Arduino at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs

Michael Shiloh

Introduction to Arduino Classes

IT will be offering three-hour introductory hands-on classes on the open source hardware platform Arduino on August 22. Two identical classes will be available, one from 9 a.m. to noon and one from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The classes will cover Arduino basics, and all materials will be provided. Scientists throughout the world are making use of inexpensive Arduino hardware in experiments; this course will provide the foundation to help you understand how Arduino can help with your work. For more information and to register, visit the IT Website.

  • Lots of material to cover so I’ll move fast, but please interrupt anytime with questions. Goal is to have fun, not cram for a test
  • Programming and electronic concepts interspersed throughout hands-on activities rather than a lecture/lab model


  • Installation, blink
  • digitalWrite()
    • Review Blink sketch
    • Add an external LED, first by plugging directly in pin 13, then breadboard
    • Experiment with a second LED in parallel to learn how holes in breadboard are connected.
    • Current limiting resistor: How and why
    • Actuators, and how Arduino controls them: HIGH and LOW voltage levels
  • analogRead()
    • Sensors, and how Arduino reads them: Voltage (in contrast with actuators)
    • Photoresistor needs Voltage Divider to convert resistance to voltage
    • Arduino->File->Examples->Basics->AnalogReadSerial
    • Analog Read Serial tutorial
  • Linking input and output
  • digitalRead()
  • analogWrite()
    • What might analogWrite() be?
    • move LED to pwm pin
    • Photoresistor controls brightness
    • AnalogInOutSerial tutorial

Examples of Projects for Inspiration

Topics for Further Exploration

  • Mix it up: switch controls speed, switch choses between two brightness levels, thermistor changes behavior, etc.
  • Boolean logic, tests, and conditionals
  • High current loads (e.g. motors) and transistors
    • irlb8721pbf datasheet
    • Using a transistor to control high current loads with an Arduino tutorial from NYU ITP
  • Loops and Files->Examples->Analog->Fading
  • Making sounds: Melody tutorial

Where to go next

Kit Contents

  • Arduino Uno
  • USB cable
  • Prototyping
    • Solderless Breadboard
    • Jumper wires
  • Output devices (actuators)
    • LEDs
    • 5-9V DC Motor with leads
    • Piezo element (passive, so can be used both as a sensor and an actuator)
  • Input devices (sensors)
    • Light dependent resistor (CdS cell)
    • Thermistor
    • Piezo element (passive, so can be used both as a sensor and an actuator)
  • Helper components
    • 220 ohm resistors
    • 10K resistors
    • 1K resistors
    • MOSFET irlb8721pbf
    • 9V battery case with 2.1mm plug for Arduino
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