Chapter 05 – HARDWARE INSTALLATION

Install the microcontroller

The microcontroller is the small blue device, with several leads, that has a black chip on top of it and a mini USB port used to connect your computer with the microcontroller.

The main brain of the microcontroller is an ATMEL328 chip, the chipset execute all your custom developed software.

First of all is necessary to understand how the breadboard (the big white component) is working. For an introduction, refer to the chapter “Breadboard”. After you were able to get all the information on the breadboard usage we can start to connect (literally insert) the microcontroller on top of the breadboard. See the example picture how the microcontroller is connected. The USB plug should be close to the border of the breadboard.

The main advise that we give to you is to pay attention how every lead is inserted in the breadboard. Is very easy to bend the leads of the microcontroller, to avoid that we should always pay attention how we insert it. If one or more pin is bended (the advice is also for all the components) you should gently try to put back to the right angle/position. To avoid to bend the pins is better to keep your fingers close the the end of the lead and push gently inside the holes of the breadboard. If you need to remove the microcontroller pay be VERY CAREFUL because normally the microcontroller is not easy to be removed from the breadboard.

Now your microcontroller is installed, the last step necessary for the real usage is the connection of the USB cable. The connection is really easy, you should simply plug the USB port to the computer and the mini USB port to the microcontroller. As usual we should pay attention to the right position of the plug (There is only one way to plug, so don’t force it if is not entering correctly).

How to use the microcontroller

Here we are, the software is installed, the hardware is well connected and is only missing to understand how the upload the binaries to the microcontroller.

The picture is giving you an example how the microcontroller and the computer are correctly connected.

We execute the IDE installed in the chapter “SOFTWARE INSTALLATION”, the main screen will be empty, as in the following picture. The source code is normally called sketch.

First of all we define the USB port that the microcontroller is using, after we select the microcontroller type that will manage our source codes. With the kit is provided an Arduino Nano ver. 3.0

Selection of the USB port

Selection of the microcontroller

Now we can start to get excited with the first experiment, blinking a led.

2 comments

  1. [...] 02 – ELECTRONICS IN BRIEF Chapter 03 – A SMALL PROGRAMMING PRIMER Chapter 04 – THE BREADBOARD Chapter 05 – HARDWARE INSTALLATION Chapter 06 – INSTALL THE SOFTWARE Chapter 07 – MICROCONTROLLER, PINS AND [...]

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