I finally got my hands on a Arduino Uno. I was surprised at how small the unit was, as it’s slightly larger than a box of matches. After downloading the latest version to date of the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (v0.22), I managed to install the drivers on windows 7. Previous versions of the IDE which I had (v0.19) did not have the correct drivers to operate the Uno. The Integrated Development Environment is a software application used to compile and upload program code to the Arduino.
After everything was setup I thought I would give some of the examples a try. One of the examples i tried was the blinking LED. After compiling and uploading the code (which actually uploaded in a matter of seconds), i was able to watch as the onboard LED started blinking. I subsequently changed the delay values so that the LED would blink for a longer period. It was actually exciting, be it all for a flashing LED.
After this example I looked at the LED fade example, which uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). On previous Arduino boards the PWM would be sent through the analog output’s. With the newer Boards, it is now possible to emulate PWM using digital outputs by allowing current to pass through the pin for a fraction of the time, thereby controlling the flow.
I have read through the Arduino programming notebook and it is a valuable reference guide to have, all be it basic. I recently also purchased the Electronics for Dummies hard cover, so going through that. I recommend the Arduino electronic resources as the wealth of information is staggering, and for beginners very understandable.