will go with the MEGA, is that smart?
  3. What resources do you recommend? Any books? Good tutorials besides what you find on their site?
  4. What are really cool extensions (e.g. screens) which I would be adviced to get/try?

Help greatly appreciated. Also, I have never developed for any embedded device, but I know C and computer architecture to some degree; I'm somewhat familiar with low level stuff.

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2  
You might get better answers at electronics.stackexchange.com –  sdg Apr 6 '11 at 17:23
    
@sdg: Thanks for your suggestion, but I want very programmer-specific answers as I know close to nothing about electronics (but I'm willing to learn). –  Anto Apr 6 '11 at 17:26

4 Answers 4

A good starter kit for the Arduino is available from SparkFun although it is out of stock at the moment. For a screen there is a nice LCD add-on kit available.

As far as knowledge goes, having a base understanding of electronics and programming (I mean low-level, not Visual Basic) should be sufficient to start with an Arduino.

As far as resources, if you are good at finding things online and working with it then you should find a lot of things online to help you with projects & working with the Arduino. If not, you should try getting some Arduino Beginner books from your typical book site (B&N, Amazon, or even SparkFun has some)

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Great advice, I will vote up tomorrow (have reached daily vote limit) –  Anto Apr 6 '11 at 20:12
    
@Anto ha! I don't do this for the upvotes but thanks. –  Glenn Nelson Apr 6 '11 at 20:52

If cost is an issue, you might want to consider the STM8S-Discovery kit from ST Microelectronics, which sells for around $10 (ten) dollars US.

It is fairly new and does not yet have the same following as the Arduino kits, but there's a rapidly growing development community for the STM8. If you google 'STM8S-Discovery' you'll find hundreds of pages with additional advice, sample projects, etc.

Here's a link to a retailer selling for £6.49.
Here's a fan site on an Italian server.

If that doesn't suit you, ST also sells a STM32 discovery kit (value line) for about the same price. The STM32 has larger chips in the family so you can expand to much larger programs if needed.

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My budget is not that limited, as I said, I have roughly 200€ as the absolute cap. –  Anto Apr 6 '11 at 19:11
2  
Depending on what kind of display you need/want, what kind of self-mobility you want, how fancy you need your R/C to be, etc. you'll probably reach 200€ fairly quickly. Also, don't forget to factor in the cost of hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, brackets, wheels, propellers, etc.) –  oosterwal Apr 6 '11 at 19:18
  1. Any beginners electronic book should be read. A guy named Smiley wrote "C programming for Microcontrollers" you can find him on http://www.avrfreaks.net/ which is a great resource as they have tutorials on there also. I personally haven't read his book, but a number of beginners I have talked to say good things about it.

  2. One tool I recommend buying if your going to be doing more than a couple projects is an oscilloscope or logic analyzer. These tools are essential when troubleshooting your projects. Other tools I recommend are wire, wire strippers, wire cutters and a multimeter.

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Alright sorry. I'll just answer your questions number wise.
1)You should know the basics such as what different components do and how to use them. - http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/basic-electronic-components-and-what-they-do.html

2) The mega is a good option but if you want to learn a bit and experiment with the board I'd advise getting an uno simply because its cheaper and then upgrading to a mega later on if you like it and want to do more with it.

3)You can learn pretty much everything on youtube , and once you have a hang of the programming bit and installation you can use the resources and code given at arduino.cc and also the arduino playground :
->Youtube lessons : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLd_JyvKV4Y (This is the first lesson , the others are there on his channel.
->Arduino playground : playground.arduino.cc/
->Arduino reference page : arduino.cc/en/Reference/HomePage

4) Alright , this is the exciting one , some cool extensions or components would be :
-> An LCD screen : You can code this one to display words,numbers and also one of those tickr like updates . www.adafruit.com/products/714
-> Some motors : Both DC normal(brushed) and a servo are cool starters.
-> A bluetooth shield to control your arduino via your phone .

Lastly , you should get a starter kit because they usually have the basic components that you'll need to learn . Cheers.

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