How to Learn Arduino Without a Board: A Simple Guide


how-to-learn-arduino-without-a-board
Arduino Uno designed on Tinkercad by Sam F.

In case you want to learn and tinker with Arduino before buying one, I did some research on how to learn Arduino without a board and came out with this helpful post to explain how to do it.

So, how do you learn Arduino without a board? You can learn Arduino without a board by using the Tinkercad online simulator that allows you to modify a virtual Arduino, test, and compile code. As well as, get familiar and learn how an Arduino works.

So, you don’t have to “break the bank” before learning Arduino. Below I’ll also explain other ways you can learn even without using an online simulator plus how to see if your Arduino is broken or not.

How do I simulate Arduino projects?

You can simulate Arduino projects using Tinkercad; they have tons of tutorials and is entirely online. You can learn as a student-guided by a teacher or on your own, at your own pace.

Each lesson has easy to follow step by step instructions. You’ll learn things like how to assemble the electrical components, programming it with code, and also how to do 3d printing.

The best of Tinkercad, it’s all for free, and with no paid upgrades at the moment. You can apply anything you learn here to the real-life Arduino.

How do I start learning Arduino?

There are a few pathways to begin learning Arduino. Excellent places to start are the official Arduino Homepage, watching video tutorials like my coming soon YouTube channel, and reading blogs and forums.

You’ll discover resources on learning how to assemble the circuitry and programming language.

The programming language is the instructions or commands you write for bringing your Arduino to life.

The language is different from English or other languages, of course, since it targets and bound the components of a circuit board. Meaning, one can only write it in a particular way because of how a computer works.

The code you write goes through a compilation process, meaning the code turns into ones and zeroes. These ones and zeroes mean on or off, and they direct electrical current to particular parts of the computer. This makes your Arduino perform the actions you programmed it to do.

When you first learn the programming code, it can seem a bit strange, but once you get to master the basics, it’s quite straightforward.

The easiest way to learn an Arduino is to use either a simulator or purchase your own Arduino board.

The most popular board for beginners is the Arduino Uno.

“Arduino Uno” by Snootlab is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are also many other components you’ll likely want to try. Once you learn a few of the basics, you can branch out into more complex projects.

You could also learn C++. Programmers use C++ also to create the computer’s software. You can learn how to code them just by watching some tutorials and installing the required software.

A piece of advice here, it may be a bit overwhelming at the beginning since there are many topics to learn in C++, but trust me on this, you don’t need to know most of it to begin creating cool projects and using an Arduino.

Most programmers will have a brief overview and then search for the relevant information they need to fulfill the requirements of the project they’re making.

There’re many free and paid options to learn to program. The best free option is LearnCPP.com.

How do you program an Arduino board?

To program your Arduino board, you’ll need to use the Arduino IDE. The IDE is an integrated development environment.

IDE’s have an editor to write code into. They’ll also compile the code and show errors, with suggestions on how to fix them. Code rarely is without errors the first time you compile it.

You can download the Arduino IDE from the official Arduino website, which can be found here. This allows you to upload programs that you are creating to your Arduino so that they will run.

If your internet connection is reliable, you can use the online web editor. This way, you can save the code you write online as you write and in the cloud. So, if your computer dies or goes missing, you’ll still have the code you wrote.

How do you test an Arduino board?

1) Plugin your Arduino into a USB port on a computer; and 2) Look to see if the green LED power light is on.

“Arduino” by vormplus is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The LED power light on the most common Arduino boards (Mega, Uno, and Deumilanove) is next to the reset switch. If yours isn’t one of these models, then do a Google search for your model number and power light LED to see where it is or its specific color.

You can also check the manual that comes with your Arduino if you kept it.

These Arduino boards have software preloaded onto them, which causes an orange LED light in the middle of the board to flash on and off. Whenever you get none of these, then your board is likely not connected properly, or something is faulty.

When there’s no light turning on, it might not be receiving power, or the connection between the lights and the power might be broken.

Still not receiving power? then try a different USB port to see if the problem persists. If it does, check the steps below to see if your Arduino is broken.

Contact where the seller and see if it’s covered by a warranty. Usually, it is if you have not physically damaged the Arduino yourself, and you bought it from an official distributor.

How do I know if my Arduino is broken?

Use the steps below to check if you Arduino is broken:

  1. Do the above check to see if your Arduino is receiving power.
  2. If it’s receiving power, then open up the Device Manager. This is located in different places for each operating system. Do a Google search for device manager for your operating system. For example, Windows 8, Mac OS.
  3. If your Arduino isn’t showing under the active devices, then the driver is not installed correctly or hasn’t been installed yet. The driver’s installation is usually automatic. But sometimes, there can be a conflict with other software so it won’t. Do a Google search on how to install the Arduino Driver for the specific model Arduino and the operating system you’re using.
  4. Once you have successfully installed the drivers, it should work. If you cannot upload programs using the Arduino IDE, then you should try a different USB port.
  5. If that doesn’t work, try your Arduino on a different computer.

Conclusion

As you could learn in this article, you can learn Arduino without a board by using the TinkerCad online simulator. They provide training on how to create the hardware, and how to write software for it. You can apply everything you learn here, directly to a real Arduino.

You can also start learning Arduino on its official website, Arduino.cc, or learn C++ on its own. C++ language is the Arduino programming language, but it’s also a transferable skill to other programming languages and applications.

Stop postponing your Arduino projects because of their cost or not knowing how to buy the right board for you. Do not feel overwhelmed by learning the programming language. Understanding the basics, you can develop cool, exciting projects that will boost your interest in keeping on learning more.

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Francis Preneur

Hi there! I am Francis, a passionate physician, and entrepreneur who loves helping people to find high-quality products, services, and info that bring them solutions. I love Capoeira, Triathlon, Health Sciences, Tech, and Robotics.

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