Arduino Headed for One Point Oh

In a recent blog post, [Massimo] stated that there will be some stabilizing changes coming for the Arduino platform. The API, IDE, and even the website are targets for the Arduino team’s New Year’s resolutions to bring Arduino to 1.0. This platform is often seen at the core of projects we cover and many that we do not or should not cover. It has come to wide use because it has a better price point to other starter development boards, easy to use with a large user base for support, extensive hardware options with much of the coding already in libraries, and a cross-platform, open source tool-chain that can run just about anywhere. Many people that hate the Arduino, hate it because it is so easy to use. Anyone can get an LED to blink with an Arduino even though there are far more (and far less) elegant solutions. Love it or hate it, Arduino has made a significant impact and the coming changes should help keep it be around for quite some time. Let us look back, how has Arduino affected you?

88 thoughts on “Arduino Headed for One Point Oh

  1. “Most people hate the Arduino because it is so easy to use.”
    I, and most people will disagree.

    Most people love the arduino becuase it is so easy to use!

    It is a great tool and will bring microcontrollers to the masses and get more people interested and involved.

    Thanks for the link to the blog page though, I had not seen that one…

    Mowcius

  2. As a computer engineer, I love the arduino too. I’ve done a number of project with atmega ucs before, and development devolves into tedium extremely quickly without quality libraries.

    Without the arduino, simple things like a serial connection take hours of fiddling with examples to get working.

    I’ll be a happy man if I never need to tweak bits in registers again!

  3. I’ve been trying to get the started kit for the past few months, but it’s on back order. Guess everybody want’s a piece of that bad boy.

  4. My apologies, I was still tired from NYE when I wrote this up. I have corrected it to: “Many people that hate the Arduino, hate it because it is so easy to use.” Thank you Mowcius.

  5. I think that “most people hate the Arduino” because it is used very often in a “finished” version of a project. Part of the fun of hacking is creating custom PCBs after getting past the prototyping step.
    I’m probably going to get an Arduino myself because it is nice for prototyping. Just stick some jumper wires in the female headers, hook them up to your breadboard and you’re done. The female headers are the only thing that really annoy me as well though. I would have prefered a version where you have each port of the µC as a group of 8 (or 10 with GND and VCC) female headers.

  6. I don’t think people hate the arduino because it is so easy, but because a lot of easy stuff is shown here as it would have taken a lot of effort to do it, simple experiments or only bits of “real” projects

  7. “Most people hate the Arduino because it is so easy to use.”

    I’ve never seen any poster say “Damn that Arduino! It’s too easy to use!” The Parallax Basic Stamp line has been around a lot longer and is at least as easy to program. Most of the complaints I’ve seen have concerned the shameless pimping of that particular product line on hackaday.com. The chip snobbery argument is a straw man.

  8. Arduino is my entry into the world of micro controllers. It’s cheap and easy to work with. If it wasn’t for hackaday I would still think I could never get involved with this kinda stuff because it was too complex.

    All the haters should do some ‘real’ hacks if they don’t like the arduino stuff – instead of complaining.

  9. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of arduinos, but I have a sincere, really not trying to be a troll question. If you buy a $20 board to make something, do you buy another one when you want to make something else? Or do people program their own chips once the design is working? Or something else?

  10. @RandomGuy: I think that people who want persistent hacks migrate over to the least-expensive solution. In other words: develop on the Arduino and then solder together just the components you are using.

    But I suspect that are a lot of folks who hack like they play LEGO; You do one project, love it for a while, then cannibalize it for your next build.

  11. “But I suspect that are a lot of folks who hack like they play LEGO; You do one project, love it for a while, then cannibalize it for your next build.”

    I think this is very accurate. At least from my own experience as a beginner. Many of the projects are just testing and experimenting; I don’t want to solder all blinking LED projects and sine wave sound generators.

    One can just store the sketches in Fritzing or similar to keep a database of projects. In the future I may have something _worth_ building separately and will order specific parts for it. But for learning and experiments you really only need one Arduino and it is cheap in fun.

  12. I always wanted to do something using microcontrollers, and i’m going to get an arduino becouse it’s really easy to start with..

