Arduino LESSON 1: Simple Introduction to the Arduino

I think most people would be amazed at how easy it is to program a microcontroller these days. In this video, I show you step-by-step how to write your first microcontroller program.  It is for the Arduiono microcontroller. I chose the arduino because you can buy one for around $20,  so you can get started for next to nothing.

RESOURCES: On all these lessons I will include resources on where you can purchase the items mentioned in the lecture.

Arduino Microcontroller: You can get a good deal on the arduino on Amazon. Arduinos are open source and many are cheap chinese knockoffs, so you want to make sure you get an “official” version, which you can at the link above.

Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit: While the bare arduino will get you started, I really suggest getting the Sparkfun Inventor Kit. The projects I will feature in this tutorial set will use the components in this kit, and it is probably cheaper to go ahead and get the kit than to buy the individual components as you go along. The kit is under $100 on Amazon.

89 thoughts on “Arduino LESSON 1: Simple Introduction to the Arduino”

    1. I have had bad luck with the chinese knock offs. They are not cheap if they dont work, or burn out quickly. So, I pay more and get the official versions and have never had trouble. Time is money and spending time trying to debug when you have a part going out is not good.

      1. Your videos are awesome! At the right pace for students to grasp instructions… Just ignore those hate emails… They are from people jealous of your ability to teach and understand this stuff!
        You have a very rare and special talent to teach! Many people know stuff but can’t teah them to people. Use it to make many more of such awesome tutorials!
        IN FULL SUPPORT!
        Regards,

        1. I agree, the only thing I can teach is morse code and that is because I know it.
          I would like to be able to get the uno for $20 but it seems it will be abt $60 ..canadian that is..
          I studied electronics when I was a teen and these tutorials are very understandable to me. Thank you very much

      2. Amen and AMEN!

        It is one thing to be “frugal”. It is another to be “cheap”.

        I have a tight budget on everything; but I will not shop “cheap”. It has really paid off.

        So thanks admin

  1. Great basic information for people like me who are just getting started. I like the format. Now I just need a little more time to absorb all the information!! Thanks for a well-designed lesson!

  2. Thanks for your enjoyable teaching! Just found a problem with my new Arduino Uno, Since I connect it to my laptop the power LED (Green) is on but also Orange LED keep blinking without any reason. After installation of driver I uploaded the blinking program with one second ON and five seconds OFF but it didn’t work still keeps blinking 🙁

  3. good morning.
    in an internet full of very bad information, this is what you would call the light at the end of the tunnel.
    i haven’t smiled in years. i know i understand this.
    i know i can do it.
    thank you so very much.
    i will start my class and teach it to anyone willing to listen.
    i’ll keep you posted.
    nick

    1. “in an internet full of very bad information, this is what you would call the light at the end of the tunnel.”

      Agreed Nick, I have been through the Raspberry Pi and Python tutorials and while I come from a technical background with many years in the field the tutorials are paced at the right speed for student absorption (I teach now) and Mr. Paul’s demeanor is calming and reassuring. Thanks for the work you put into your videos Paul.

      1. Thanks for the kind words. I get a lot of ugly emails that my videos are too long, and that I cough to much (can’t help it, is is seasonal allergies, juniper specifically, and medicine does not help). So, the words of encouragement are appreciated.
        PJM

        1. Hi..
          Your videos are really awesome, clean and professional. Your videos are long and somehow I saw that to be a good thing. Other videos on youtube are small but dull and boring in a much mechanical way. I see you explaining in a more humane way.

          Plus I really liked the way you instructed the best practices for coding(as I am from coding background), not many people to that.

          Great Job Sir

  4. Thank you very much for the lucid explanation into the Arduino world. My love for these projects has been shot up exponentially.
    You are a great teacher.

  5. Dear Mr.

    Why i have installed arduino sofware in win 7 home many times, many versions (from oldest to newest) but win informed that “lauch 4j error”? Arduino software didn’t work!!!? onlu its symbol appeared then disappeared

    Please advise me how can i do it.

    Many thanks!

    Nam Tran Van

  6. Hello Paul
    Thank you for all of your lessons. They are the best by far.
    Have you any plans to do any work with the Arduino YUN?

    Kind regards
    Martin

  7. Paul question:
    What is required to make code survive power loss or reset on the Arduino? And perhaps you have a tutorial on how to load indestructible code.
    Thanks,
    AG

  8. Dear mr McWhorter,
    there is a great webpage for learning Arduino without having one in hands and it is : https://123d.circuits.io/
    I’m on lesson 13 and it’s still a good to go with available components.
    By the way, I’m really enjoying Your teaching and believe will continue to the last one with Arduino + Python, and then with Raspberry Pi.

