Arduino vs. Elegoo: How to Choose What’s Best for You


arduino-vs-elegoo-feature-image
Wondering which board would be better for your project? I got you covered!

When I first started working on Arduino projects, I did not know that other microcontrollers worked precisely like Arduino. I realized that when I came across this microcontroller named Elegoo. I thought I’d write this helpful article explaining the differences between the two boards and helping you choose the right one among the two boards. 

So, how can you choose what’s best for you? Just like Arduino, Elegoo is a brand that manufactures microcontrollers. Elegoo products follow the same schematics as Arduino. For now, the primary differentiating feature is the price. Elegoo products and kits are priced much lower than the original Arduino. On the other hand, in terms of the microcontroller boards’ quality, Arduino is better than Elegoo as it is a unique brand. 

Both products have the same features, as mentioned in their datasheets. Like Arduino, Elegoo has a family of boards to choose from, e.g., ELEGOO R3 Development Board, which uses ATmega328P microcontroller, ELEGOO MEGA Board, which uses ATmega2560 microcontroller. So, below I will compare these boards and talk about their pros and cons in detail.

What Are Microcontrollers?

Before we compare the two boards, let’s first understand what microcontrollers are and how they work. A microcontroller is like a little computer on a chip with more features than the first computers had. It has a processor, input/ output pins, a kilobyte or two of RAM for holding data, and EEPROM memory. The I/O pins link your electronics sensors (ultrasonic sensors) to your microcontroller, and you can use them to perform simple or complex tasks. All of the features are present in one board, including the memory, making it a versatile device.

Each of the microcontroller manufacturers produces dozens of different microcontrollers grouped into different families. Electronics hobbyists, like us, aren’t the only consumers of these microcontrollers. We play a tiny part in this market. Most microcontrollers end up embedding into consumer products, including cars, washing machines, DVD players, children’s toys, and even air fresheners.

Microcontrollers bring our dreams into reality. It specializes in interacting with the physical world, which attributes to the successful operation of these products. We can’t imagine living in a world without this magnificent device.

There’s additionally something called Microprocessors and SOCs (System on Chips), which help run our Desktop PCs and mobile phones, respectively. They all come under a subject called Embedded Systems. 

For further reading, check the content below:

Microprocessors vs. Microcontrollers vs. SoCs: All You Need to Know (appcodelabs.com).

Systems on a Chip (SOCs) as Fast As Possible (YouTube video from Techquickie).

What is Arduino? 

Arduino is a microcontroller platform that has ever facilitated and brought content to electronics hobbyists and enthusiasts. The company is open-source, meaning anyone is allowed to make Arduino compatible boards. Arduino has its programming language and Arduino Software (IDE-Integrated development environment).

arduino-integrated-development-environment-software
The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software.

Initially, Arduino introduced their board as an educator’s teaching tool without a background in electronics and programming. Arduino was born at the Ivrea Interaction Design Institute as an aid for quick prototyping. 

As the community began to develop, more and more applications and uses of Arduino came into being. It’s now used for prototyping and industry-level applications implementing IoT technologies and signal processing applications, which has led to Arduino’s success and popularity.

Another critical factor for its success is that all of its designs are available to other companies under the Creative Common’s License. As a result, this has allowed many low-cost alternatives to materialize. Moreover, there is a large number of Arduino-Compatible Boards that plug directly on top of the Arduino Board.

The following are just a few popular shields:

  • Motor, which drives motors
  • Relays, which switches relays from your Arduino
  • Ethernet, which gives an Arduino web serving applications
arduino-ethernet-shield
Arduino Ethernet Shield

Moving on to the next section, we’ll discuss another microcontroller called the Elegoo UNO R3.

How is Arduino Helpful?

Arduino helps to prototype and create projects envisioned by hobbyists to develop a product that can help bring real-life problems. It can range from solving a small issue of watering your potted plants to making your home completely automated.

One can use Arduino for industrial-level applications such as robots, also one can gather temperature and humidity data as well as monitoring. Using sensors, one can easily keep records and monitor data (moisture, flame, heat, IR sensor). These recorded data can be stored in the cloud to review it in the future. 

If you want to read more about IoT, check this great article below:

What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now (zdnet.com).

What is Elegoo?

Elegoo is a Chinese based company called Shenzhen Elegoo Technology Co., Ltd. Elegoo is known for making Mars resin 3-D printers. The company is also known for producing microcontrollers. 

One of the microcontrollers that the company produces is the Elegoo UNO R3. It is just like any other microcontroller (Arduino, Node MCU, etc.). It uses the ATMEGA328 blueprint (microcontroller chip of Arduino UNO) from the Arduino manufacturers. The company is committed to research on open source hardware, production, and marketing.

Elegoo UNO is a reproduced version of Arduino UNO R3. All the features and specifications, as mentioned in the datasheet, are practically the same.

elegoo-board
Elegoo Board’s Parts

Is Elegoo Any Good?

Yes, Elegoo works perfectly fine with Arduino IDE as long as you have all your drivers and software installed.

Sensors and modules like the LCD module, Temperature and Humidity Sensors, etc. will need to have their library files downloaded for the code to run.

Arduino Uno/Elegoo UNO Technical Specifications

MicrocontrollerATmega328P – 8-bit AVR family microcontroller
Operating Voltage5V
Recommended Input Voltage7-12V
Input Voltage Limits6-20V
Analog Input Pins6 (A0 – A5)
Digital I/O Pins14 (Out of which 6 provide PWM output)
DC Current on I/O Pins40 Ma
DC Current on 3.3V Pin50 Ma
Flash Memory32 KB (0.5 KB for Boot loader)
SRAM2 KB
EEPROM1 KB
Frequency (Clock Speed)16 MHz

What are their prices? Starter Kits:

  • Elegoo 

Elegoo Starter Kits have a CD with instructions, sample code, and library files for use with the Arduino integrated development environment. The development environment or IDE is a software one uses to write code for projects. There’s a free PDF tutorial on projects that can help save a lot of time otherwise required to search them. You can download the tutorials from their official website.

