Best Arduino Board 2021 • 6 Arduino Boards Reviews
Since they were released in Italy back in 2005, Arduino boards have become very popular among electronics and programming enthusiasts as they are a great way to get started in these fields. As completely free and modifiable hardware, there is a variety of Arduino boards and kits available.
Arduino Board Leaderboard 2021
What is an Arduino board and how does it work?
Arduino is a development platform based on a free hardware electronic board that has an Atmel reprogrammable microcontroller and a series of pins. With these pins, you can set connections between the microcontroller and a wide variety of sensors.
These connections are usually set in a very simple way and commonly use Dupont cables. By connecting the microcontroller-integrated circuit to a computer, the user can record instructions using a programming language. They can then design programs that interact with the electronic circuits.
What types of Arduino boards are there?
There is a range of different official Arduino board models, each one with its own specifications. This means that each offers different benefits and may be designed with specific uses in mind. Many boards have different versions as well. Here is a list of the main official models.
- Arduino Uno
- Arduino TRE
- Arduino/Genuino 101
- Arduino Zero
- Arduino Zero Pro
- Arduino Yun
- Arduino Leonardo
- Arduino Due
- Arduino Mega
- Arduino Mega ADK
- Arduino Ethernet
- Arduino Fio
- Arduino Nano
- Arduino LilyPad
- Arduino Pro
- Arduino Pro Mini
- Arduino Esplora
- Arduino Micro
- Arduino BT
- Arduino Duemilanove
- Arduino Diecimila
- Arduino Primo
- Arduino STAR OTTO
- Arduino Industrial 101
Advantages and Disadvantages of Arduino Boards
Arduino offers a lot of advantages. First of all, since it is completely open hardware, it is possible to modify or improve any design. This means it is possible to find a large number of compatible boards beyond the official ones. Also, there is a very active Arduino community to support you.
It is, therefore, an ideal tool for beginners in the world of electronics and programming. The programming language used is simple yet very powerful, so it offers many possibilities.
- Free hardware platform
- Simple to create electronic designs
- Allows modification and improvement in the design
- Ample community support
- Wide variety of boards and kits available
- Compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems
- Perfect for beginners to computing and electronics
- Simple yet powerful programming language
- May be intimidating at first
Shopping Criteria for Arduino Boards
If you’re thinking about buying an Arduino board or kit, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider.
- Board type
- Type of pieces
- Instructions and tutorials
The first thing to consider is what you will use your Arduino board for. You will not need the same board or kit if you simply want to learn about the world of electronics as if you want to design complex projects. Keep in mind that there are also kits available that are designed specifically for children and teenagers.
Some of these kits allow you to build toys like remote-control cars, ideal for combine learning with fun. Beyond that, if you want to start in the Arduino world, a very interesting option is a complete kit that allows you to develop more complex projects once you have taken the first steps.
Currently, there are several official Arduino boards, aside from those that have been discontinued. There are many other compatible models that you can easily use in your projects. If you go for an official board, be careful with possible fake ones. Sometimes they are really hard to distinguish.
The official basic model is the Arduino Uno, which is a perfect introduction to this exciting world. However, if you want more power, you can go for the Arduino Zero. Or if you prefer something with as many inputs as possible, then the Arduino Mega, which comes with 54 digital inputs, maybe for you. Other boards are designed for more specific uses.
Type of Pieces
The type of components included is as important as the number of pieces. Therefore, make sure that first of all, you are clear on the type of projects you are going to carry out. From there, carefully check the parts that are included in the kit and whether they will be suitable for the project you are looking to work on.
Essential components include a power supply, a USB cable to connect it to your PC, and a complete set of connecting cables. And, of course, the board. It can also be useful to have diodes, resistors, switches, pushbuttons, and integrated circuits.
Instructions and Tutorials
Instructions and tutorials included in the kit are something else to keep in mind. Sure, you’ll find a mountain of documentation related to Arduino both online and in libraries. However, it is always much better to encounter this information firsthand, from the board manufacturer itself.
Manuals and tutorials that come with the board or kit usually show different projects that can be carried out with the elements included in the set. Many manufacturers often offer complimentary updated guides on their website. You should also check that the manual comes in English!
Keep in mind that Arduino is designed to test and constantly create different designs. Under these circumstances, it is important to make sure that parts and components are made from good-quality materials. They need to be durable, so you do not have to replace them after only a few months of use.
Sometimes, you can find boards and components that are fairly cheap, but that are manufactured with poor quality components or are poorly made in general. This may not be a big problem in the short term. However, it can limit you to carry out new projects in the long run.
Alternatives to Arduino Boards
The similarity between these two names can sometimes cause confusion. Arduino boards are officially marketed to the U.S. market, while these same devices are often called Genuino in other countries. However, the difference is solely due to legal issues regarding the brand name.
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Why should I buy an Arduino board?
Arduino is completely free and modifiable. This means you can do any modification or extension you want without a problem. This applies to both the board design and the development environment associated with it. You will, therefore, find a wide variety of unofficial boards and software libraries available.
Additionally, Arduino has a large user community. Its programming environment is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Arduino uses a programming language that is very easy to understand, but at the same time has a high capacity to fit virtually any situation.
Should I buy an Arduino kit?
An Arduino board by itself is not useful. It requires a series of extra elements such as a power supply, a USB cable to load the programs you make, and different modules that allow you to store projects on memory. Therefore, unless you already have these elements, you are better off buying a starter kit.
Who should buy an Arduino kit or board?
Arduino boards are ideal for electronics and computer enthusiasts. Given the wide variety of boards, kits, and modules available, you will find a suitable product whether you are just starting or are more advanced. They are also a great educational tool for schools and colleges.
What are Arduino-compatible boards?
As open hardware, anyone can build their own Arduino board to suit their needs. This way, many manufacturers take advantage of the enormous popularity of Arduino and make their own boards and sell them at a lower price. In some cases, these boards are essentially identical to the original Arduino boards. Sometimes, they may have added functionality or may be much cheaper than the original.
What applications does Arduino have?
We have already mentioned Arduino’s applications in the educational field as well as for beginners in computing and electronics. However, much more can be done with Arduino. It can be used to design fun gadgets, drones, and to build basic robots, make 3D printers, and even create art.
What programming language does Arduino use?
The free Arduino platform is programmed with its own language developed from the high-level programming language known as Processing. It is a language quite similar to C++ and is a general-purpose programming language associated with Unix, with its point of difference being that it is highly portable.
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