Which Arduino Board to Buy

Arduino is an open-source platform of hardware and software. We have plenty to choose them from. But, the question arises what to opt for? What sort of specifications are required to look at them? If you're thinking the same, this blog is for you. Let's start!

Confused about Which Arduino Board to Buy for your next project, then this blog will help you

What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source prototype platform with simple hardware and software. It is made up of a circuit board with a microcontroller and other supporting components mounted on it, which can be programmed using Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which is used to write and upload computer code to the physical board

Key Features of Arduino are:

  1. Arduino boards can read analog or digital input signals from different sensors and turn them into an output such as activating a motor, turning LED on/off, connecting to the cloud, and many other actions.
  2. You can control your board functions by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board via Arduino IDE.
  3. Unlike most previous programmable circuit boards, Arduino does not need an extra piece of hardware (called a programmer) to load a new code onto the board. A USB cable is all you'll need.
  4. Additionally, the Arduino IDE uses a simplified version of C++, making it easier to learn to program.
  5. Finally, Arduino provides a standard form factor that breaks the functions of the microcontroller into a more accessible package.

What can you do with Arduino?

Arduino is an incredibly versatile microcontroller board with limitless possibilities for developing electronic applications and prototypes.  Some of the most basic Arduino projects are listed below. This will give you an idea of what you can do with Arduino.

Projects using Arduino:


1. LED Blinkies: You can create different LED patterns using multiple LEDs.
2. Giving inputs from the keypad: Giving inputs from the keypad and performing some action in response. such as Turning ON and OFF an LED, relay, buzzer, etc.
3. Obstacle avoidance system: Using an Infrared sensor, an obstacle avoidance moving robot can be built.
4. Humidity and Temperature measuring system: DHT11 sensor is used to measure the ambient humidity and temperature, and can display on the LCD or OLED display.
5. Distance measuring with Ultrasonic sensor: Distance between the objects can be measured using an ultrasonic sensor and Arduino.
6. Building an Automatically controlled moving robot: As mentioned above, an automatically controlled moving robot can be built.
7. Connect to the web and communicate data using a WiFi module: The DHT11 sensor data can be published to online platforms like ‚ÄúThingspeak‚ÄĚ and can be monitored from any part of the world using the Internet.
8. Simple Pulse oximeter monitoring system: A pulse oximeter using a MAX30100 sensor can be built, which measures the heart rate and the Spo2 in our blood.
9. Simple home automation system: Using an HC-05 Bluetooth module and the relay, home automation systems can be built.
10. Soil moisture monitoring system: A soil moisture monitoring system can be built and can be automated to provide water to plants.

 

Different types of Arduino Boards:

  1. Arduino UNO

  2. Arduino NANO

  3. Arduino Leonardo

  4. Arduino Micro

  5. Arduino NANO Every

  6. Arduino NANO 33 BLE

  7. Arduino NANO 33 BLE Sense

  8. Arduino MKR Zero

  9. Arduino UNO Wifi

  10. Arduino Due

  11. Arduino Mega 2560

  12. Arduino MKR VIDOR 4000

  13. Arduino Zero

  14. Arduino NANO 33 IoT

  15. Arduino MKR Fox 1200

  16. Arduino MKR WAN 1300

  17. Arduino GSM 1400

  18. Arduino MKR Wifi 1010

  19. Arduino NANO RP2040 Connect

How do you select the right Arduino Board for your needs:

The correct Arduino board for your project can be selected by going through the below parameters. By looking into the below-mentioned parameters and comparing them with the specification of the Arduino board. 

1. Microcontroller (MCU): The microcontroller is the heart (or, more appropriately, the brain) of the Arduino board. The Arduino development board is made up of various AVR microcontrollers, each with its own set of functions and features.

 

2. Input Voltage: This is the board's recommended input voltage range. Although the board's maximum voltage may be slightly higher, this is the safe operating range. A handy thing to keep in mind is that many of the Li-Po batteries that we carry are 3.7V, meaning that any board with an input voltage including 3.7V can be powered directly from one of our Li-Po battery packs.

 

3. System Voltage: This is the system voltage of the board, i.e. the voltage at which the microcontroller is running. This is an important factor for shield compatibility since the logic level is now 3.3V instead of 5V. You always want to be sure that whatever outside system with which you're trying to communicate can match the logic level of your controller.

 

4. Clock Speed: This is the operating frequency of the microcontroller and is related to the speed at which it can execute commands. Although there are rare exceptions, most ATmega microcontrollers running at 3V will be clocked at 8MHz, whereas most running at 5V will be clocked at 16MHz.

 

5. Digital I/O: The number of digital input/output (I/O) pins on the Arduino board is referred to as digital I/O. Each of these can function as an input or output. Some have PWM capabilities, while others double as serial communication pins. 

