First I will explain why this Instructable is needed as many experienced developers will scoff when they see the title and will never read it because they don't have an open mind about things like Chromebooks. That is because many of them have forgotten the reason that microcontrollers such as the Intel Edison and Arduino were invented in the first place. These platforms were designed as a solution to lower the entry barriers for quick prototyping and making the connected computing devices driving the next industrial revolution.
What does that have to do with the Chromebook? Just as Intel Edison was designed to be an easy and affordable entry into it's world that is more accessible to a larger and more diverse crowd, so is the Chromebook. Most developers use Windows, Mac, or Linux; but not everyone has access to these systems. There are a lot of people all over the world that cannot afford a Windows nor a Mac, but they can afford a system with a Chrome OS were the Operating System is not only free; the Chrome OS is designed to be more usable on systems with more affordable hardware such as smaller hard-drives. In the past this is where Linux has shined with many free Operating Systems which most can be ran from a DVD or USD drive. But it's not that easy for most people in the world because you cannot just walk into a local store and buy a Linux system. You have to bu a computer that already has another OS, then install Linux on it. That defeats the affordability of Linux, and it limits the amount of people who can use it. I believe the Chrome OS solves these issues as it is preinstalled on devices with more affordable hardware that are available in stores around the world such as Walmart. Once I was working on a project for one of my classes at ECPI for my Bachelor's of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechatronics when the laptop I was doing my work on died. The assignment was due that night, I didn't have the parts on hand to fix it, and I was low on cash. Within an hour I was able to walk down the road, buy a Chromebook which was the only thing they had in my budget, walk back home (this Chromebook is incredibly LIGHT WEIGHT), set it up, and get back to work. I was able to get my homework done before the deadline that night, and this story points out that Chromebooks have the same ease of use and affordability that make microcontrollers like the Intel Edison famous.
The Intel Edison is a key part of the wave of connected devices developed to build a diversified collection of products invented for specific consumers and consumer needs. The Chromebook can allow more people to join this Internet of Things movement; many people have forgotten that one of the intentions of this movement is to diversify the Maker pool by making it easier for people of all ages, genders, race, social backgrounds, income, etc... to develop new ideas into prototypes to improve their lives. Of course the Chromebook cannot replace the workstation of an experienced developer, but it can help so many people get started.
This Instructale is designed to combine a Chromebook with Intel Edison technology and Arduino programming for the diverse group of emerging entrepreneurs eager to invent the future. It combines both of these small, powerful, and adaptable hardware platforms in a budget friendly form of prototyping in a small space.
This Instructable could not have been made without the help of Instructables (especially audreyObscura), Intel, Seeed Studio, Sparkfun, Adafruit, many Makers, and http://www.intel.com/support/maker/edison.htm#how
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Material Needed
1. Intel Edison Kit for Arduino such as this one: http://www.makershed.com/products/intel-edison-kit-for-arduino(
2. Chromebook (preferably one with an Intel Processor) such as this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834231755
3. Choose A or B, B is recommended.
A. Two Micro B Male to Type A USB Male cables: http://www.ebay.com/sch/USB-Cables-Hubs-Adapters-/44932/i.html?_sop=15&_sac=1&_nkw=micro%20usb%20cable&_dcat=44932&rt=nc&_pppn=r1&Connector%2520A=USB%2520Standard%2520Type%2520A%2520Male&Connector%2528s%2529%2520B=USB%2520Type%2520Micro%252DB%2520Male
(Note: Both ends need to have the plug, this is referred to as a Male end. Do not try to cut corners and buy a single splitter cable that has two micro plugs or hook two cables into a USB splitter or hub. Buy two of Micro B Male to Type A USB cables and plug them into separate USB ports for the best performance. The cheats will save you a few dollars, but could possibly slow down the connection speed and/or limit the power supplied to the board; I do not know what issues that could cause with your board so I do not recommend it. You could use a USB hub with it's own power supply, but those are more expensive.)
B. If your Chromebook only has one USB port, then you need one Micro B to Type A USB cable and a 7-15V DC supply with fresh batteries. For more information, see "Step 4: Using a 9V battery instead of two USB cables" for a photo of how they are connected.
Even if your Chromebook has two USB ports, you'll eventually need the DC power supply anyway. Later on when you use more power-intensive features the 7 to 15V DC input is needed; WiFi connectivity, the mini servo, and Arduino shield draw more power than a single USB port can reliably handle.
For More information, I suggest:
Step 2: Putting the Intel Edison Kit for Arduino Together
1. Put the smaller Intel Edison chip on the larger board in the blank area on the lower left side.
2. Lightly press it down with your finger until it clicks into place, but do not press too hard.
3. Secure the card in place with the 2 tiny hex nuts provided; no need to tighten very hard, so don't over tighten.
Optional: Attach the 4 plastic legs, I did not because I know I will soon be using those holes to attach it to something else.
Step 3: Connecting the Intel Edison Kit for Arduino to Your Chromebook
My Intel IoT Developer Kit came with a Grove starter kit plus, but there was only a single USB Micro cable between the two. It did come with a 9V to Barrel Jack Adapter to power it instead, it turns out I have to use it because my board was not getting enough power from my Chromebook's USB ports.
If you are going the two USB cable route, see below and skip the next step. If not then skip below and follow the next step.
After you attach the two cables to the two micro ports on the board, look for the tiny little switch beside them. This switch needs to be switched towards the micro ports. Once the power port is hooked up to your computer a green LED should turn on. Your hardware is now ready!
If the LED light (DS1 on the Arduino expansion board) is occasionally turning on and off, it is likely that the board isn't getting enough power from the USB port. Plug in your AC adapter (if you're on a laptop), try a different USB port on your computer, or try using a USB hub that has its own power supply. If this does not work, go to the next step and try the option with the DC Power Supply.
Note: If you are using only one USB cable and a DC Power Supply, the switch needs to be flipped the other way, see this link for more details: http://www.intel.com/support/edison/sb/CS-035335.htm
Step 4: Using a 9V Battery Instead of Two USB Cables
This is only if you do not use two USB cables. Make sure the micro switch between the two Micro USB ports and the Standard USB port beside the power supply connection is switched towards the Standard USB and DC power connector. Plug in the DC power supply with the battery to the DC plug on your expansion board. You should see a green light from the Intel Edison Board indicating it has power. Plug one of the micro-USB cables into the edge USB connector on the expansion board. Connect the other end of the USB cable into your computer. See the above photo to make sure you have it properly connected.
Step 5: Searching for a Google App to Run Arduino IDK
Click on the box in the lower left corner with the 9 little boxes in it. Type in Arduino and pick an option from the Google Web Store such as the free ChromeDuino.
Step 6: Connect to the Intel Edison Board
Once you find the App you want to try to program with, hit the green button and it will install. It's that easy, and that is one of the reasons more people should try to program on Chromebooks. After it is installed, it will appear in the menu with all your other Apps. Make sure your board is attached before you start the program.
If you want to flash your firmware to get the latest features and important updates you are going to use Crosh (Linux version of PuTTY) the Chrome OS Developer Shell. The Chrome OS is built on top of Linux, and has a Crosh terminal you can use right now. It is used for SSH and pinging. You can get to it by just hitting CTRL+ALT+T, which will open a new tab running your terminal. I will cover this in a more advanced tutorial.
Step 7: Selecting Your Board
Hit connect. That's it. Unlike my Windows, Linux, and Apple systems there are no other options. It is just that simple and easy. You are now connected and ready to program.