Blog  /  11 Things You Need to Know About Arduino Circuit Board

11 Things You Need to Know About Arduino Circuit Board

Many electronics designers built their project as a prototype using the Arduino circuit board.

They are unsure whether they should use the actual circuit board or an Arduino circuit board for final production.

Do you wonder about the advantages and disadvantages of using the fully developed Arduino circuit board over custom boards?

It would help if you started designing and designactuabuildt board from scratch.

This article will help you understand the differences between the Arduino and real circuit boards.

 

It illustrates a close-up of Arduino circuit board

(It illustrates a close-up of an Arduino circuit board)

 

Arduino Circuit Board is Open-source Hardware.

 

Arduino is an open-source software and hardware firm which allows you to construct and design electronics projects.

The Arduino circuit board can manufacture interactive and digital devices with control systems and sensors.

Arduino circuit boards offer analog and digital I/O pins, which Can connect different circuits and expansion boards.

You can also use Arduino circuit boards for serial communication, burning code directly from your computer and providing power.

On the other hand, The actual circuit board consists of printed conductive patterns fixed on the insulating substrate's surface.

The printed panel is bare and goes by the name of the printed circuit board (PCB).

Like the Arduino circuit board, you would not see any electronic components or controllers attached to it.

 

Arduino Board is a Ready-made Circuit Board.

 

The Arduino circuit board is ready-made. It means it already comes with all the circuitry required for its operation.

It has a very compact computer and a microcontroller at its heart. If you plan to use Arduino UNO, this microcontroller will be an Atmega328 chip.

For powering itself, Arduino circuit boards have a USB port to get supply through a USB cable.

You can also use an AC-to-DC power adapter to supply it externally.

Conversely, an actual circuit board is bare, and it is all on you to decide how to power it.

You can purchase do-it-yourself kits of Arduino circuit boards. If you do not want to buy an Arduino already assembled, you can also get its hardware design tutorial. After that, you can make it by hand.

But why waste time unless it is an ultimate necessity? With the support of a ready-made Arduino circuit board installed on the actual circuit board, you can get a simplified final board.

 

The Arduino Family has Different Boards with Different Capabilities.

 

The Arduino family boasts several microcontroller boards with different features and capabilities to suit varying projects.

But the hardware is open source, meaning you can access the development board's electronics platform, modify it, and produce derivatives with more functions or different form factors.

These open-source development boards include the following.

Arduino UNO (R3)

The Arduino UNO R3 has undergone three version or revision updates to make it better than the original.

The board features 14 digital I/O pins and six double as PWM outputs to control motors and LEDs.

R3 UNO boards also have six analog input pins, a USB type-B port, and a barrel plug for power supply connection.

The Arduino UNO R3

The Arduino UNO R3

 

The board is one of the best options for beginners because it is affordable, easy to use, and features a replaceable microcontroller chip.

Additionally, it includes everything you need to get started (a USB port for computer connectivity and a power supply port for battery or AC-to-DC adapter connections).

 

LilyPad Arduino

 

LilyPad Arduino is a circular development board designed exclusively for wearable e-textile technology.

It features a flat back section with sizable connecting pads, which make it easy to sew into wearables using electrically conductive threads.

The board is washable, as well, and has sensor, input, power, and output boards specifically built for e-textiles.

You can get this board in two versions with either the ATMega168V or ATMega328V microcontroller, the former being the low-power version.

 

Arduino Nano

 

This Arduino board is the tiniest (18x45mm) and lightest (5 grams) in the lineup that you can use to build your projects.

But it is still capable because it has 14 digital I/O pins like the UNO R3, with six doubling as PWM outputs.

It also has sufficient SRAM (2KB) and flash memory (32KB), with a mini USB type B port and an ATmega328 microcontroller.

 

Different Arduino boards, including the Mega, Nano, UNO, and Micro

Different Arduino boards, including the Mega, Nano, UNO, and Micro

 

However, the board lacks a power supply barrel plug, meaning you can only use the USB port, pin 30 (for unregulated 6-20V DC), or pin 27 for 5V regulated power.

 

Arduino Micro

 

Although slightly larger than the Nano (18x48mm), this Arduino Micro features six more digital I/O pins, making it 20.

And seven of them are PWM outputs. It also has more analog input pins (12), a micro USB port, and a form factor that allows easy mounting on a breadboard.

 

Arduino Mega (R3)

 

As the name suggests, the Mega is the largest Arduino board, and with this size comes tons of pins.

