How-to Tuesday: Arduino 101 blink an LED

Arduino Technology

This week is the first part of a series about getting started with the Arduino. A few weeks ago I posted a quick how-to on using a force sensor with an Arduino and I received a lot of positive feedback. This led (no pun intended) me to the idea of a creating a series of how-to’s about our favorite little micro-controller, the Arduino. These are really informal how-to’s, they are meant to show you just how fast and easy it is to work with the Arduino.

This week is all about your first project, blinking an LED. In the weeks to follow I will cover everything from simple buttons, to working with motors, circuit bending, GPS units, and more. It will be fun, I promise!

Check out what people are doing with the Arduino on the MAKE website.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Arduino, including the IDE and USB drivers, can be found here.

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32 thoughts on “How-to Tuesday: Arduino 101 blink an LED

  1. Pauly says:

    Nice idea to post how to’s for Arduino.

    Check out the Arduino Fortune Teller project I just finished.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:


      …and thanks for the link. I am going to post about this tomorrow on the blog. Great stuff!!

  2. zach says:

    I am currently in Afghanistan and my research on the Arduino has taken up every minute of free time i have. I have some good ideas for projects please keep the How To’s coming!

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      I certainly will. Thanks! Good luck with your Arduino. When you make something, send me a link, I would love to check it out. Thanks!

  3. James says:

    Want to Witness some of the mind-boggling inventions from Fall 2008 maker faire, and hear from some of the inventors?

    Check out this video:

  4. Lily says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’m super new to the Arduino and just got my first one for Christmas. I see you’ll be going into shields in the next few tutorials… I don’t have any of those yet! Don’t leave us noobs in the dust too fast, please!

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      I’m glad you liked it. I am going to take it slow….if you have any questions just leave them in the comments, I will try to address them all. No one will be lest in the dust!

  5. NYCCNC says:

    These are great as a new Arduino user! I’m looking forward to the video on motors.

    FYI if anyone else out there is looking for similar great tutorials/info, has some great basic EE tutorials.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:


      Thanks, there has been a lot of positive feedback, and the tutorials will keep coming! A motor tutorial is in the works. I’ll cover servo’s, continuous rotation servo’s, dc motors and steppers.

      …and by your user name NYCNC? Do you CNC? I have a few machines in my shop….but that’s a whole other series of how-to’s!

  6. Anonymous says:

    great video!

    I’m extremely interested in the motor tutorial.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      Thanks! I will try and move the motor tutorial up the list.

  7. Alfredo says:

    Just loved it. I read a lot about arduino, and I was interested, but never saw a hand-on on it, and I am really delighted. I’ll try to get one to myself pretty soon…

  8. Dave Melcher says:

    I’m confused about something. Pin 13 does have a resistor, but I think an external component (like an led that you plug in) would bypass it. I’m looking at the schematic:

    It looks to me like the resistor isn’t in the circuit with your led. Only the on-board led. Of course, the I/O pin can only push 40mA, so the led is probably safe. (

    Or am I reading that wrong?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:


      Pin 13 has a built in 1k resistor. I have to look at the schematic a bit closer, but you can find documentation here:

  9. Josh says:


    I read about Arduino on reddit, and as a software dev I’m really excited about it as it looks like a great start for me. I found your video on youtube, and really liked it and watched it in HD.

    I’m just wondering, what’s the main differences besides ram/storage between the two boards? Are there more inputs and will I have to make slight changes between how you do it in your tutorials and how I do it with mine?


  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi . I really liked you project
    I am looking for a motion detector that will play mp3 file, when object is detected.
    please email to

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