 

6. Analog Inputs: The number of analog input pins available on the Arduino board is indicated here. Analog pins are labeled "A" followed by their number, they allow you to read analog values using the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) in the ATMega chip. Analog inputs can also be configured as more digital I/O if you need it!

 

7. PWM: This is the number of digital I/O pins that are capable of producing a Pulse-width modulation. (PWM) signal. PWM signal functions similarly to an analog output, allowing your Arduino to "fake" an analog voltage between zero and the system voltage.

 

8. UART: The number of separate serial communication lines that your Arduino board can support is known as the UART. On most Arduino boards, digital I/O pins 0&1 double as your serial send and receive pins and are shared with the serial programming port. Multiple UARTs on some Arduino boards allow for simultaneous use of multiple serial ports. Although all Arduino boards have at least one UART for programming, some aren't broken out to accessible pins.

 

9. Flash Space: The amount of program memory available on the chip for you to store your sketch is called flash space. The bootloader takes up a small portion of this memory, so not all of it is available (usually between 0.5 and 2KB).

 

10. Programming Interface: The programming interface is where you connect the Arduino board to your computer to program it. Some boards include a USB jack, so all you have to do is connect them to a USB cable. Others have a header that can be used to connect an FTDI Basic breakout or an FTDI Cable. Other boards, such as the Mini, separate the serial pins for programming, but they are not pin-compatible with the FTDI header. Any Arduino board with a USB jack has additional hardware that allows for serial to USB conversion. Some boards, however, don't need additional hardware because their microcontrollers have built-in USB support.

 

11. Wifi-enabled: Wifi-enabled: Some Arduino boards have WiFi modules built-in. Arduino boards can be used in Internet of Things applications. The Arduino IoT boards, such as Arduino WiFi, can be used if your application uses IoT technology and communicates data over the Internet.

Advantages of Arduino:

1. Coordination between software and hardware, simplicity, and compactness are the most important advantages of Arduino. When we talk about a development board, we expect it to have all of the features needed to set it up and program it. In most Arduino boards, you can connect a USB cable to the Arduino board and transfer a program written in the Arduino IDE at the push of a button.
2. The Arduino platform is also compatible with all operating systems, unlike most AVR programming software, which is only compatible with Windows and Linux.
3. The wide variety of Arduino boards and considering the needs of different users is another advantage of Arduino. Although Arduino has over 40 different boards, only a small number of them are well-known. For a complete list of boards, go to the Arduino website.
4. Growing resources and libraries is another advantage point for Arduino. Arduino has evolved from an electronic board thanks to open-source hardware and software. Thousands of developers using Arduino all over the world daily, design new modules and hardware for Arduino and provide their libraries with plenty of examples to users free of charge. This extensive training and content allow you to complete your project in the shortest amount of time possible by combining codes and libraries.
5. In addition to Arduino’s communication with various modules and sensors alongside various libraries for said modules, many libraries are connecting Arduino boards to other software such as MATLAB, Simulink, LabVIEW, and even Python. Don't worry if you don't know how to program in C or if you need to use a computer environment for your project; Arduino makes it simple. Today you can buy an Arduino UNO for a very low cost, and easily connect sensors and operators to your computer. No longer will you need expensive DAQ cards.
6. Besides all the positive capabilities of Arduino hardware and software, we should mention that the Arduino platform is somewhat educational and essentially one of the goals of this platform was to educate electronics to all. This platform's educational goals include an easy-to-use programming language, numerous tutorials, libraries, and the Arduino Forum community for sharing information and supporting Arduino users.

Disadvantages of Arduino:

    1. Having mentioned the advantage of Arduino, it is only fair to mention some of its disadvantages. A variety of boards with different applications can be a strength for Arduino, but the lack of an inclusive board that incorporates most of these features can be a disadvantage. DUE has the best features of all Arduino boards; however, its size is inconvenient for many projects. Furthermore, this board lacks Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. In general, Arduino's products haven't paid much attention to IoT and industrial boards. In terms of price, Arduino boards designed for these fields cannot compete with competitors.
      2. Another drawback of Arduino is that it can only use older, less powerful ARM processors. For Arduino's prejudice in using AT processors, less power consumption and faster processing speed have been sacrificed. The production of the 101 board could be a watershed moment for Arduino, ushering in a new generation of processors.

        3. Another disadvantage of Arduino is that most boards do not have the same USB port and do not use all of the microcontroller's features.

        List of best Arduino Boards:

        All of the Arduino boards are excellent for their respective applications; however, the "How do you select the right board for your application?" section can help you choose the best Arduino boards.