    Have a Merry Christmas!
    Vlatko

  9. Love the site and it just looks perfect for my learning objectives.

    One very stupid question, before taking the plunge and buying a Sparkfun kit…

    Can I use my Mac to implement the code or do I need to have a PC?

  10. Thank you so much for your lessons!

    I’ve been staring at the Arduino Uno I purchased for two weeks thinking I wasted $20 on something I would not be able to figure out.

    After watching your first lesson I made it do something! Coming from me, that is a real compliment to your teaching skills 😉

  11. i love watching your videos. i have watched them so many times it feels like i know you personally. keep up the excellent work.

  12. just started with the tutorials, pin 13 on my Arduino Uno is blinking without any instruction, is my Arduino Uno is defective??

    1. I’m having the same problem with the LED connected to pin 13. The problem occurred as soon as the USB cable was connected. I tried a simple program, but it was to no avail. My unit is an EEGOO UNO R3. Is there other software that could be downloaded?
      RFP

      1. I dont think it is a problem. Pin 13 blinks on boot. If it bothers you, use a different pin. Once you download a program, pin 13 should do what you tell it to.

  13. Paul thank you for the great lessons. I have started to use the Arduino for morse code lessons and have figured out the settings
    to set to 15 wpm. This is a great learning tool for a 61 year old.
    Will be working on all of your lessons now.

  14. hello sir i have first i will like to thanks to you for this wonderful tutorials.I want other sensor interfacing tutorials also with arduino i waiting from a long time plz upload it sir.

      1. Hello sir,I’m a great fan of yours.I have a question.Which one is easier for learn at first?raspberry or Arduino?Moreover,as I know nothing at all about raspberry,there is a question comes into my mind which may sound extremely foolish but I’ll ask it anyway…is raspberry pi only compatible with Linux?

  15. When I was a boy “Watch Mr. Wizard” gave me challenges, and when Uncle Sam fixed our family TV he would let me watch him as the “valves” heated up. These videos not only remind me but motivate me and I will invite the Robotics Club to have a look. Thank you, sir.

  16. professor i have many components like resistor ,leds ,temp. sensor and arduinno i want to know all components that i need because i live in egypt and if i buy through amazon will take month and more so i want to know the components to buy it,thank you

  17. I really have fallen in love with your lessons and i want to say a very big thank you. May you find fulfillment in all that you do. God bless you

  18. Hi Paul,

    I’ve just started looking into micro controllers (Arduino’s) and am pretty much a white board when it comes to electronics and programming…
    The question would be with regards to I/O pins(or the board itself) and if in any way a voltage which varies is presented to the board as an input could then output with an increased fix amount , let’s say INPUT = OUTPUT + X% ?

    Cheers,
    George M.

  19. Thank you for your first video. I will continue watching your videos to get a better understanding in writing code; I have something in mind that I like to invent and I think that you are a very patient and good teacher thanks again;

    Freddie )

  20. I’ve been trying to get my head around the “how’s and why’s” of code and script for 2 years now. I’ve picked up some basics, but still feel lost when it does not work and lucky when it does. Your series changes all that. It makes sense now. Your work is a real gift. My sincere thanks.

  21. I am 82 years old and am trying to learn arduino. I am hard of hearing also. I have watched most of the torturials on u tube–most I can not understand for one reason or another. I am now watching your turturals. THEY ARE WONDERFUL!! I can hear and understand them. Thank you so much for your good work –Howard.

  22. excellent videos
    instructional material is indicated along with the videos
    is this material available? and if so how is it obtainable?
    thank you,
    Ed B

  23. I emailed you earlier expressing how great your tutorials are.

    I am working hard learning arduino. I spend most of my time trying to figure out what the error codes mean. It occured to me there should be a list of what these error messages mean. There would not be more than 100 –I would think.
    Is this possible, or is such a list available?
    Howard –E Mail: lhowlong30@gmail.com. ThankYou

    1. Because I suffer from Asthma. If you can talk a half hour without coughing, consider yourself blesses, as some can not. Medicine does not help. When I talk for extended periods my throat begins to constrict, making it difficult to talk. You are probably better off following a teacher who does not have this medical issue.

