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Getting Started with Arduino Book Giveaway

In support of our Arduino issue of MAKE, Volume 25, and our new Make: Arduino landing page, we’re running a book giveaway. If you don’t have Getting Started with Arduino in your library, and you’re interested in understanding Arduino and how to get into the world of interactive devices (or if you’re already an Arduino enthusiast but want an evangelical tome), you need this book! Written by Massimo Banzi, a co-founder of Arduino, Getting Started is a real joy to read and to use. I was so tickled when it first came out, especially when I read the intro section which tells the fascinating story of how Arduino came about and also serves as something of a high-tech maker’s manifesto, with brief sections on prototyping, tinkering, the joys of junk, and toy hacking/circuit bending. The rest of the book walks you through understanding the hardware and software of Arduino and how to set up various types of sensors to create “interactive devices” that can sense the world and respond.

We have five copies of Getting Started to give away. To be eligible, all you have to do is post a comment below on the theme of: Everything I always wanted to know about Arduino, but was afraid to ask. What are some of the nagging questions you have about Arduino, from the conceptual to the specific — no question too basic or advanced. And, as with our recent Make: Electronics book giveaway, you can also help (and be eligible for a book) if you provide answers to questions posed here. Let’s crowdsource an FAQ on vexing Arduino questions.

We’ll run the contest through next Thursday, 11:59pm PST. And we’ll announce the five winners next Friday. Good luck!

Update: And the winners are: Gene Kaufman, Rob T Firefly, Liz Valentine, Michael Voss, Crow. Email me to claim your book.

Don’t forget to check out our Make: Arduino page for all sorts of microcontroller goodness.

  • Joey Kelly

    Is Arduino for a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT user?

    • Billy Stevens

      I went directly from mindstorm NXT to arduino and it took some getting used to and even now I haven’t gotten too advanced but it definitely is possible

  • Bob Clagett

    I’ve been wanting to get into Arduino for a while now, but haven’t found a good enough idea to justify the time/money… I really just need to dive in and experiment. I recently started a gigantic desk, and I think i’d like to have parts of the desk react to events from my computers, but I have no idea where to start coupling mechanism to the computer. Are there several languages you can program the instructions in? Also, how often do people use the Arduino as a prototype, then replace it with a custom built solution, or do people generally continue to use it in an application, then just buy another for the next project?

    • Allen Pinkley

      I was the same way. Just do it. Get a starter kit and tinker with their examples. As you work through the things ideas will come to you by “if it does, can I do?” type things. I can deal with the wiring but now i am starting to get into code that I haven’t thought of in years.

      • Bob Clagett

        cool, thanks for the response… I might just do that..
        I’m a programmer, so I’m really looking forward to that part of it :)

  • Anonymous

    Is there anything an Arduido CAN’T do?

    • Todd

      I’ve tried to get mine to ride a bike while juggling flaming chainsaws. It’s not good at that (yet).

  • Leigh G

    How difficult is Arduino for someone who only knows basic programming?

    • Allen Pinkley

      Basic as in 10 REM…? If you know any C or VB the coding is fairly straight forward.

  • Anonymous

    I’m an 11 year old girl who has always been interested in arduino, but never known how to ask my dad or convince him that it’s worth the money. I’ve already done a lot of programming in scratch, so my dad knows I like computery stuff, but asking him to buy me something new and random-seeming and help me with it has always seemed very hard. Help?

    • Hugo Estrada

      Download the arduino software, and write some scripts with it. Download an emulator And test them there. Show them to your dad.

      That will show your dad that you have initiative, and that you are already have specific projects or programs made. This should prove that you are not just getting a board that will gather dust in a corner.

  • Tamara Henry

    I don’t know a thing, so i need a book for beginners. this sounds like it!

  • D H

    How many shields can I stack on it?

    • Billy Stevens

      you can stack as many shields as you on an arduino but you should check to make sure they do not interfere with each other

  • Dennis Cluett

    There are so many different types of Arduino boards from big to small and I’m sure they all have different applications, but I’d like to know what I can use each one for. Maybe this book can help. I choose the Mega for my quadrocoptor, but maybe I could have gotten away with something much less significant.

  • Scott Estes

    Would the Arduino be a good fit to turn my K-Cup coffee maker into a replicator style food dispenser?

    “Tea, Earl Grey. Hot.”

  • Jerome Twell

    I’ve seen hundreds , nay thousands of applications for arduino – it’s amazing, hell, it even has an awesome name! It’s comforting to know that the absolute beginner to the electronics enthusiast can find their spot with arduino. i guess my biggest question is how do i get started, though i was somewhat afraid to ask because i dont understand the full deal with electronics anyway.

    practice makes perfect!

  • Jason Lambert

    Am I too old to use Arduino?

