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What exactly is an arduino?

I checked out a page on instructables which said that arduino is a microcontroller development system...Is it some kind of a kit or what? what software do i use to program it? and i searched arduino on ebay and a couple of other places...got lots and lots of hits...which kit would be recommended for a beginner?(can u also post a link to it if possible?)

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An arduino is an open sourced, easily hackable microcontroller. A microcontroller essentialy does what the name suggests. It controls. A less vague answer is, "An arduino puts out specified voltage to certain pins depending on what you program. For instance, we write in a code that is based on C and C++. No it is not a kit. The purpose and beauty of DIY is that there are no prescribed instructions, warranties, or user agreements. It is whatever you want it to be. This site is a pretty good depository of tutorials and guides. Just keep practicing.
lemonie8 years ago
FAQ (includes "What is an Arduino?")

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Yashknowsbetter (author)  lemonie8 years ago
Would you recommend making a board at home or buying one frm their store ?
If you're pretty familiar with electronics (especially soldering) and aren't afraid of messing up - then there are plenty of ibles and how-to's on the web for making your own board from either an etched pcb or perf-board. The one major advantage of the factory ones is they include a usb-serial adapter on the board. If you don't already have a serial-ftdi cable/programmer then this is a plus, as it allows the arduino to be programmed, and 'talk' to the computer via the usb serial interface. Cost-wise, a pre-assembled one will set you back 30-50 dollars - and be guaranteed to work pretty much. Building your own will set you back 5-10 dollars and may need some troubleshooting to get it talking.
Yashknowsbetter (author)  frollard8 years ago
oh thanks...then i better order one for me from arduino.cc ...so then it's possible for me to interface this kit with any equipment like led's, motors ,and the like??? bcuz i've notced that loads of ibles here are based on arduino...
depends on what you want to do. It starts with 'hello world' -- making a single LED blink, and gets bigger and more fun from there. I first made my fiance a card with a 'throbbing' heart led under a drawing of a heart. It had to be tethered to the computer, but when she turned on the computer in the morning, the card lit up :D Now I'm working on an arduino based pov project...ible eventually :D
Yashknowsbetter (author)  frollard8 years ago
You connected the whole board to a greeting card or wat??? wow nice idea though!
not the whole board, just had it on the desk, and a card with a wire to the led...
Yashknowsbetter (author)  frollard7 years ago
Ok...now i got a microcontroller board with and lcd and slots for L293D ic's and bluetooth interfacing...not an arduino board but i'll be programming with AVR software...i've done the basics like led controlling and stuff...can u suggest some programs or projects???
You can - they just released the mega or whatever...its an uuber uuber version if you need way more IO ports. For simple projects the basic one will do. Also remember its open source - so arduino.cc isn't the only (or necessarily best) place to order from. Ladyada for example manufactures and sells them.