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Install Arduino Development Environment and test with Blink! using Arduino Pro Mini

 

In this post, we’ll download the Arduino software and install it on a Windows 10 computer.  Then, we’ll program an Arduino Pro Mini to flash an LED.  This very simple project is equivalent to writing a “Hello World” program in most programming languages, but it serves as a way to verify your environment is setup for more advanced development.

What’s required?

To follow along you’ll need the following hardware:

list-of-parts

– Arduino Pro Mini is the processor that we’ll be using

– Header pins are used to connect the Arduino to the breadboard

– 1 LED will be needed so we have something to blank (not shown)

– 1 breadboard wire will be needed so we can connect the LED to the Arduino’s ground (not shown)

– Breadboard so we can plug everything in

– FTDI Basic Breakout Board 3.3V – available from Sparkfun – so we can program the Arduino Pro Mini

– USB Cable with a Mini-B USB connector on one side and a  type-B plug on the other side.  The Mini-B connects to the FTDI Basic and the type-B connects to your computer.

Step 1:  Download Arduino Software

Navigate to the following page and download the appropriate installer package for your operating system.

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

Since I’m installing on Windows 10, I selected the Windows installer.

Step 2:  Run the Arduino Installer

After the installer downloads, double click on it to launch and then take the default options. After the installation completes, you should have an icon on your desktop similar to:

arduino-on-desktop

Step 3: Solder header pins on the Arduino Pro Mini

To attach the Arduino Pro Mini to a breadboard, you’ll need to solder the header pins on both of the long sides and on the short end.  The header pins on the short end are for connecting the FTDI breakout board to the Arduino board.  I prefer the right angle header pins for the FTDI hook-up, but if all you have are straight header pins they work just as well.

Here’s an image of my Arduino Pro Mini with header pins soldered.

header-pins

Step 4:  Connect the Arduino onto a breadboard and wire up an LED that we will blink

The blink program we will be using will raise and lower the voltage on pin 13.  Hook up your Arduino and LED as shown in the image below.

fritzing-blink

Step 5:  Connect the FTDI to the Arduino and to the computer’s USB

Previously, when I was using Windows Vista (that’s a little embarrassing to admit), I had to download FTDI USB drivers.  Thankfully, when I upgraded to Windows 10, the FTDI USB drivers were included.  All I had to do to connect the Arduino to my computer was to plug it in.

hooked-up

 

Step 6:  Start Arduino Software

To start the software, just double click on the Arduino desktop icon or if you prefer.

Step 7:  Load the blink example

The Arduino software comes with many examples that you can use as starting points.  Since the blink program is so simple, we will use the one that is included in the examples.

Select File > Examples > 01.Basics > Blink

which will load the blink sketch into your editor.

arduino-blink

 

Step 8:  Set your Arduino Version

The Arduino development environment supports a wide range of Arduino boards.  Before you can program your board, you need to tell the development environment which board you have.  In the image below, I have selected the Arduino Pro Mini option as my board.

set-arduino

Step 8:  Compile the sketch and upload to the Arduino

To compile the blink sketch, press the toolbar button that compiles and uploads the program to the Arduino Pro Mini.  If the compile and upload is successful, a message will shown on the bottom pane that says “Done uploading” and additional text will tell you the size of the program.

arduino-blink-load

Step 9:  Watch your LED blink

After all of your work, you can sit back and enjoy the blinking LED.

blink