The board features 54 digital I/O pins, with 15 of them providing PWM output, while the analog input pins stand at 16.

Mega R3 boards also have a significantly larger flash memory capacity of 256KB, with the bootloader taking 8KB from this space. The board also features a USB port and a DC power jack.

Most people consider the Mega R3 the bigger brother to the UNO R3 because it amplifies what the UNO has, making it better for projects requiring multiple inputs and outputs.

 

Arduino Leonardo

 

Arduino Leonardo is the first Arduino board to use one microcontroller (ATmega32u4) with a built-in USB port (micro type B).

The dev board also features a DC power port barrel plug, 13 built-in LEDs, 20 digital I/O pins with 7 PWM outputs, and 12 analog output pins.

 

The Extended Family: Sensors and Shields

 

Arduino boards usually require sensors and shields to expand their functionality to enable you to get inputs or expand the board's functionalities in your projects.

An Arduino UNO sensor shield

An Arduino UNO sensor shield

 

Typical Arduino sensors include light, temperature, humidity, acceleration, and pressure sensors.

On the other hand, the most common shields are for internet connectivity, controlling motors, cellular network connectivity, and controlling LCD screens.

 

There are Many Parameters To Select the Right Arduino Circuit Board.

 

Consider and compare these factors to determine your project's most appropriate Arduino board.

 

Microcontroller (MCU)

 

These chips are the brains that run the Arduino dev boards, and most have ATMega microcontrollers.

They include the ATMega328P on the UNO, ATMega2560 on the Mega, and ATMega328V on the LilyPad.

Each chip has different functions and features that are ideal for specific tasks.

 

An Arduino thief detector (motion sensor) project (note the microcontroller on the board)

An Arduino thief detector (motion sensor) project (note the microcontroller on the board)

 

Input Voltage

 

An Arduino board's input voltage is the safe or recommended operating range, and it helps determine the power source to hook up to the DC jack or power pin.

 

System Voltage

 

This parameter defines the microcontroller's running voltage, which can be 3.3V or 5V. The factor is vital because it helps with compatibility, where signal communication with external components should match the board's logic high voltage level.

 

Clock Speed

 

Clock speed refers to the microcontroller's operating frequency, which determines the speed at which it executes commands. The higher the clock speed, the faster the microcontroller.

 

Digital I/O

 

This parameter refers to the digital input and output pins on the microcontroller board and the more they are, the more devices you can include in your project.

Some of these pins double as PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) pins, which enable you to control motors at different speeds or LEDs at varying brightness levels. Others can also double as serial pins.

 

An Arduino board (note the digital I/O and analog inputs)

An Arduino board (note the digital I/O and analog inputs)

 

Analog Inputs

 

Analog input pins enable you to feed analog data to the microcontroller, which uses the ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) to interpret and use the values. Their labeling begins with the letter A followed by the pin's number.

 

PWM

 

PWM outputs are part of the digital I/O pins, and they simulate an analog output, where the microcontroller fakes an analog signal output by generating square waves to control the energy flow.

 

CART

 

Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter defines the number of separate serial communication lines the Arduino board can handle.

All Arduino boards have at least one UART (digital I/O pins 0 and 1 for serial sending and receiving), but some are not divided into accessible pins.

 

Flash Space

 

This capacity defines the memory space available on the microcontroller to store your sketch programs. The entire space is unavailable to you because the bootloader takes up some of it.

 

Programming Interface

 

An Arduino board's programming interface is the point of connection to your computer for transferring the sketch. Most have USB ports, but some use headers that you can connect to FTDI cables.

 

WiFi Capabilities

 

WiFi-enabled Arduino boards are suitable for projects requiring wireless connectivity to the internet, such as IoT.

 

Arduino Boards Has a Wide of Applications

 

  • Smart homes
  • Robotics projects
  • Learning environments

 

A STEM student learning how to code programs for an Arduino board

A STEM student learning how to code programs for an Arduino board

 

  • Art projects
  • Farming automation
  • Wearables

 

Arduino Circuit Board is Generally for Prototyping.

 

Arduino circuit boards are built primarily for prototyping, while an actual board is a standard production board.

The only possible reason for using an Arduino in the development is that you can't produce a real board.

There is no need to remove the connections from the Arduino circuit boards and re-solder the new wires.

Depending on the components you intend to incorporate, you can even find Arduino circuit boards that already provide you with everything.

