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Best Arduino Board – Buying Guide 2020

best arduino board for beginnersAre you planning to make interactive projects using computers that are away from the ordinary? If the answer is yes, then it makes a lot of sense to go through this article. We need complex electronic circuit boards to make computers that are capable of interacting with various environments and situations. Find the best Arduino Board for Beginners.

Best Arduino Board 2020

Though there are many such options available in the market, many users believer that Arduino Board is something that is quite different from others in the market. However, beginners should understand that there are many variants of Arduino and it is important to have some basic understanding of the differences between the various alternatives.

Beginners should go through this article because it will help them to choose the right board for the purpose of their projects that are required in their studies. We should bear in mind that students and those are trying their hand with Arduino Boards are not very well-versed with the entire meaning and scope of this product.

Hence, an attempt is being made to give some reasonably detailed information about the various aspects of Arduino. We will understand the definition of Arduino and also have a look at some of the most prominent and popular brands. Additionally, we also will answer some FAQs about the various types of Arduino boards and where and how they should be used.

What Exactly Is Arduino?

As mentioned earlier, Arduino is a board that comes in handy for making computers. It is an open source platform and works based on microcontrollers. There are obviously advantages when we choose open source items because you get all the resources for free. This includes design files, CAD files and other such things.

In other words anybody who has access to it can change it based on their specific needs and requirements. The main objective of Arduino is to provide an affordable and simple way for creating microcontroller computers.

Students and even professionals can find these resources useful because it helps them to interact with the physical environment. We will now look at some of the major variants of Arduino so that the readers and other stakeholders are able to get some idea about each one of them.

ModelIncludes 
Arduino Uno14 digital input/output pins, 6 analog inputs
Arduino Mini8 analog pins, 14 digital I/Os
Arduino Mega54 digital I/O pins, 16 analog inputs
Arduino Lilypad14 digital I/O pins, 6 analog input pins
Teensy21 high resolution analog inputs, 34 digital I/O pins
STM32 Discovery-
MSP430 LaunchPad14-/20-pin DIP (N) socket
We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers, and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer.

Arduino Uno – Best Board for Beginners

Arduino Uno - Best Board for BeginnersIf you are looking for the best Arduino Board as a beginner, there are many reasons to believe that this could be the best choice. It is a must for any budding electronic engineer.

It is feature rich and offers many possibilities and that includes simple blinking of LED lights to complicated things such as energy monitoring.

It also has the capability of controlling vehicles that are unmanned.

Overall Features And Description

  • The Arduino Uno board is very reliable and is powered by ATmega328
  • It comes with an input voltage of 7-12 V
  • It also has 32K of Flash Memory
  • The Clock speed is 16 Mhz
  • It allows the users to use 14 digital I/O Pins
  • This includes outputs along with 6 Analog Inputs
  • Even beginners will be able to install it
Pros
  • As a beginner, you can start building with the right foundations
Cons
  • The free download of software system fails once in a while

On the whole when one looks at the features, pros and cons, there are not many reasons as to why it could not be a good buy.

Arduino Mini – 328 – 5V/16MHz: 0.7×1. 3″ (18x33mm) Less than 2 grams

Arduino Mini - 328 - 5V/16MHz: 0.7x1. 3" (18x33mm) Less than 2 gramsThis is another popular Arduino Board that comes packed with a number of features and facilities. It is a nano board but with some very powerful features.

Here are some important features that are worth mentioning.

  • It is fully compatible and is a lightweight version belonging to the Arduino microcontroller family
  • It is known for its strong performance
  • It has a lightweight design feature
  • It has convenient power supply mode with the help of mini USB cable
  • Extremely user friendly
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight weighing only 0.48 ounces
  • Product dimensions are quite convenient at 17×0.7×0.2 inches
  • Suitable for students and beginners
  • Easy to install with directions and instructions
Cons
  • USB cable not a part of the entire product
  • It has to be bought separately
It could be a good investment for beginners.

Arduino Mega – For your most ambitious projects

Arduino Mega - For your most ambitious projectsIf you are looking for something for your microprocessor and computing needs, it makes lot of sense to have a closer look at this product.

This again is a popular offering from Arduino and has a number of interesting and customer friendly features. We will have a look at a few of them for the benefit of our readers.