  13. @randomguy I have 3 arduinos and use them while prototyping a project. For durability, I try to make a pcb at the end and use an Atmega chip with the arduino bootloader so the code is compatible. Some projects aren’t made permanent and it’s a little sad to dismantle the arduino when I’m done. For many friends, they don’t have the skills to design their own circuits so the arduino allows them to communicate an idea without hiring engineering help. (sorry for not being that cohesive. Also still NYE woozy)

  14. “Most people hate the Arduino because it is so easy to use.”
    no i hate it because i dont have 1
    if sparkfun gives me 1 free, then maybe i wont hate them
    but for now, i cant even program a pic!
    hey, do i want the arduino starter kit? it seems like a bunch of junk in comparison to the standard usb arduino(with no accessories) for $59
    i can get all the parts that come with it for far less than the $20 they want with alot bigger breadboard
    that way i can get more luxeon vs :D

  15. I”ve made some comments about the Arduino, and while I don’t hate the thing, I hate that Hack-a-day has beome a showcase for projects that are beneath the standard of quality this site used to represent. It’s like you post the garbage JUST because it uses an Adruino, and that’s just lame.

    Fact is, Arduino is great for making things quick and easy, but truth be told most of the people using them would be better off learning how to do it the old fashioned way first. People have gotten WAAAAAAY to lazy, leading to and endless array of ‘engineers’ who actually know very little about the technology they are using/pushing/securing.

    1. I strongly disagree. after using the arduino for a while, a beginner can move on to bigger and better things, like making your own microcontroller board to work with! the reason then arduino is so popular is because noobs like me can get started! it is a starter tool, and projects made with it are legit, just not nearly as impressive as the ones made from scratch. without the arduino, many people just wouldn’t have the drive to get started. and that would be a shame.

  16. I’m using a seeduino mega as a controller for a university UAV project. I’ve done custom PCB design work before and programmed PICs in assembly, and I just don’t want to deal with that for a complex project with short deadlines.

    I use the Arduino because it is easy, standardized, and, since I got mine on sale, relatively cheap. If the testing rig catches fire I want to be able to slap my spare microcontroller in place without wondering if things will compile or if I soldered things right.
    Basically I am using it for plug-and-play.

    If I was developing for a permanent project, not something that would be flown maybe a dozen times, then I would consider custom stuff, but for this the Arduino is the easiest solution.

  17. I recently got my first Arduino.
    Easy or not, its a great platform and is a wonderful starting place for anyone building something.

  18. @Zymastorik

    “ould be better off learning how to do it the old fashioned way first”

    People who really are interested in doing it the correct way will research and learn it one way or another. Those who just want to play with stuff without getting involved simply drive the prices for the product down, as they become mass-produced.

    Elitist mindsets only drive our hobby down, not forward.

  19. Congrats, you’re headed to where normal projects start.

    “I, and most people will disagree.”

    I bet you would, but if you bother to read the HAD comments once in a while, you’ll notice there’s a pretty big anti-arduino userbase out there. My take on this (at least why I hate the damn things) is because it takes most if not all of the challenge out of truly hacking together a microcontroller project. You might as well write a Windows program on a netbook and call it a hardware hack.

  20. YOU SUCK MACGYVER! (I REMOVE YOUR ELITENESS!)
    i just totally made a program that puts up a big box on the screen that greets the world
    it runs on a eeepc but sofar i havnt gotten it to run on anything like a hp or dell netbook

    but ya, arduinos take away posts from better HAD content that dont use them, but to counter that, maybe there ARNT any better posts, people, start digging that intraweb!

    they personally annoy me as i said because i dont have 1
    so many projects that use them, yet how many of us actually have 1?

    hey hackaday, you can embed videos in posts, give us a integrated poll in a post
    “Do you have an arduino?”
    “more than 1″
    “yes”
    “no”
    “No but plan to get 1 soon”
    “NO! I DONT WANT ONE!”
    “I WILL KILL ANYONE WHO HAS ONE, DO YOU HAVE ONE???”

  21. although i started with arduino now I usually just use attiny or atmega directly on breadboard and program with c. anyone knows about any cheap boards to learn how to program FPGA’s?

