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Getting Started with Arduino (Make: Projects) 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596155513
ISBN-10: 0596155514
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Amazon.com Review

Getting Started with Arduino, authored by Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi, offers a brief, fun, and lucid overview of Arduino that will appeal to lots of people who've been wanting to get into physical computing and want a way in. This handy little guide should be just the ticket. To work with the introductory examples in this book, all you need is a USB Arduino, USB A-B cable, and an LED.

The Arduino Platform
Arduino is composed of two major parts: the Arduino board, which is the piece of hardware you work on when you build your objects; and the Arduino IDE, the piece of software you run on your computer. You use the IDE to create a sketch (a little computer program) that you upload to the Arduino board. The sketch tells the board what to do.
Not too long ago, working on hardware meant building circuits from scratch, using hundreds of different components with strange names like resistor, capacitor, inductor, transistor, and so on.
Every circuit was “wired” to do one specific application, and making changes required you to cut wires, solder connections, and more.
With the appearance of digital technologies and microprocessors, these functions, which were once implemented with wires, were replaced by software programs.
Software is easier to modify than hardware. With a few keypresses, you can radically change the logic of a device and try two or three versions in the same amount of time that it would take you to solder a couple of resistors.

The Arduino Hardware
The Arduino board is a small microcontroller board, which is a small circuit (the board) that contains a whole computer on a small chip (the microcontroller). This computer is at least a thousand times less powerful than the MacBook I’m using to write this, but it’s a lot cheaper and very useful to build interesting devices. Look at the Arduino board: you’ll see a black chip with 28 “legs”—that chip is the ATmega168, the heart of your board.
We (the Arduino team) have placed on this board all the components that are required for this microcontroller to work properly and to communicate with your computer. There are many versions of this board; the one we’ll use throughout this book is the Arduino Duemilanove, which is the simplest one to use and the best one for learning on. However, these instructions apply to earlier versions of the board, including the more recent Arduino Diecimila and the older Arduino NG. The figure on the left below shows the Arduino Duemilanove; The figure on the right shows the Arduino NG.

About the Author

Massimo Banzi is the co-founder of the Arduino project and has worked for clients such as: Prada, Artemide, Persol, Whirlpool, V&A Museum and Adidas. He spent 4 years at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea as Associate Professor. Massimo has taught workshops and has been a guest speaker at institutions like: Architectural Association - London, Hochschule f r Gestaltung und Kunst Basel, Hochschule f r Gestaltung Schw bisch Gm nd, FH Potsdam, Domus Academy, Medialab Madrid, Escola Superior de Disseny Barcelona, ARS Electronica Linz, Mediamatic Amsterdam, Doors of Perception Amsterdam.

Before joining IDII he was CTO for the Seat Ventures incubator. He spent many years working as a software architect,both in Milan and London, on projects for clients like Italia Online, Sapient, Labour Party, BT, MCI WorldCom, SmithKlineBeecham, Storagetek, BSkyB and boo.com.


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Product Details

  • Series: Make: Projects
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Make: Books; 1st edition (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596155514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596155513
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
While some reviewers decry the intro "fluff" chapters and the simplicity of some of the projects, by the end of this short book, you will have been exposed to many of the capabilities of the Arduino microcontroller. I found the book's projects to be very informative and fun. One warning to buyers: You will need to buy a few more electronic parts to take full advantage of this book and it's projects. Here's what you should get:
1. 5-10 x 10K-Ohm resistors
2. 1 x Momentary push button switch (4 pin), compatible with a breadboard
3. 5 x LEDs of differing colors (most will work with the 3-5V output of the Arduino).
4. 1 x MOSFET or 1 x 5V actuated relay (this is to turn on/off motors)
5. 1 x solder-less breadboard
6. 1 x jumper wire kit (various lengths and colors of short wires)
7. 1 x LDR (light dependent resistor)
8. 1 x 9V (or similar magnitude) battery case with leads for a breadboard
9. 1 x small motor (5-9V).

It seems like quite a bit, but if you get and use these parts with the projects, you will learn how to use sensors to take in data from the environment, have the Arduino process it, and then drive a response (in the form of lighting LEDs, turning on motors, etc.). Fortunately, the Arduino itself is USB-powered, so the other power sources (i.e. the battery case) will only be needed to run things like the motor.
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By Ry on December 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never done anything with electronics before, but I got through this book over the course of a couple days. Surprisingly few difficulties for a beginner. I liked the casual style of the book. The Arduino language was easy to learn and I found myself making adjustments to the code between projects. You learn by doing in this book, so it doesn't feel like arduous studying. Basically, a chapter will introduce a project with some new functions that you haven't learned before - you'll build it and write the sketch (the Arduino code) and then learn what you did. It was fun.
Another reviewer mentioned getting some extras with the book and I heeded his advice. I bought the Arduino Duemilanove Starter Kit through Amazon and it included pretty much everything I needed to go through this book:
(I'll modify the other reviewer's list a bit)
1. 5 x 330 Ohm resistors
2. 1 x Momentary push button switch
3. 6 x LEDs
4. 1 x solder-less breadboard
5. 1 x jumper wire kit
6. The Aruino Duemilanove of course
The things above are all included in that kit.
The only other things you'll want to buy are:
7. LDR (light dependent resistor) [fun sensor to use]
8. Some 10k Ohm resistors [these are recommended in the book, though you can probably get away with the 330 Ohms]

The following devices (9-12) are shown in a setup on page 71 - but with no explanation of how to use them. If you know electronics already, you could probably figure it out. If you're a beginner - I'd say no need to buy (9-12) for use with this book, because although they are pictured - there is no explanation or code.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Other reviewers have said this book is for 12 year olds. They are right. Working through the activities in Getting Started with Arduino, I feel all the wonder and excitement I had when I was 12 and wired up an electro-magnet from framing nails and bell wire.

I learned the theory and mathematics of electronics when I was a kid, but I never really "got it", and since high school, thirty years ago, I've hardly done more than repair a frayed lamp cord.

A week ago I hadn't heard the word "Arduino" twice. Six days ago I saw one controlling a robot. Three days ago, my Arduino starter kit (I bought mine from SparkFun) and this book were waiting for me on the porch when I came home from work. My 7 year old and I have been glued to both ever since.

If you are interested, but ignorant of the inner workings of electronic devices and computer programs; If you want to learn how all of these gadget around us work, buy this book and one of the many Arduino starter kits out there. Let your inner 12 year old out to play.
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I cannot offer high enough praise for this brief, artistic introduction to the Arduino Microcontroller and its enthusiastic user community. In this 118 page handbook, easily stored with your electronics tools, the author a co-designer of the Arduino controller, provides everything needed for the non-technical DIYer to program, test and build simple electronic projects with the Arduino board. In addition to Massimo Banzi's clear and informal writing about experimenting with electronics, software, and even descriptions of how to get answers from the open source community online, this pamphlet contains clear but artistic illustrations of the equipment used and ancillary tools by Elisa Canducci. It is an excellent introduction for the Artist, Teacher, DIYer, Electronics Hobbyists and Software People who are afraid to assemble physical electronics. I only wish there was more content along the lines of this book--but then it wouldn't fit in your toolkit or be available for $12.99.
--Ira Laefsky
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