Important Features:

  • This is comes with new and improved features
  • You can get clear prints as far as the female header connector is concerned
  • It is easier to use as far as the wire is concerned
  • It comes with a more powerful ATMega16US chip
  • You can get faster rates and more memory also is available
  • It is highly compatible with RoHS and Arduino IDE
Pros
  • The ATmega328P microcontroller is a big takeaway
  • It has an input voltage ranging from 7-12 V
  • You get 8 analog inputs
  • 14 digital i/o pins are also available
  • 32 Flash memory
  • Clocks speed is impressive at 16 Mhz
  • Weighs just 0.96 ounces
  • Measures 3.2 x 2.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Easy to port around and move from one place to another
Cons
  • The chip is pretty tight in the socket and has led to damage in a few instances
Taking into account the track history of Arduino, it is quite obvious that it is a good brand.

Arduino Lilypad – For e-textiles and wearables projects

Arduino Lilypad - For e-textiles and wearables projectsThis resembles and measures like a silver dollar, but it is power packed and comes with a number of features and functional. This is without any doubt an ultra thin and highly programmable processor.

It has been designed for sewing sensors into textiles and clothing. Let us look at a few of the important features and functionalities that could be interesting information for customers.

Main Features

    • The mainboard comes with 9 digital input as well as output pins
    • You also have an 8 MHz resonator, JST connector that is suitable for use with a 3.7V LiPo battery.  It also comes with a reset button.
    • You also have a USB connector that can easily be attached LilyPad board to the computer
    • It works on a 3.7 V LiPo battery as well as a reset button
    • The connection can happen with a micro USB cable
    • It also can get started with the help of USB battery
    • It is an upgraded version of ATmega32U4 and has been replaced with ATmega328p
    • The best of spare parts, input, and output solutions are also available
Pros
  • Lightweight and it also comes with a new feature called wearable electronics
  • The best of Lilypad Accessories are also available
  • The USB connector helps it to be used with laptop or desktop computer
  • The weight is 0.48 ounces
  • 4x2x0.2 inches
Cons
  • It does not fit snugly as far as the wearable electronics parts are concerned
After going through the various features, functionalities and technical specifications, many end-users are of the belief that it could be a good investment.

The above are a few of the most popular and well known Arduino board types and variants. Apart from the above, you also have the other variants that are not from the house of Arduino. We will have a look at a few of them for the sake of information of our customers and others who are looking for such products.

Teensy – Very small footprint

Teensy - Very small footprintTeensy is reasonably popular amongst all those who are into the field of education, especially for beginners.

 

It has some useful and well-known features and we are sharing a few of them:

Main Features

  • It has 13 high resolution analog inputs
  • You also get to buy 32 bit ARM Cortex M0+ 48 MHz CPU
  • 27 digital I/O Pin. However, these pins are not 5V tolerant
  • 10 PWM outputs are also available
  • 62KB Flash Memory, along with 8 KB RAM
Pros
  • It is one of the most breadboard friendly development boards in the market today
  • It also comes with pre-flashed facilities
  • It also has a bootloader that helps you to program the board by making use of on-board US connection
  • It does not require any external programmer
  • The board can be programmed using popular program editors like C
Cons
  • Apart from less than excellent service standards there is nothing much to complain about this product
If you ask for recommendations, there are many reasons that point to the fact that it is indeed a good buy.

STM32 Discovery – Complete Solution

STM32 Discovery - Complete SolutionThis is another quality board that compares well with some of the best products of Arduino. It is often considered as the ideal evaluation and discovery development board kit.

It has very interesting and exciting features and we are happy to share a few of them for our readers, especially for beginners.

Main Features

  • Built in flash and programmer
  • On buying the board, you can easily download the software and driver
  • The downloads are available from the ST site
  • It allows use of a program called ST LINK and the same can be used for loading the hex file onto the board
  • It also permits the users to have a look at the memory and registers that are located on the host computer or the programming computer
Pros
  • Customers in general are quite satisfied with the overall performance
  • It is light weight and comes with an overall product weight of around 3.2 ounces
  • It also is not large and bulky and has an overall dimension of 7.4×0.9×5.2 inches
Cons
  • Packing is not good
  • Support from the service team quite a bit to be desired
If we need to have an unbiased opinion or recommendation of this board, the answer in one word is Yes.

MSP430 LaunchPad – Low cost “alternative”

MSP430 LaunchPad - Low cost "alternative"This certainly is a great board for beginners and when one draws a comparison with board from Arduino, MSP430 LaunchPad certainly stands out from the rest of the crowd.

Let us have a look at the main features.

