Introduction: Programming the Arduino (Kit)

Picture of Programming the Arduino (Kit)

The following information is a single lesson in a larger project. Find more great projects here.

Return to Previous Lesson: Programming the Arduino (Simulator)

Lesson Overview:

Now we'll program a real Arduino!

Step 1: Download Arduino IDE

You've already learned how to use the Code Editor in the circuit simulator, but in order to use your Arduino kit, you'll have to download some software to your computer. The Arduino IDE allows you to write and upload programs. You can download the latest version of the IDE from:

arduino.cc/download

Installation instructions can be found at:

arduino.cc/windows

arduino.cc/mac

arduino.cc/linux

Have your Arduino board and USB cable near your computer, but don't plug them in just yet!

  1. Install Arduino IDE using the installation instructions for your operating system.
  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 2: Communicating With the Arduino (1)

Now that you have installed the Arduino IDE, it's time to upload a program.

  1. Double-click the Arduino application to open it. If the IDE loads in the wrong language, you can change this in the application preferences. Look for "Language Support" on this page for details: arduino.cc/ide
  2. Navigate to the LED Blink example sketch (a 'sketch' is an Arduino program). It's located under: FILE > EXAMPLES > 01.BASICS.BLINK
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 3: Communicating With the Arduino (2)

Picture of Communicating With the Arduino (2)

Next you will tell Arduino IDE which board you are using. There are a lot of options! The one in your kit is an Arduino Uno.

  1. A window with some text in it should have opened. Leave the window be for now, and select you board under: TOOLS > BOARD
  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 4: Communicating With the Arduino (3)

Next choose the serial port your Arduino is connected to from the TOOLS > SERIAL PORT menu.

On Windows: This is likely to be the COM with the highest number. There is no harm in guessing wrong, and if it doesn't work, try the next one. To find out, you can disconnect your Arduino board and re-open the menu; the entry that disappears should be the Arduino board. Reconnect and select that serial port.

On Mac: This should be something with dev/tty.usbmodem in it. There are usually two of these - you can select either one.

  1. Continue to the next step.

Step 5: Communicating With the Arduino (4)

Picture of Communicating With the Arduino (4)

In this step, you will upload the Arduino sketch to the board!

  1. To upload the Blink sketch to your Arduino, press the UPLOAD toggle in the top left corner of the window. See the picture above.
  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 6: Communicating With the Arduino (5)

Picture of Communicating With the Arduino (5)

Now the Arduino Uno will take action! Watch for the following indicators that the sketch is successfully uploading.

  1. You should see a bar indicating the progress of the upload near the lower left corner of the Arduino IDE, and the lights labeled TX and RX on the Arduino board will be blinking. If the upload is successful, the IDE will display the message DONE UPLOADING.
  2. A few seconds after the upload has completed, you should see the yellow LED with an L next to it start blinking.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 7: Changing the Program

Picture of Changing the Program

Sometimes your brand new Arduino is already programmed with the Blink sketch, so you can't tell if you are truly in control. If this is the case, change the delay time by changing the number in parentheses from 1000 to 100, just like you did in the simulator.

Then upload the sketch again. Now the LED should blink much faster!

  1. Continue to the next step.

Step 8: Review

Congratulations! You have successfully programmed the Arduino to blink the on-board LED.

You're almost done learning the basics of the Arduino platform and circuit editor. Although the Arduino IDE on your computer and the Code Editor in the simulator look a little different, you should see a lot of similarities in how the two are used.

Continue to the next lesson to learn how to build a basic circuit on the breadboard that responds to the Blink sketch.

Next Lesson:Build a Simple Circuit (Simulator)

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