Difference between Arduino and Microcontroller

I have been hearing the name Arduino since some time, but never took the time to know what it is. Most of the time it popped up in front of me was in the form of an advertisement of a blue colored development kit. I thought it was just a hardware development kit from ATMEL.

Finally came time to "shake hands" and say "Hi" to Mr. Arduino. So, here is what i came to know about Arduino,

What is Arduino ?

Arduino is a set of development boards that come with pre-tested hardware and software libraries. It means, you can by an Arduino board and start developing your project instantly. The boards are built around the AVR microcontroller as the base. Software libraries to run on the board are written and made available for free. 

Coding for Arduino:

Programming for Arduino board is to write program for an ATMEL AVR microcontroller, only difference being that the program for Arduino is written in its own language called the Arduino programming language. This language is the same familiar C programming language except that everything is ready for us to use. The program for reading and writing an EEPROM memory has already been written by someone. We just need to call the functions like,

EEPROM.write(address, value); 

Suppose if you want to print to the UART serial port, you don't need to initialize any registers or ports, just call,

Serial.print("Hello"); 

Arduino Hardware : 

Arduino hardware includes the main mother board (which houses the AVR microcontroller) and the Arduino shields. The shields are small breakout boards which contain hardware modules like Zigbee modules, EEPROM modules, Motor drivers etc designed to be able to easily connected with the Arduino board. 

Where to write code for Arduino?

Arduino has its own Arduino development environment to write the code, compile, debug and program the Arduino.

 Who should use Arduino?

Arduino is suitable for beginners in Embedded systems development and want to experiment with hardware programming and controlling the devices. That is why the programming part is so simplified in Arduino, So that anyone can use it. The boards are relatively inexpensive, and the software is free, so students can build their projects with ease with Arduino.

 So, what's the difference between Arduino and microcontroller?

In short, Arduino is made to help you use the microcontroller easily.

 

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About the Author


is the author of this blog and is a Embedded systems design engineer by profession & co-founder @ MARS Innovations

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