  22. I Don’t Hate Duino’s, I think there great for potty training and they are probably good in the general field of things, personally i prefer the MC Pic range and program ASM, I use Proton+ on occation too, I dont hate duino’s, it’s just people need to know there is a whole world out there

  23. I’m so sick of the snobbery about the Arduino– it’s cheap, easy to use, and while it might be ‘overkill’ for some projects, so what? If you’re making 1000 units, the price differential is significant, but for 1 unit, it’s not.

    Although, really, I don’t see that snobbery anywhere else but this site.

  24. As a biology student, I don’t have much time for coding. I started with sparkfun’s atmega introduction series and starter kit to learn the basics of uc’s over a break, then bought myself an ardunio. With the ardunio codebase, I can turn a month project of C and asm into a weekend in Processing. Anything worthwhile I save and rewrite for bare atmega when I find time away from studies.

  25. I like to use the Arduino as a prototyping platform. For use in non time critical (real time) applications it is sufficient and easygoing, you can get an idea of the final thing in a day or two. As a further advantage, you can put it in a neat box and finish the project.
    I also believe that it “opened the door” to a lot of people of other “origins” other than electronics/computing, this can only be good.
    Let us be a bit “Darwinian” here, mixing with other species will only increase our (hackers) chances of survival :-).

  26. Coming out from my tech school I tried to recreate from scratch a Motorola 68hc11 (like the one I’ve been using). I got to say I shit myself with this project. I did a crappy job with the pcb and wasn’t able to boot anything.
    Afterward I kind of moved my way to more of a softy-soft 3D software stuff and never came back to µcontroler programming.

    By following the Hackaday blog daily, I see all the great projects it can do and also it’s a cheap, buid and tested board to easily put myself back into it. I’m looking foward to Buy one in the following days. I don’t exclude the other board, but for a come back I prefer something cheap and fail-safe.

    Anti-duino’s, I promise I’ll come back from the dark side one day. :)
    I’m asking you all : are there any cheap (non-duino of course) and that I can program from Ubuntu via USB?

  27. A friend of mine recommended atmel and timex starter boards because he is retired and has worked with semiconductors and microcontrollers. I wish you would consider there are other products with plenty of I/O and other advantages.

  28. “… I hate that Hack-a-day has beome a showcase for projects that are beneath the standard of quality this site used to represent. It’s like you post the garbage JUST because it uses an Adruino, and that’s just lame.”

    Or perhaps, just maybe, HAD simply posts all the interesting projects that come across its virtual desk and more and more of those lately just happen to involve the Arduino.

    Me, I’m thankful for the Arduino. For years, I’ve had great ideas for electronics projects, but could never realize them because wiring and programming microcontrollers was too complicated for me to jump into. References were too obscure and spoke only to those who already knew what they were doing, while the experts were too elitist to bother explaining the basics.

    With the Arduino, I was able to jump in and accomplish some projects right off the bat. From there, I was able to make sense of things and very quickly learned how to wire my own PIC, how different electronic components work together, how to create proper schematics in Eagle and how to etch my own boards. It would have taken me years of frustration to learn all this if I had been forced to take what the elitists would consider the “proper” route.

  29. Arduino is a “cool” thing to be into, so of course malcontents on the internet will sperg out about it when people are having fun and doing fun things that don’t hurt anybody.

    “it takes most if not all of the challenge out of truly hacking together a microcontroller project.” WHO THE FUCK CARES? the only thing lamer than bitching about other peoples’ projects, is bitching about other peoples’ projects because “they took the easy way out.”

    Arduino is a non-threatening environment for non-engineers to get into electronics, and someone learning something because they want to is the the true essence of hacking. maybe they’ll take this passion and go on to do great things, and maybe they’ll make twitter-enabled squirrel dildos for the rest of their life. either way, they learned something about how the world around them works.

    more people need to understand electronics, and Arduino provides an amazing jumping off point for anybody.

  30. “Most people hate the Arduino because it is so easy to use.”

    The opposite is true. If people would hate it so much, you would not see it everywhere. I think the problem is that we see too many posts about uninspiring Arduino projects. I mean, blinking lights not much to get excited about.

  31. Why is there suckitude mere weeks after the major HaD blowout and promises of more and better content? DO NOT WANT! I can already tell 2010 is going to suck really bad.