Main Features

The product comes with the following:

  • 2 micrometers
  • USB cable
  • 2 rocket sticker
  • 37.768 kHz Crystal feature
  • 2 rows of connectors
  • The software in particularly is very professional
Pros
  • Considering that it has only 20 or 14 pin chips, the features are quite attractive
  • Onboard LED button
  • It comes in a ready to use mode
  • The users get access to many booster packs from TI and others
  • Customers are also eligible for many booster packs from TI and other service providers
Cons
  • Though the software is good, it is a pain to download the same
  • Information about the product is much less when compared to competition
  • It can at best accommodate 20 pins and this may not be enough

 

Best Arduino Board – FAQ/Buyer’s Guide

What Can you do with Arduino?

Arduino is a very versatile product both for beginners. It has a unique and wide range of uses and it may not be possible to list down each and every one of them. But the readers may find the following few areas where Arduino can come in very handy.

3D Printers: We are often led to believe that buying a 3D printer or an ordinary printer involves spending big money. However, this may not be always true.

If we are able to make intelligent use of Arduinos you could bring down the cost of 3D printers quite significantly. You can make them using Arduinos board and other related software and tools.

Magic Robots: Robots are perhaps one of the most common things that can be made using Arduino. With the help of a basic robot frame and with just 2 light sensors and 2 motors, even young children can make wonderful objects.

This robot is not only small and cute but can also come in handy when there is a need to identify the source of heat, move towards it and even put out fires. All this can be done automatically.

Laser Harp: Arduino can also be used for the purpose of tracing lasers, trance sound and other such things and that without too much of a struggle.

Baker Tweet: This is a very simple but useful technology and it can be used for telling the customers as to when the fresh bread is done. The technologically advanced product has a dial selection that can help choose the bread and to top it all, it also comes with a tweet button. According to many this could be one of the most unique and versatile ways in which Arduino has been used so far.

Where can you learn Arduino?

There are schools and institutes that teach the basic about Arduino. Additionally you also could make use of the various videos and other teaching resources that are available on the worldwide web.

You also could take inputs and ideas from those who have been using these boards for educational and other purposes.

How Do You Select The Right Board For Your Needs?

There are different types of Arduino boards for different needs and uses. Hence, you must have some basic idea about the same so that you are able to buy and use the right one keeping in mind specific needs and requirements. It could either be used by beginners.

There could be others who may need Arduino for quadcopter, and also for the purpose of CNC and also for robotics. You also must be aware that there are many other choices like NetDuino or FreeDuino.

However, you must try and stick to the original brand and that is Arduino.

For beginners, it would always be better to go in for Arduino Uno. It is suited best for those who are trying to get into the fascinating world of Arduino.

It is considered to be a good all-purpose board. It has many features that a beginner is required to start with. It makes use of advanced ATmega328 chip and you can power it directly using a USB or it can work on battery or even by using AC to DC adaptor.

Best Arduino board for quadcopter without any doubt would be Arduino Mega. This is because it comes with extra digital pins. Further, it also has additional PWM pins, and also analog inputs which is the twice the memory when compared to the normal ones.

The compiler is also quite advanced. However, you may need to manually focus on the IMU that you are planning to use. It would be better to go in for an IMU with gyroscopes, ACC and also one with a compass. This will ensure that you have a good Yaw Measure when the gyroscope drifts.

Best Arduino board for CNC – Arduino Due. This is because it has some artificial intelligence and some complex algorithms built into it.

It can help you to create the best of CNC projects and also for making robots that are more responsive. However, it would not be suitable for those who are getting into programming for the first time around.

For Robotics, is a new concept and it also is referred to as Arduino on wheels. It is the simplest and easiest way to get started with the basic of robotics.

The good thing about this robot is that it comes to two processors. Each of the processor is placed on the two boards. The job of the motor board is to control the motors.

The control board also has the capacity of reading sensors and offer other such benefits and functionalities. It also helps you to map many pins with the onboard sensors and this is something that makes quite unique and different when compared to other brands and also different models of Arduino Boards.

Conclusion

We are sure that the world of Arduino Board is simply fascinating and exciting. The best thing about is that it is perfectly suited for all those who are taking the first baby steps in the field of robotics, CNC and other such complicated and tough jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, it also could be used for various other purposes too. These are still very early days and as technology and end-use of Arduino boards are concerned, it will only be a matter of time before it gains more acceptance and usage.

However, this is not going to happen overnight because there are many things that have to put in place and it also is about educating the customers and making them understand the various benefits associated with it.

Lastly, the pros and cons of such boards also should be factored before your child is able to make an unbridled and complete use of this technology. It should be able to replicate certain foreign elements and also give a new meaning and direction to science and it should be able to do it in a simple and easy to understand manner.

Damon Coleman

Entrepreneur, robotics fan. I have a Diploma in Technical Education, interested in robotics. My favorite platforms are Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Welcome to the world of robotics!

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