Arduino Part 1

In embedded software, testing on January 29, 2011 at 2:25 am

So, I received my Arduino Starter Kit today and want to get started understanding it so I can build enough examples and exercises for the Testing Embedded Software for Developers class. The Arduino is much more low level than the Neuron Robotics DyIO, but it’s much less expensive and there’s more documentation available right now. Of course I’ve got the folks from Neuron Robotics available on campus and nearby to help me figure out what’s happening. But, I think it’s about time for me to dive in and figure out some low level concepts. Later on, possibly in future offerings, I can add the DyIO to the course.

You have to realize that I’m very hardware-phobic and really get nervous when I have to touch hardware. It stems from an experience I had building an 8-bit computer in the late 1970s. I reversed polarity on the board and all of the diodes exploded. It cost more to get that fixed than most PCs cost today. Ever since, I’ve always feared damaging components beyond repair. Luckily the Arduino isn’t that expensive and I don’t think it’s going to surge back to my laptop.

I had an Arduino Diecimila that someone gave me to play with. The starter kit came with the Arduino UNO so I’ve at least got two systems in case I blow one out. This could be interesting.

Anyway, I’ve loaded performed the Getting Started with Arduino on MacOSX. It went really smoothly. It took about 15 minutes from starting to download the Arduino IDE to getting the blinking LED. Nice and easy and I didn’t break anything. That certainly builds confidence. I do, however, want to use the Eclipse environment with the AVR plug-in for the class. I think it will make some of the testing easier, but I’m not sure about that yet.

Now I’m going to start reading some of the tutorials and play around with the board. It looks like you build libraries for use with the Arduino and IDE in C++. This is cool. But it also means that there’s an awful lot to learn in a short time. I’m not sure which things are critical. If anyone has any ideas on what would be the most useful, please let me know. Post a comment here.


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