        Below are some of the commonly used boards for certain applications

        For entry-level:

        1. Arduino UNO

        Arduino UNO

        Microcontroller

        ATmega328P

        USB connector

        USB-B

        Built-in LED Pin

        13

        Digital I/O Pins

        14

        Analog input pins

        6

        PWM pins

        6

        UART

        Yes

        I2C

        Yes

        SPI

        Yes

        I/O Voltage

        5V

        Input voltage (nominal)

        7-12V

        DC Current per I/O Pin

        20 mA

        Power Supply Connector

        Barrel Plug

        Clock speed

        16 MHz

        USB-Serial Processor

        ATmega16U2 16 MHz

        Memory

        2KB SRAM, 32KB FLASH, 1KB EEPROM

        Weight

        25 g

        Dimensions

        53.4 mm x 68.6 mm

        2. Arduino NANO

        Arduino NANO

        Microcontroller

        ATmega328

        USB connector

        Mini-B USB

        Built-in LED Pin

        13

        Digital I/O Pins

        14

        Analog input pins

        8

        PWM pins

        6

        UART

        RX/TX

        I2C

        A4 (SDA), A5 (SCL)

        SPI

        D11 (COPI), D12 (CIPO), D13 (SCK). Use any GPIO for Chip Select (CS).

        I/O Voltage

        5V

        Input voltage (nominal)

        7-12V

        DC Current per I/O Pin

        20 mA

        Clock speed

        16 MHz

        Memory

        2KB SRAM, 32KB flash 1KB EEPROM

        Weight

        5gr

        Dimensions

        18 mm x 45 mm

        3. Arduino Micro

        Arduino Micro

        Microcontroller

        ATmega32u4

        USB connector

        Micro USB

        Built-in LED Pin

        13

        Digital I/O Pins

        20

        Analog input pins

        12

        PWM pins

        7

        UART

        Yes

        I2C

        Yes

        SPI

        Yes

        I/O Voltage

        5V

        Input voltage (nominal)

        7-12V

        DC Current per I/O Pin

        10 mA

        Clock speed

        6 6MHz

        Memory

        2.5KB SRAM, 32KB FLASH, 1KB EEPROM

        Weight

        13 g

        Dimensions

        18 mm x 48 mm

        4. Arduino Leonardo

        Arduino Leonardo

        Microcontroller

        ATmega32u4

        USB connector

        Micro USB (USB-B)

        Built-in LED Pin

        13

        Digital I/O Pins

        20

        Analog input pins

        12

        PWM pins

        7

        UART

        Yes

        I2C

        Yes

        SPI

        Yes

        I/O Voltage

        5V

        Input voltage (nominal)

        7-12V

        DC Current per I/O Pin

        10 mA

        Power Supply Connector

        Barrel Plug

        Clock speed

        16 MHz

        Memory

        2.5KB SRAM, 32KB FLASH, 1KB EEPROM

        Weight

        20 g

        Dimensions

        53.3 mm x 68.6 mm

         

        Enhanced featured boards:

        1. Arduino NANO 33 BLE

        Arduino NANO 33 BLE

        Microcontroller

        nRF52840 

        Operating Voltage

        3.3V

        Input Voltage (limit)

        21V

        DC Current Per I/O Pin

        15 mA

        Clock Speed

        64MHz

        CPU Flash Memory

        1MB (nRF52840)

        SRAM

        256KB (nRF52840)

        EEPROM

        none

        Digital Input / Output Pins

        14

        PWM Pins

        all digital pins

        UART

        1

        SPI

        1

        I2C

        1

        Analog Input Pins

        8 (ADC 12 bit 200 samples)

        Analog Output Pins

        Only through PWM (no DAC)

        External Interrupts

        all digital pins

        LED_BUILTIN

        13

        USB

        Native in the nRF52840 Processor

        Dimensions

        45 mm x 18 mm

        Weight

        5 gr (with headers)


        2. Arduino NANO 33 BLE sense

        Arduino NANO 33 BLE sense

        Microcontroller

        nRF52840

        Operating Voltage

        3.3V

        Input Voltage (limit)

        21V

        DC Current Per I/O Pin

        15 mA

        Clock Speed

        64MHz

        CPU Flash Memory

        1MB (nRF52840)

        SRAM

        256KB (nRF52840)

        EEPROM

        none

        Digital Input / Output Pins

        14

        PWM Pins

        all digital pins

        UART

        1

        SPI

        1

        I2C

        1

        Analog Input Pins

        8 (ADC 12 bit 200 ksamples)

        Analog Output Pins

        Only through PWM (no DAC)

        External Interrupts

        all digital pins

        LED_BUILTIN

        13

        USB

        Native in the nRF52840 Processor

        IMU

        LSM9DS1 

        Microphone

        MP34DT05 

        Gesture, Light, Proximity

        APDS9960 

        Barometric Pressure

        LPS22HB 

        Temperature, Humidity

        HTS221 

        Dimension

        45 mm x 18 mm

        Weight

        5 gr (with headers)


        For IoT based projects:

        1. Arduino NANO 33 IoT

        Arduino NANO 33 IoT

        Microcontroller

        SAMD21 Cortex¬ģ-M0+ 32bit low power ARM MCU¬†

        Radio Module

        u-blox NINA-W102 

        Secure Element

        ATECC608A

        Operating Voltage

        3.3V

        Input Voltage (limit)

        21V

        DC Current Per I/O Pin

        7 mA

        Clock Speed

        48MHz

        CPU Flash Memory

        256KB

        SRAM

        32KB

        EEPROM

        none

        Digital Input / Output Pins

        14

        PWM PINS

        11 (2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 / A2, 17 / A3, 19 / A5)

        UART

        1

        SPI

        1

        I2C

        1

        Analog Input Pins

        8 (ADC 8/10/12 bit)

        Analog Output Pins

        1 (DAC 10 bit)

        External Interrupts

        All digital pins (all analog pins can also be used as interrput pins, but will have duplicated interrupt numbers)

        LED_Builtin

        13

        USB

        Native in the SAMD21 Processor

        IMU

        LSM6DS3 

        Dimensions

        45 mm x 18 mm


        Weight

        5 gr (with headers)

        2. Arduino UNO WiFi

        Arduino UNO WiFi

        Microcontroller

        ATmega4809 

        Operating Voltage

        5V

        Input Voltage (Recommended)

        7 - 12V

        Digital I/O Pins

        14 ‚ÄĒ 5 Provide PWM Output

        PWM Digital I/o Pins

        5

        Analog Input Pins

        6

        DC Current Per I/O Pin

        20 mA

        DC Current For 3.3V Pin

        50 mA

        Flash Memory

        48 KB (ATmega4809)

        SRAM

        6,144 Bytes (ATmega4809)

        EEPROM

        256 Bytes (ATmega4809)

        Clock Speed

        16 MHz

        Radio Module

        u-blox NINA-W102

        Secure Element

        ATECC608A 

        Inertial Measurement Unit

        LSM6DS3TR 

        LED_BUILTIN

        25

        Dimension

        68.6 mm x 53.4 mm

        Weight

        25 g

        3. Arduino NANO RP2040 Connect

        Arduino NANO RP2040 Connect

        Microcontroller

        Raspberry Pi¬ģ RP2040¬†

        USB Connector

        Micro USB

        Built-in LED pin

        13

        Digital I/O Pins

        20

        Analog Input Pins

        8 

        PWM Pins

        20 (Except A6, A7)

        External Interrupts

        20 (Except A6, A7)

        Wi-Fi

        Nina W102 uBlox module

        Bluetooth¬ģ

        Nina W102 uBlox module

        Secure Element

        ATECC608A-MAHDA-T Crypto IC

        IMU

        LSM6DSOXTR (6-axis)

        Microphone 

        MP34DT05

        UART

        Yes

        I2C

        Yes

        SPI

        Yes

        Circuit operating voltage

        3.3V

        Input Voltage (VIN)

        5-21V

        DC Current Per I/O Pin

        4 mA

        Clock Speed

        133 MHz

        Memory

        16MB Flash IC

        Nina W102 Ublox Module Memory

        448 KB ROM, 520KB SRAM, 16MB Flash

        Weight

        6 g

        Dimensions

        18 mm x 45 mm

        Conclusion:

        In this blog, we have gone through, what is Arduino? What can you do with Arduino? Types of Arduino boards. How do you select the right board for your needs? Advantages and Disadvantages of Arduino Boards and List of best Arduino boards. So by this information, we can select the best Arduino board that will be suitable for our applications.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. Which is the most popular Arduino board?

        The most popular Arduino board is Arduino UNO. This is very much suitable for beginners, who are starting their embedded systems journey.

        2. What is better Arduino Uno or Nano?

        Both are better in different applications. Arduino UNO is not a breadboard-friendly board. While Arduino NANO can be inserted into the breadboard. 

        3. Which is the best Arduino board for beginners?

        Arduino UNO or Arduino NANO will be best for beginners.

        4. Which is the Best Arduino board for robotics?

        Arduino Mega 2560 may be better for robotics projects. As it contains more GPIO pins as compared to other Arduino Boards.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. Which is the most popular Arduino board?

        The most popular Arduino board is Arduino UNO. This is very much suitable for beginners, who are starting their embedded systems journey.

        2. What is better Arduino Uno or Nano?

        Both are better in different applications. Arduino UNO is not a breadboard-friendly board. While Arduino NANO can be inserted into the breadboard. 

        3. Which is the best Arduino board for beginners?

        Arduino UNO or Arduino NANO will be best for beginners.

        4. Which is the Best Arduino board for robotics?

        Arduino Mega 2560 may be better for robotics projects. As it contains more GPIO pins as compared to other Arduino Boards.

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