Monday, 31 March 2014

Arduino Uno Clone – Freetronics 11

I have gone out and bought myself a Freetronics 11 kit from Jaycar (for the princely sum of just shy of $90AUD). I realise that this is a fairly high price for the Arduino with  a couple of peripherals, but I wanted to get something from a bricks and mortar store where I could get some support if needed. I’ve also just bought another clone from eBay for $10 with no peripheral bits and pieces … so I figure that I’m still doing OK.

Picture 26

The offering from Jaycar comes with some digital and analog input devices, some LED, diodes, resistors and jumper wires (and a little solderless breadboard) all of which I could have bought individually for much less … but there you go.

The first adventure was getting the device to be recognised on my 64 bit WIndows Home Premium machine. That was a little tedious, but when I downloaded the updated USB driver from Freetronics, I was up and running.

As the chip comes pre-loaded with the blink sketch, I made some small modifications, compiled and uploaded to the UNO and, presto … it worked.

Now, I’m reasonably familiar with programming, although I don’t have much experience with C++, but the structures and operators are all fairly consistent with what I know. I’m going to jump right in and do all of the tutorial builds to give me a refresher and some added experience with the UNO.

By the way, from here on, I’m going to refer to the development board as “the UNO” for simplicity sake. I’m not going to make any distinction between the “eleven”, the clone from top_electronics_au or any later clone purchases. The platform is open source … so I’m going to use the generic name.

There are a host of sites that offer, more or less, the same tutorials. When I post my results and comments about any of the tutorial projects, I’ll try to give a link to the tutorial where it is relevant.

As I mentioned in the previous article about my thinking and research into the UNO, there seem to be two schools of though about the application of the development board. On the one hand, there is the “build it on the development board and deploy it on the development board” camp and the “develop on the development board and deploy it on your own circuit” (I favour the latter camp, personally, but I don’t think that there is much value in arguing either side … so I wont. Do what you want! Me, I like the idea of building a circuit that is purpose made without any redundancy … but that also means that what I build won’t necessarily be extensible.

On with the show!

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