  32. As many have already said, it’s not that HAD readers hate the Arduino specifically. We hate some of the really basic projects that are posted that inevitably use an Arduino for something really simple (e.g. the “binary kill counter for TF2″ – wtf?).

  33. My story closely resembles Wes’s. For me it’s always been a matter of return on effort. Arduino’s been the only package where my time spent reading source material and memorizing syntax has paid off. Packages like PIC and Basic Stamp just never made themselves easy enough to use to get my lasting attention. I have no desire to be an electrical engineer. If I did I would have gone to school for electrical engineering. I’d rather not have to go to school for electrical engineering to make a light blink, automate and monitor my household electronics, or any other of the hundred fun but trivial things I’m going to do now that I’m Arduino compatible.

  34. @axodus: you can’t without something like the AVRJTAGICE. However, you might be able to simulate your project by using the simulator in AVRStudio.

    The (original) Arduino’s taught me to never layout a board that has headers off 0.1″ centers.

    Great ecosystem.

  35. Well as to the original question “How has Arduino affected you?”…

    I got a basic stamp a few years back. It was easy enough and I cut my teeth in a beginner way. Last year I wanted to get back into it, but discovered that they went up so much in price that it didn’t make sense at all anymore, so quest for alternatives.
    Arduino popped up to the top of the list in a hurry.

    I was an absolute newbie. Arduino is perfect for guys like me. Cheap, easy, expandable and (THE BIG DEAL) very popular. So popular that there are just tons of examples and knowledge pool to pull from. For learning this stuff, there just hasn’t been anything comparable before.

    Fairly quickly I evolved upward and I now like to use AVR Studio with whatever chip suits the job and just use a breadboard. I still fall back onto the Arduino now & then though, especially if I’m just modifying an existing project. I DO lean toward liking AVR for my own reasons.

    Guys who know their chit from shinola can pick apart chips and argue one over the other, but usually they get way over my head in a hurry. My opinion: I could care less. For me Arduino was an easy way to get the job done, and I didn’t have to spend 2 years learning every little peripheral factoid in general electronics to pull off a project. I start with Arduino (or maybe some other AVR chip & breadboard) and learn the needed factoids as I go along to so I can get something working.

    Here’s the deal:
    Arduino has pulled a mass of people into the field who would have otherwise lost interest. This mass of people helps each other to learn micros and what they can do with them.
    It’s too easy? Great! Now I have time to learn about electronics AND build things that work, all at the same time. I’ve learned a ton over the past year or two. No way I would have gone so far if I had to make my own transistors from mining pebbles I find in the yard first. I’m working my way up to “real” hacker. In the meantime, I don’t understand why anyone feels the need to beat us newbies down before we reach that point, if I ever do. (well I DO understand why, but getting ahead only by tearing others down isn’t exactly something I subscribe to).

    It seems simple to me. Arduino is very popular, so HAD likely runs across tons of folks putting ideas to use with them as the core. It’s not like the seek out Arduino projects just to annoy the audience. I can see how veterans can get tired of seeing what they perceive as “the same old thing” re-hashed. I know there is a lot of stuff I thought I’d like forever when I was young, only to find that I’m sick of most of it now in middle age. I suspect that if there was no Arduino, the veteran hackers would still find the published subject matter to be a little more familiar than they would like. It’s just the way of things. I hope there is still enough of non-Arduino stuff here for them to enjoy.
    As for me, I really enjoy about 80% of it. That’s pretty dang good.

  36. The arduino is the breadboard of microcontrollers.

    I took a job a few months ago requiring me to write software for AVRs, so it was natural for me to do things on similar hardware – but I think even if we used PIC or other controllers, I would have switched to AVR/Arduino.

    All the strange stuff is done – it talks to a computer and can reflash without headaches, the crystal and other difficult parts are all there, and you have all the hardware – A/D, pwms, input captures all there.

    The thing about the environment is that you can use as much or as little as you want. There is too much hardware that you read the datasheet twice, then implement, and it doesn’t quite work (most recently an I2C display with a weak pulldown capability, and the Sparkfun HMC breakout that needs you to add a capacitor, and in the case of mine, reflow). I can verify everything and get it working using a sketch in the environment, then move to a makefile using the libraries, and descend to pure embedded.

