Arduino Foundations

Basic electronics and software for success with Arduino projects

Here at House of Hacks, I’m excited to announce the imminent release of our first product for makers: Hacker’s Field Guide: Arduino Foundations.

This is an introduction to:

  • basic electronics components found in many Arduino starter kits and
  • the fundamentals of Arduino software to understand what the starter kit projects’ code is doing.

It is now available on Amazon Kindle.

Pre-order now!

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Hardware Guide
  • Software Guide
  • Integrated Development Environment
  • Arduino Selection
  • The Future




Thanks for joining me on the creative journey of using Arduinos! We’re all at different places along the way. Some of us have been traveling for a while and have accumulated a bit of knowledge. Some of us are just taking our first steps. Regardless of where we are, there’s always more to learn.

Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re close to the start of your travels and looking for some guidance. Sometimes the path can look steep and intimidating. This is natural. There is a lot to learn and absorb. If we look too far down the road, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by how high we need to climb. Just remember, every long journey is made up of a bunch of little steps.

I’m Harley and my goal is to guide you on the first steps of your travels. I’ve been making things in general and specifically involved in electronics as a hobby and software as a career since I was a kid in the 70s. I’ve traveled this road a bit and seen parts of it go from a cow path to a multi-lane highway and other parts that looked like a good path but ended up trailing off to no-where. Over the years much has grown and changed. This can look like an intimidating mountain. But the foundation is still the same. Hopefully, I can show you some of those fundamentals and before you know it, you’ll have climbed above the valley floor and be on your way to loftier vistas.

Early in our marriage, my wife and I wanted to get more involved in the outdoors. We did day hikes on the weekends and wanted more. We didn’t want to spend months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but we wanted adventure beyond going to a local campground and setting up a tent for the weekend. So, we connected with some friends who annually did week-long backpacking trips in Yosemite. They mentored us on what to pack, what not to pack and how to prepare in general. We had a great time with our friends and learned more about ourselves and each other.

In the same role our friends played in my wife’s and my outdoors journey, the intent of this book is to introduce you to the basics of making things with Arduinos. You’re probably someone who makes things. You’ve probably heard about Arduinos but are somewhat intimidated by the prospect of something new and beyond what you’ve done before. You might have done an Arduino project or two or you might be completely new to digital electronics. But you’ve found many tutorials and resources just tell you what to do and you’re looking to learn more about why you’re doing it. You’re probably not looking to get a degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science (at least not yet).

If this describes you, I expect you’ve probably already purchased, or at least have looked at, an Arduino starter kit. These are great to get your feet wet in the world of Arduino. They typically contain a selection of simple electronic components and what you need to temporarily connect things together to make those components do something. And they usually come with a small book that details how to assemble some projects along with the computer code to accomplish the task. This book is good as far as it goes. If you’re interested in pitching a tent at the local campground for the night, it’s great to show you the equivalent in the Arduino world.

But you want to go beyond this “monkey see, monkey do” approach.

This book is to help you understand the basics of “hook these components together this way and install this software.” I will explain what the components do and how the software functions to give you more confidence: more confidence to change existing projects to better match what you want to do and more confidence to start new projects from scratch that successfully do something new.

In this book I introduce:

  • the hardware components that are generally included with most Arduino starter kits,
  • enough software principles so you can understand the simple programs that are used with starter kit projects
  • how to setup your computer to start programming Arduinos and
  • a brief overview of the different types of Arduinos you can use on your projects.