The Starter Kits:

This kit uses a different microcontroller, which is the ELEGOO MEGA 2560. It is cheaper than the basic Arduino Starter Kit. It has more number of components and modules. The Microcontroller chip used is ATmega2560. It is the same as the Arduino Mega 2560. It has 200 elements and also comes with a CD with at least 35 lessons. The technical specifications are as follows:

MicrocontrollerATmega2560 
Operating Voltage5V
Recommended Input Voltage7-12V
Input Voltage Limits6-20V
Analog Input Pins16 
Digital I/O Pins54 (Out of which 14 provide PWM output)
DC Current on I/O Pins40 mA
DC Current on 3.3V Pin50 mA
Flash Memory256 KB (0.5 KB for Boot loader)
SRAM8 KB
EEPROM4 KB
Frequency (Clock Speed)16 MHz
  • Arduino

One can quickly get started with electronics and programming using the Arduino Starter kit, which provides instructions in Multiple Languages. There’s a lesser number of components offered in comparison to the Elegoo Starter Kit.

The Starter Kits are:

The Arduino Starter Kit Multi-language is available for a price of $91.90. 

arduino-starter-kit
Arduino Starter Kit Multilanguage

The Arduino Fundamentals Bundle is available for a price of $99.90. This kit is mainly to take the Arduino Fundamentals exam to certify your knowledge of Arduino officially. You can complete dozens of lessons on their website once you’ve purchased this bundle. 

arduino-fundamentals-bundle
The Arduino Fundamentals Bundle comes with the lessons to get your certification.

 

Some differences one can find between Arduino and Elegoo.

Branding:Arduino is a name brand. Arduino is a company which has open-sourced its hardware and software under the Creative Common’s License.Elegoo used the blueprints and Schematics from Arduino. It is a seller of branded Arduino kits. Although they sourced their designs from Arduino, the company is also an open-source hardware research platform.
Cost:

 

Arduino products (boards and starter kits) are priced more than the other brands that have sourced their designs.

 

Elegoo products are less priced in comparison to Arduino. They offer more in terms of their starter kits for a reasonably lower price.

 

Quality:

 

Arduino is the original manufacturer; hence the quality of products they create is up to the standard.

 

Elegoo products almost match the Arduino in terms of quality.

 

Community:

 

Arduino is backed up by a massive community of Hobbyists and Electronic Enthusiasts that share ideas and tutorials. It is much easier to find assistance if you are in a fix.

 

Elegoo is a relatively new brand that started back in 2015. The community is yet to expand. In this case, Elegoo users are out of luck.

 

Starter kits:

 

As elaborated above, Arduino starter kits offer much less in terms of the number of components.

 

Elegoo has a wide variety of components in their Super Starter and Mega2560 kit.

 

Quality of Modules and SensorsThe Sensors and Modules Under Arduino are expensive but have no functionality issues.There’s not much difference between Elegoo and Arduino as most of the time. They source the components from different manufacturers. Often it comes from the same manufacturer.

Does Elegoo Work With Arduino IDE?

Yes, Arduino IDE is compatible with Elegoo. The instructions manual in the kit asks to download Arduino IDE from the official website. It is also necessary to download the necessary drivers to RUN the program on Elegoo UNO. The Arduino Programming Language is a simple Hardware programming language almost identical to that of C/C++.

Download the software HERE. 

Go to this website link to download the necessary files. Click on the Starter kit that you have purchased to download the necessary zip files.

The kit brings with it all the instructions and tutorials for downloading.

What’s Elegoo Programming Language?

As of now, there isn’t any programming language or software platform specially dedicated to Elegoo Users.

For now, users make use of Arduino IDE. The programming language is straightforward to use for students with prior knowledge of C/C++.

As a beginner, you don’t have to worry about anything. It is always fun and exciting to learn about new things and develop a deeper understanding. You have to put in a little bit of hard work to understand and write up the code. 

You can refer to the following link to get kick-started and begin your Electronics Journey:

Arduino Tutorial 1: Setting Up and Programming the Arduino for Absolute Beginners (YouTube video from Paul McWhorter).

Conclusion/Final Thoughts

In this article for Elegoo and Arduino, we begin with the essential introduction to microcontrollers. From there, we proceeded to compare Arduino and Elegoo only to find that Elegoo is a brand that sells Arduino Kits for lower prices.

My opinion on these products is that, although Arduino is more expensive, the modules and instructions they provide are more kid-friendly. If you want your kid to take the first step in STEM-related stuff, I would recommend trying out Arduino. It is straightforward to get assistance, as there are many sources. You can simulate simple circuits on online tools like TinkerCad, Circuit IO.

Also, Arduino was established first and is an open-source platform. Supporting Arduino products helping support the original creators whose designs are being capitalized by other brands.

I would recommend using Elegoo kits only when you have had experience handling or know how to use Microcontrollers. I have to admit Elegoo does a better job providing more components to customers at a lower price in terms of quantity.

In case you want to give a kit to your kids or some other children, I would recommend purchasing Arduino. If you are a hobbyist and enthusiast, Elegoo kits are much more useful for doing more projects as you already have most of the things you need in your Workshop.

You can also hybridize your choices by buying the original Arduino board and purchasing components on Elegoo. It would be helpful to check out customer reviews on YouTube and Amazon. 

To learn more about TinkerCad.

https://www.tinkercad.com/ 

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