How to choose Arduino board from the range?

Electronic Board

Arduino is a good way to start with the development. It is easy to learn and it has very high capabilities. And it is important to choose right Arduino board for your project.

You can make anything from simple hobby project, robot, IOT device, drone, prosthetics or 3D printer from Arduino.

The best part is it is open source and it has a very large community.

Know the range of Arduino boards

My first project was a robotic arm which I have created using Arduino Due. It took me 3 days (and nights) to learn the Arduino, electronics, programming and to make the functional robotic arm from scratch.

I have used Arduino Mega as my second board for automation projects and also for the DIY 3d printer.

Then I realized that these boards are overkill for some of my smaller applications and I tried Arduino Uno and Arduino Nano which are good for small robotic arms, bi-pad robot, self-watering plant and collision detection Bluetooth controlled robots.

From that point, I realized that the form factor is crucial and top of the line boards are not always the best to fit.

Arduino has big range of boards.

Factors to consider while choosing Arduino board

Before choosing the right board you must consider these factors:

  1. Application: What you want to make and how you are planning your project? What features you want to include?
  2. Form Factor: The size of the board. How much volume you can allocate for your board in the product?
  3. Processing Power: How complex is your project is and how you want to process your data?
  4. I/O ports: How much components you are planning to add? How many sensors and motors and other accessories you want to add? Do they need analog or digital I/O ports and how much?

I have listed the Arduino boards for you. These are popular and easily available online.

Arduino Uno

If you have no experience with electronics and coding then Uno is the best board to start with. Uno is well documented and most used Arduino board. There are plenty of projects and guides to start learning. It can be powered by AA batteries.

Tech Specifications

  • Microcontroller: ATmega328P
  • Operating Voltage:    5V
  • Input Voltage (recommended):       7-12V
  • Input Voltage (limit):  6-20V
  • Digital I/O Pins:        14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
  • PWM Digital I/O Pins:            6
  • Analog Input Pins:     6
  • DC Current per I/O Pin:       20 mA
  • DC Current for 3.3V Pin:      50 mA
  • Flash Memory: 32 KB (ATmega328P) of which 0.5 KB used by bootloader
  • SRAM:             2 KB (ATmega328P)
  • EEPROM:        1 KB (ATmega328P)
  • Clock Speed:  16 MHz
  • LED_BUILTIN:             13
  • Length:            68.6 mm
  • Width:             53.4 mm
  • Weight:            25 g

Choose Arduino Uno board if you are just starting with electronics.

Click to check Uno

Arduino Nano

For the applications that need small form factor, the Nano is a good choice. It is very similar to Uno in terms of functionality. You can directly mount it on a breadboard. It can be powered by AA batteries.

Tech Specifications

  • Microcontroller         ATmega328
  • Architecture  AVR
  • Operating Voltage    5 V
  • Flash Memory           32 KB of which 2 KB used by bootloader
  • SRAM 2 KB
  • Clock Speed  16 MHz
  • Analog IN Pins           8
  • EEPROM        1 KB
  • DC Current per I/O Pins      40 mA (I/O Pins)
  • Input Voltage 7-12 V
  • Digital I/O Pins          22 (6 of which are PWM)
  • PWM Output 6
  • Power Consumption            19 mA
  • PCB Size         18 x 45 mm
  • Weight            7 g

You can choose Arduino Nano board if the space is very limited and only a small board can be fitted in your product.

Click to check Nano.

Arduino Mega 2560

The Mega is powered by ATmega2560 microcontroller. It is powerful enough to create 3D Printers and other robotic projects. It has better storage for the larger programs and also has a larger form factor.

Tech Specifications

  • Microcontroller         ATmega2560
  • Operating Voltage    5V
  • Input Voltage (recommended)       7-12V
  • Input Voltage (limit)  6-20V
  • Digital I/O Pins          54 (of which 15 provide PWM output)
  • Analog Input Pins     16
  • DC Current per I/O Pin        20 mA
  • DC Current for 3.3V Pin      50 mA
  • Flash Memory           256 KB of which 8 KB used by bootloader
  • SRAM             8 KB
  • EEPROM        4 KB
  • Clock Speed  16 MHz
  • LED_BUILTIN             13
  • Length            101.52 mm
  • Width              53.3 mm
  • Weight            37g

Choose Arduino Mega board if your applications require powerful board like 3D-printing.

Click to check Mega.

Arduino MKR series

For the IoT applications, the MKR series is good. It provides inbuilt WiFi, GSM, WAN, or Ethernet based on the model.

You can choose Arduino MKR family boards for Internet of Things (IoT).

Visit arduino.cc know more about Arduino.

Conclusion

As a beginner, you should go for the Arduino Uno. You can easily find the guides and projects with good documentation.

Click to start with Uno now.

For good capabilities in smaller form factor, I would advise Arduino Nano. It has most of the benefits of Uno and is breadboard mountable.

If you want the top of the line capabilities for application such as 3D Printer, Arduino Mega would be the best choice.

So which is your first Arduino board?

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