After some pre-Christmas shipping delays, my Arduino kit has finally arrived. This is a development board with an Atmel microcontroller on it. It has 14 digital inputs/outputs and 6 analog inputs. It connects via USB to your computer, and the Arduino people have made some easy to use software for programming it.
As I’m new to this, I bought a base level workshop kit. This has a breadboard (plugboard?), wires, some different LEDs and sensors, and a lot of stuff I don’t yet know how to use. (MOSFET?! hmm. Even the Wikipedia article seemed complicated :( )
As this is the Open Source hardware Wired wrote about, you can buy it from many different suppliers. I bought mine from Smart Projects (www.smartprj.com). They seem to have moved into e-lioness.com. (direct link: Workshop Kit)
My emails were replied to by Gianluca, which I suspect is Gianluca Martino, one of the three Arduino designers. Cool.
Arduino has got loads of examples on their web page: http://arduino.cc/ . For now I’ve been playing with blinking and dimming the LEDs. Not very advanced, but fun as a start.
In my kit there are two tilt sensors. They’re marked with “Up”, and have four feet/connectors, but no part number. I emailed them about it, and they replied that this is a RBS 040100 Tilt Sensor. If you google it you’ll find the correct datasheet.