It only takes a few hours to build an actual circuit board for production purposes.

You have power over the components used based on how many of them you wish to include.

Furthermore, you can add Additional debugging/test/expansion pins to use afterward. However, the Arduino circuit boards allow you to build projects independently.

In the other case, you need to contact a PCB manufacturer. They will use automatic machines to place all the parts and pass them through reflow machines for soldering.

 

It shows the prototyping of a robotic car using Arduino circuit board

(It shows the prototyping of a robotic car using an Arduino circuit board)

 

Arduino Needs an Actual Circuit Board for Full Production.

 

You may need to attach Arduino and other electronics to a real circuit board for full production.

However, the Arduino circuit boards still permit you to quickly understand the basics of electronics.

It is a practical step to master your electronics skills. You don't learn faster by starting in a more challenging environment.

Yes, starting directly with the actual circuit board could be frustrating and challenging.

When you move towards production, ask yourself what unique features will help make or ruin an ideal design.

Consider which Arduino circuit board shields require special housing, such as position or location.

For instance, if your project requires some WiFi or GPS antenna, make sure you position the shields to have optimal coverage of your system.

When your project needs an LCD, make sure that the LCD is set up conveniently enough so that end users can easily access it.

 

Arduino Circuit Board is More Reliable.

 

Arduino circuit boards are more durable and dependable for making simple to complex projects. The blue-colored board already comes with soldered input and output ports.

The fact that they need no soldering makes them durable. You don't need to worry about your soldering expertise or the solder wearing off with time.

Regarding the plugged-in wires, you should not expect them to hold up well under harsh environments.

Also, you are using standard parameters, further standard components, and methods of assembling the industrial.

You may use only one Arduino with fewer wire connections to further improve reliability.

You can also avoid double links that haphazardly go over the Arduino circuit board.

Quality parts and good connectors will also add to your Arduino's durability and reliability.

 

It depicts a correctly assembled robotic car prototype using Arduino circuit board

(It depicts a correctly assembled robotic car prototype using an Arduino circuit board)

 

Other Electronic Components of the Arduino Board

 

You almost definitely do need to build an actual circuit board if you have other electronic parts in your project. An Arduino circuit board cannot take in extra parts on its own.

For such purposes, using wires or connectors to link two Arduino circuit boards does not make sense. First place Arduino and related components on the same circuit board is better.

In the actual circuit board, electronic components are connected by copper traces.

These traces are etched into the circuit board and can involve copper or another metallic conductor.

For placing the Arduino circuit board and other components on the PCB, you have to solder them onto it.

The drawback of this concept is that you cannot quickly make changes. It demonstrates the concept of the Arduino board programming language.

However, you can use a breadboard to test how the extra circuitry will work with your Arduino circuit boards.

Once you are sure that you have built the correct circuit, you can go to the next steps.

Figure 5 shows circuit prototyping using Arduino and a breadboard.

 

It shows circuit prototyping using Arduino circuit board and a breadboard

(It shows circuit prototyping using an Arduino circuit board and a breadboard)

 

 Arduino Board Requires You to Be Good at Programming.

 

Arduino circuit boards come in different sizes and shapes. You can use Arduino LilyPad for small wearable applications, and for complex and demanding projects, you can use Arduino Mega.

Therefore, they have different functions but all have one thing in common. It would help if you were good at programming to operate them.

To that end, the Arduino platform offers a computing project-based integrated development environment (IDE). It includes C++ and C programming language support.

The Arduino IDE software is easy to use. It is like a notepad with open-source codes and libraries.

It has integrated and downloadable functions to deploy almost all the code for you.

Its upside is that you are good to go even if you don't have a good programming concept.

However, if you are looking for serious learning, you may miss out on important ideas.

 

It demonstrates the concept of Arduino board programming language

(It demonstrates the concept of Arduino board programming language)

 

Growing Resources and Libraries are the Advantages and Development Points of Arduino Circuit Boards

 

Thanks to its open-source software and hardware electronic platform, the Arduino platform has grown to have thousands of active developers who design new hardware and modules with their corresponding free-to-use libraries.

 

Summary:

 

In conclusion, you can build a prototype with the Arduino circuit boards but cannot go beyond it.

At the start, they are perfect, but we recommend that you do not adhere to them. Please move towards an actual circuit board or PCB in the long run.

If you need PCB manufacturing services, you can contact us, and we can provide technology, materials, and quality services. Call now to get advice from our team of expert engineers.