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Arduino Basics : various arduino boards

by shedboy71

The first step on the journey to start development and experimenting with an Arduino is to select a suitable board. There have been many different Arduino type boards, many are now obsolete and many are still in production. A lot of these are designed for specific purposes and applications

The purpose is to highlight the board that I think you should pick as a beginner and you can of course move on to more advanced boards at a later date.

Arduino Uno

This is the workhorse of the Arduino family of boards

It has compatibility with many shields and for basic usage, it has everything that you need to start with

Features of the Arduino UNO:

  • Microcontroller: ATmega328
  • Operating Voltage: 5V
  • Input Voltage (recommended): 7-12V
  • Input Voltage (limits): 6-20V
  • Digital I/O Pins: 14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
  • Analog Input Pins: 6
  • DC Current per I/O Pin: 40 mA
  • DC Current for 3.3V Pin: 50 mA
  • Flash Memory: 32 KB of which 0.5 KB used by bootloader
  • SRAM: 2 KB (ATmega328)
  • EEPROM: 1 KB (ATmega328)
  • Clock Speed: 16 MHz

You do not need to buy an official board and there are a large number of clones that may be simply the same design, sometimes the USB connector is changed, the USB->serial chip on the board changes and there are can also be other features such as additional headers.

These boards work perfectly well and I have not had any issues and you can even pick up a board for about $1

Store Link
Aliexpress AliExpress.com Product – modified version One set UNO R3 CH340G+MEGA328P Chip 16Mhz For Arduino UNO R3 Development board + USB CABLE
Amazon Amazon Link
Ebay Ebay link

Arduino Mega 2560

You can think of this as an Arduino Uno with more I/O pins and functionality, there are way more analog, digital, and PWM pins that you can use.

ThereĀ  is also better performance due to the increased memory that is available

Features of the Arduino Mega 2560:

  • Operating voltage: 5V
  • Input voltage (recommended): 7-12V
  • Input voltage (limits): 6-20V
  • Digital I/O pins: 54 (of which 14 provide PWM output)
  • Analog input pins: 16
  • DC current per I/O pin: 40mA
  • DC current for 3.3V pin: 50mA
  • Flash Memory: 256 KB, 8KB used by bootloader
  • SRAM: 8 KB
  • EEPROM: 4 KB
  • Clock Speed: 16 MHz

One advantage is that most Arduino shields are compatible with the Arduino Mega

Store Link
Aliexpress AliExpress.com link
Amazon Amazon Link
Ebay Ebay link

Arduino Nano

The best way to describe this board is that it is a smaller physical sized Arduino Uno with similar functionality. You do get a couple of extra analog pins.

The disadvantage is that without an adaptor shield, none of the Arduino Uno shields will fit but if you need to shrink your projects down in the future then this board is ideal

Features of the Arduino Nano:

  • Atmel ATmega328 MCU
  • Operating Voltage (logic level) 5 V
  • Input Voltage (recommended) 7-12 V
  • 14 Digital I/O Pins (of which 6 provide PWM output)
  • 8 Analog Input Pins
  • DC Current per I/O Pin 40 mA
  • 32Kb Flash Memory (of which 2KB used by bootloader)
  • 2 KB SRAM
  • 16MHz Clock Speed
  • Dimensions 0.7 inch x 1.7 inch (18mm x 43mm)

Its another low-cost board andĀ  there are many clones, although they tend to be very similar in functionality.

You can again one of these for around $1 depending on the source. Here are some options.

Store Link
Aliexpress AliExpress.com link
Amazon Amazon link
Ebay Ebay link


There you go, I recommend an Arduino Uno or Arduino Mega 2560, I will be recommending starter kits which include an Arduino with various useful components in another article

The Arduino Uno is the cheapest option

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