  24. thank you very much for the lessons..they are very useful for understand how to make program ,understand the part of arduino,, and the important thing which is c language ..thank so much

    1. thank you very much for the lessons..they are very useful for understand how to make program ,understand the part of arduino,, and the important thing which is c language ..thank my name is basheer ,msc in laser and electro optics
      my email ,ttbg3.2030@gmail.com.

  25. My Ports option in Tools menu is greyed even after I connect Arduino.

    Hello Sir, I watched almost all of your videos, and I tried to watch and learn everything before I mess up with my Arduino. I use windows 8. Arduino IDE shows greyed ‘Port’ on Tools menu after connecting Arduino. Checking in device manager, there’s no Ports(COM & LPT) dropdown listed. I checked ‘Other Devices’ in hidden, There are some unknown devices. USB controller dropdown list is no help. Searching online, I uninstalled Arduino and then opted for Advanced Startup method to disable USB signatures. Then Restart. Reinstalled Arduino to get back those drivers (I’m not sure which ones, I doubt how to use USBASP). Checked in Device Manager, still no Improvement, and Port is still greyed. Any help? How should I start my LED blinking?

    1. Sounds like either the drivers are not installed, or you have a faulty cable, or faulty USB port. When you plug the arduino in, you should hear a audible ding indicating your computer USB sees a new device plugged in, and then it should find and install the driver if it is not installed already. You might try installation from scratch on a different computer.

  26. can you please give me a complete list of instruments required for learning of your arduino programme ?? // like how many diodes ,resistors, sensors& their names also..
    ///please ???

  27. Sir,
    I really love your teaching very much .You are doing a great
    job.Thanks for you great and valuable lessons.You are my
    teacher.

  28. Great videos, you have made a steep learning curve so much shallower with your teaching, many thanks, take care RobUK

  29. Hi Paul,
    This is Paul from England. I’m 46 and have started to code with you with the aim of being able to write a program to allow me to put a 4 lane timer on to the Pinewood Derby track I have built for my cub pack. If I’m able to do this, then I’m looking to move on and write a program and build a Hot Rod starting Christmas Tree and timing system for a push cart derby that the cubs attend in August.
    I have been watching your lessons for a couple of weeks while I have been waiting for my Arduino to come. Now that it has arrived, I’ve started the lessons again and have to say that I’m loving it.
    Lesson one done and I made two different ‘on’ times, one as a dot and one as a dash. Iwas then able to write Morse Code so that my son code read SOS.
    Many thanks,
    Paul

  30. Hi Paul,
    I intend to follow your tutorial for Arduino. You have suggested that we buy the SparkFun inventors kit, but it comes with its own non-standard Arduino board. Do you suggest that we purchase the kit and the original Arduino Uno to get started?

  31. Paul,
    Thanks for your tutorials. I’ve worked through several and find them particularly informative, especially those related to GPS. Many online tutorials do not spend near the time to really instruct Arduino enthusiasts. I have a request. Would you consider a tutorial on the venerable nRF24L01 2.4GHz transceivers? While there appears to be information available to send and receive a “fixed” text message like Hello World, there is little available on sending data from sensors, like, say temp/humidity sensors. While I was able to piece together a working system, payloads, data size and structures are particularly troublesome for me and I am sure others as well. Delving into the libraries would be useful. It appears that RadioHead will result in a more concise sketch, whereas the TMRh20 library requires more coding. Thanks for your consideration

  32. Great Tutorials…

    Small suggestion:

    Regarding your tutorial # 4 and/or 5:

    These circuits start right after the program is downloaded. The lights and prompt work quite well.

    However, a “start button” should be pressed. In a real life situation, an operator should control when to start/stop the sequence.
    My suggestion (if I may) for these tutorials: include a prompt for the user to press the “start button” (i.e. Pls. press the start button).
    Once the button is pressed, then the rest then the sequence of lights blinking starts.

    Otherwise -your tutorials are well paced. T he delivery is excellent.

    Keep the good work

  33. Man I am glad I found you. Australian teacher wanting to take my design and technology lessons to the next level. I have CAD under my belt. Now let’s start coding!

  34. I enjoyed watching all 38 lessons on RASPBERRY PI WITH LINUX and wanted to start watching the ARDUINO lessons. But, the first six lessons have no sound, either on your web site or on YouTube. I hear the advertisements before your lesson on YouTube but nothing during. Lesson 7 and on sounds fine. Is there some audio driver I’m missing on my Mac? I use Google Chrome, but even tried on Safari and get the same results. Any suggestions?

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