    The wonderful if you do say so yourself captive C-in-IDE that only works in Windows (I have Mac and Linux and only boot windows to update things every few months) means I will NOT use the product.

    I stopped doing hardware for a while (the 68HC11 was the last thing I used because I could find similar boards to the Arduino – inexpensive, bootloadable, but they disappeared). I got a Make magazine device, but never really used it – it did have GCC, but the ICP pin wasn’t brought out to a connector.

    The arduino doesn’t have such limitations (With one annoyance with the Mega that some ICP pins aren’t connected, so my pulserial has only 2 channels). Like the PC, it is open enough so you can make of it whatever you want. It is inexpensive, so I can get 5 boards for $100 and blow one up without declaring bankruptcy. And they have all the flavors – lilypad, mega, pro…

    I now have an AVR Dragon (mainy for HVSP/dW for ATtinys), but the arduino is just so easy to use.

  37. I’ve never used Arduino but I have looked into it. I think it is great that people are getting involved in electronics who may not have without something that is easy. The problem is that it is an oxymoron to assign preppy names like ‘shields’ instead of daughterboards and force literate people to look up what a ‘shield’ is. The reason it is an oxymoron to assign preppy names (although it is prepatory) is because if it was better than it wouldn’t be regarded as beginner.

    Is it possible to begin on a platform that will offer you more and allow you to grow? Is it possible that spending money on a beginner kit with limited capabilities means that you could have got more value if you bought something that has been around for a while and is more middle of the road?

    I’m sure that a lot of microcontrollers do the same thing and I don’t have anything bad to say about any of the microcontrollers. If it works for you then great. I think arduino sites are great sources of cheap products and I applaud for so many people who get their start there.

  38. I learned to spell Rdeio… Ardue… Hardyou…

    @Zymastorik

    Makes a good point. My own problem is with all these PIC’s applied to really trivial functions (e.g. using an Arduino where a 555 would be the better choice).

    There is an obvious imbalance between fancy software driving braindead hardware. Trying to do “electronics” entirely in software is like trying to swim without getting wet. Part of the reason for hacking is to create things you can’t buy, and that takes creation skills in hard as well as software.

    @fastjunk

    “Elitist mindsets only drive our hobby down, not forward.”

    See, what you dismiss as “elitist” I call “educated”. When the blind lead the blind it’s no matter when only smoke is envolved, but it becomes a bit pointed when the blind publish things like a mains control “shield” which is an example of bad practice likely to thin the ranks of the blind following.

    The newby infatuate only sees the world through the keyhole of their favorite. With more experience the problem is first examined to see what the best approach might be. With maturity you stop looking for things to do with your favorite, and start considering the best *overall* way to control the washing machine, Jumbo flight controls, or whatever.

    Sure experience often looks like eliteism or snobbery to the newby, but who is the real snob, someone who sees their favorite as all things to all men, or someone who sees it as just one of a very rich selection of possibilities?

  39. @Roly

    I think you have a too linear view of learning, if you try to solve difficult problems you will learn and gain experience, too (maybe a real hard way). I remember when I learned guitar playing I did want to play songs not train harmonic diatonic chromatic etc. scales.
    I am sure that the character of gaining knowledge has changed and will change even more. I think learning and so education will happen in more dimensions and the linear form of learning from basic to expertknowledge will change. I am often amazed to see how young people try to manage tasks in computer programming. They often have never heard from an ALU OSI layer etc. but solve problems in a really good way. When I talk with them a few years ago , and they are still in programming they know all these things and more. I am not shure but I think arduino and similar will empower people through giving them a cheap and good useable playground.

  40. @Roly… thanks, I was about to post exactly that. It’s not elitist to expect people to become educated and learn about the things they are doing. There’s too many ‘push-button’ engineers in the world today that really have no concept of what’s going on, and drop-in solutions like this can be the culprit.

    While I thinks it’s awesome that everyone can dive into projects easily by using this controller, it’s not out of line to suggest that they learn how it works, and understand the concepts they’re implementing to accomplish a task.

    Any jack-ass can follow a howto on the internet and/or apply tidbits to their own projects, but the question is… did you learn anything? Did you make sure that during the process, you actually gained some insight into what’s happening, so you can break out of the ‘lazy-mans’ way of doing it and apply those things you learned to something new.

    Cheers.

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