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Old 12-29-2016, 03:48 PM   #1
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Default cheap chinese arduino clone's

After reading various topics about the arduino controlled dividing head ,
and after being reassured by some other members that the programming
of the arduino isn't that hard at all , I decided to give it a try .

Here are my first experiances , snags hit , and some random thoughts .

First thing I did was get me an arduino for dummies .
Buy it , or search for it on the net . There are pdf's and epubs out there to read it on a tablet
It starts at the very possiblest basic entry level , sometimes a little to basic even for a dummy like me , and guides you trough the setup and uploading a sketch . Then some basic proramming with increasing difficulty .

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Old 12-29-2016, 04:00 PM   #2
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After reading the book , it was time to actually get me an arduino .
Searched my favorite auction site and found this :

Arduino Uno (clone) 4.68$
LCD and button shield 3.30$
I2C lcd interface 1.10 $
All with shipping included , I like that .
So I spend a whopping 9.10$ for the electronics .
Won't go broke , even if I can't get it to work right

I opted for an arduino uno with a mini usb instead of the normal square and pretty large usb .
This way I can power the board with a phone charger .

The lcd button shield is needed for the rotary controller to work , or at least to experiment with the software .

The small pcb is a kind of serial to parallel adaptor , allowing you to drive an LCD with only two lines , thus freeing up
several lines to do other things .
Not all dividing programs will need this , but I ordered it just in case .
The button shield and the I2C adaptor cannot be used together as they are . If ever I get that far I will elaborate

Downside of the cheap shipping is that it takes close to 4 weeks to get here .

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Old 12-29-2016, 04:13 PM   #3
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So deep breath , and go for it .

Installing the software ( IDE ) is pretty straightforward as explained in the book .

Hookup the arduino board and ...... nothing .
The software won't talk to the board .
Windows won't install or can't find the right driver .
Trying to force it , after all I do have an arduino uno right , doesn't help .

The reason is the chinese clone uses a different usb chip , and the drivers trhat come with the arduino software are not compatible with this chip .
If you have a chip marked CH340 on your chinese board , you'll need this driver .

The driver will assign a com port to your arduino .
In my case it was com3 .

Tell the arduino software you have an arduino uno on COMx and it should be good to go .

Then I hit another snag .
When i tried again , I used a different usb port on my laptop , and suddenly it was com4 instead of com3 . Not a big problem , just replug it , or reconfigure the software to use com4 . But once again , it took me a while to figure it out
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Old 12-29-2016, 04:25 PM   #4
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Once you get the communication going , time to upload the first sketch .
It's all very wel document in the book .

Hell yeah , I managed to make a led blink , I'm a programmer now .WOW
Wel not in the least , but it sure felt that way

Then i installed the button shield , and tested it with a few sample sketches that drive the lcd and test the buttons .
Google for lcd button shield , see if you can identify your shield and download the test software for it . I found at least 3 different versions , you'll have to identify yours on sight .

So I eagerly plugged in the shield , uploaded the test sketch - hey I'm a programmer remember - and once again .... nothing happend .
The backlight goes on with a beautiful blue glow , so that's ok . But no text , no reaction to the buttons being pressed .

Damn , the "programmer " in me suddenly got a lot smaller .

Until I noticed a small trim potentiometer on the upper left corner of the shield . This is the contrast adjustement .
Yep that does it , turned it up and the letters start to appear .
Silly isn't it , but for a total noob ....

That 's it for now , to be continued .
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:39 AM   #5
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I got a Arduino clone kit for Christmas, so this is timely. I'll be following along.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:23 AM   #6
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Hi stragen
First thing I bought was an Arduino development kit and soon after came the Arduino for Dummies book. A lot of people say to stay away from the Chinese clones but Iíve been messing around with them for about a year now and have had no problems at all that I didnít cause. Locally the cheapest I can get an Arduino Uno is around $35.00 and at Banggood there going for $5.67 Canadian pesoís with free shipping and no taxes. Of course the down side is that nothing comes with a manual and takes a month to arrive.

Have fun Bob

Alberta, Canada
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