4 steps to set up an Arduino/Genuino Uno board with Windows Computer
Arduino is a great open-source platform for STEM education. Students having an interest in electronics, robotics, coding etc. can start doing various Arduino DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects to get a hands-on experience of such subjects and have fun at the same time. We have already provided an overview of Arduino before. Today we’ll see how to set up an Arduino Uno board with a Windows computer in 4 simple steps. The best way to check whether the board is functioning properly is to upload an example sketch that’s built in within the Arduino IDE. If the user gets the desired result, the board is in a perfect working condition. Let’s go through the basic steps.
Step 1- Download the Arduino Software and install the same
For doing Arduino-based projects, you need to have the Arduino software installed on your computer for running the code (“sketch” as per Arduino). You can download the free software (IDE) from here. It’s advisable to get the latest version. There are two options to choose from. The users can opt for the Installer or the Zip files. The installer which is an executable (.exe) file can be used for direct installation which will automatically install everything needed for operating Arduino IDE Software. That includes the drivers as well. If the users opt for the zip files, they have to manually install all the drivers required for operating Arduino IDE Software.
- Click on the set-up file and check the components for your installation. The recommendation is to install all the components. Make sure that all the boxes are checked and click on “next”.
All the Boxes are checked
Image courtesy- http://www.plaindsp.com/wp-content/uploads/options.png
- Choose the directory where the software is to be installed. There’s a default directory path already written in the “destination folder” box. To create a path of your choice click on “browse” and do the needful to go to your destination. Click on “Install”.
Installation folder window
Image courtesy- http://www.plaindsp.com/wp-content/uploads/installdir-300×208.png
- Wait for the installation to be finished and you’ll be set to plug the Arduino into the Windows computer.
Arduino software “installing” window
Image courtesy- https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Guide/DRV_Capture3.png
The above mentioned steps are suitable for installing with the installer i.e. the .exe file. If the user has opted for manual installation (zip file) or the Arduino board isn’t properly recognized for any reason the following steps can be followed. The steps are shown to work for Windows XP but they are capable of working with the higher versions as well (up to Win 10).
Step 2- Connect the Arduino board to the Windows PC USB port using a USB (A to B) Cable
You need to have a USB (A to B) cable for this purpose. It’s also assumed that you particularly have an Arduino UNO board with you. This process may work with other Arduino boards but we are particularly emphasizing on the UNO board in this article. Arduino UNO along with the USB (A to B) cable is available here. Plug in the USB at both ends (one end goes to UNO and one goes to the USB port on your PC) and you’re done. Look at the image below to get an idea. The connected USB will automatically provide power to the Arduino UNO board.
Connecting Arduino UNO to the computer
Image courtesy- http://www.hsmarthome.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ArduinoUNOwUSB.jpg
Step 3 – Run the Arduino IDE software
This process is pretty simple. Just double click on that icon created by installation which should be something like arduino.exe. You should see a window similar to the one shown in the picture below.
Image courtesy- http://blog.hobbycomponents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Arduino_Install_10.png
Step 4– Test the board using a simple “example” sketch
The Arduino board is already connected to your computer and should be in a proper working condition. But how do you test its functionality to prove the above statement? There are various simple “example” sketches built into the software which allow you to test the board’s functionality. Let’s take the example of the sketch called “Blink”. This is a simple program that turns the on-board LED on and off. Follow this path to open “Blink”-
File → Examples → 01.Basics → Click on “Blink”. You can go through the picture (shown below) as well.
The path to “Blink”
Image courtesy- http://blog.hobbycomponents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Testing-the-Blink-Application_1.png
As soon as you click on ‘Blink”, the following window (picture shown below) appears bearing the program.
Image courtesy- https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Guide/Blink_En.png
You should also select your Arduino board from the drop-down list. The board mentioned in this article is an Arduino/Genuino UNO. Follow this picture below to select Arduino UNO from the drop-down list.
Image Courtesy- https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Guide/ArduinoIDE_Board.png
Now the program execution needs to be done. For that you have to “upload” the sketch. You just click on “Upload”, the button that’s shown (marked with a yellow circle) in this picture below.
“Done uploading” message will be displayed if the sketch upload is done successfully.
You should actually see the LED (yellow-marked on the picture below) on the Arduino board blinking in orange. This LED is actually the pin 13(L).
Depicting the LED on an Arduino UNO board
Image courtesy- https://www.arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/ArduinoUno_R3_Front_450px.jpg
If the LED blinks, then the board is in a fine working condition. You are now set to start other Arduino projects of your own with the board or you can test some other example sketches as well. Additional accessories might be needed for more complex projects. Congratulations! You are now a part of the Maker movement.