I’ve been playing around with the ATmega168 based microcontroller development environment called Arduino. It’s a simple open sourced C/C++ based development environment based around a Java based IDE, a USB based serial link between the development PC and microcontroller board and uses a serial boot loader to simplify the programming process. It also runs on Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. More can be found about Arduino at

What I like about the Arduino development environment is the simplicity of the IDE, the rich library of code for the microcontroller peripherals and other hardware and the speed at which you can get a simple idea up and running. It’s not a real replacement for developing your own embedded software design from scratch, it’s a bit memory limited and it doesn’t have a proper in-circuit debugger but it offers a low barrier for prototyping designs and an entry point for people starting to use microcontrollers.

I have an Arduino Diecimila, which is based on the ATmega168 microcontroller from Atmel, a 16kB 8-bit micro with 1kB RAM with a built in UART, hardware SPI and I2C and self programming capability and I’ll be posting information of my exploits with Arduino here.

Software for Arduino

Hardware for Arduino

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