  • Steve

    There is not really anything I’m afraid to ask, but there is a lot I don’t know and I would really like to get into. I have experience in programming PLC’s and VB, but this could combine my programming with my tinker skills

  • fattjake

    I want to use an arduino to modify an old treadmill so I can control speed and on/off via my laptop. I would use such an interface to build a virtual jogging platform where I could jog through the streets of Paris (via google street view) or run along side famous runners or even race against an avatar of myself from previous runs. I need a book to teach me the ways of the arduino.

  • Ethan Dicks

    What projects in “Getting Started with Arduino” would be good to build with a 10-12-year-old niece/nephew to help get them interested in electronics/physical computing?

  • Shane Thomas

    What the heck does the ICSP do for me on the arduino?

    • Greg

      The ICSP can be used to replace the Arduino boot loader. For example, if they have an upgrade to the code. Or perhaps to do a project with the board completely with your own code without the Arduino boot loader present.

    • Ethan Dicks

      The ICSP is how you can program a blank AVR microcontroller to install the “bootloader” (the program that comes on a ready-to-use Arduino that knows how to load your programs (sketches) over the USB/serial port. You can also update the bootloader on your working Arduino with a newer or different version, though that’s not often needed. Lastly, if your project is so large that you are filling program memory, you can dump the bootloader entirely and load your entire program over the ICSP port.

      You’ll need a programmer of some kind to use the ICSP port. The USBtinyISP is an inexpensive ($20) way to go these days, but there are older programmers you can make from scratch if y ou have a real parallel or real serial port on your machine. Once you have a programmer attached to your ISCP port, ‘avrdude’ can get your new/replacement bootloader or your application directly onto the chip.

      Most Arduino users never touch the ICSP port, but if you start to build dedicated AVR-based projects, it’s quite handy.

  • Gordon Currie

    Whats exciting for me about the Arduino is it bring sback my introduction to electronics with Radio Shack kits. Jump ahead 40 years and my son and I are sharing ideas on things we can experiment with using the Arduino. My relationship with my son is only getting better and I credit the Arduino and MAKE: as the glue that makes it work. Its also such an economical way for people (youth especially) to get involved and jumpstart careers and life long interests. Way to go Arduino!

  • Zieak

    “Are Do We Know?” I am much more “Are Do We Not Know.”

    I constantly read about projects here and on other sites that would be fun to do, and I have a few ideas of my own but I know that I would need a book like this to walk me through it all. I’m computer savvy and pretty handy but the arduino just seems like it’s too far out of reach for me. Arduinot?

    Here’s one thing i would love to do. I want to control the curtains in my bedroom. I want them to open up in the morning with my alarm clock. I want them to close at night before bed. But I also want them to close depending on the weather. Open and let the sun in during a winter day that is sunny but shuttered against the cold otherwise. Perhaps on a summer day open until the room reaches a certain temperature and then closed to block the sun if it gets too warm.

    I think an arduino can do all this pretty easily right?

  • aarastas

    Just started building Arduino projects with my 6yo son. Looking for basic projects from salvaged components.

  • kioopi

    The IDE ist “teh suc” on Ubuntu 10.10. It’s sluggy to the point of nearly being unusable. What gives it the death-blow is that it constantly fails to connect to the usb-device, making uploading impossible.
    So i guess what I need is a proper Makefile.

    Where do i get a Makefile for 0022? Or, if i am to build one myself: is there some desciption to be found about what the IDE does when it compiles the sketches?

  • Steven Pankratz

    Is there a list of possible senors that can be attached. I would love to make a hobby aquaponics monitor/automation system out of one, but I am not sure that I can source a reasonably priced O2 sensor. I am sure that temp sensors should be no problem.

  • Crow

    I know nothing about electronics except that I want to learn how to make things. I had an idea for a cool toy, but no way to prototype it. I would love to find out more.

    • Matt Richardson

      It sounds like the Arduino is perfect for you.

  • Marc Macleod

    If I start with Arduino, am I limiting myself or will it help me understand the microcontroller principles I failed to grasp in Uni?

  • Paul Wittine

    I used to repair computers in the Navy in the 80s. Have not done a thing with electronics since. The Arduino looks like a great place to get started again!

    • Anonymous

      Arduino i a great open source platform for learning to work with microprocessors, general electronics, senors, and controlling motors + a milion other things. But the greatest of all the many Arduino values is the community that has formed around it. There are thousands of people who share their knowledge with each other.

  • Anonymous

    I see alot going on with the Arduino for a while now. I’ve been playing with the basic stamp controllers. So, what makes the Arduino better then the Basic Stamp series controllers??

    • Leif Burrow

      It uses an object oriented language.
      It is reasonably priced.
      It has analog I/O pins available (does the stamp, I’m not sure?)

  • Bob Brindisi

    Arduino?? What the hell is it??

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