Arduino Tutorial Lesson 0 - Getting prepared!

This lesson won't teach any electronics, really. Its more for making sure that everything is setup and ready for the future lessons. It will verify the Arduino is working as intended and that the computer you are using is compatible.

Do you have everything you need?

For this lesson you will need some stuff! Make sure you have this stuff or you will be unable to complete this lesson

Image Description Distributor
Assembled Arduino board, preferrably an Uno, Diecimila or Duemilanove (or whatever the latest version is) but NG is OK too


USB Cable. Standard A-B cable is required. Any length is OK.


9V DC power plug with 2.1mm barrel plug, positive tip



4 Rubber bumpers


These are included in Arduinos purchased from the Adafruit shop, otherwise any hardware store should have them.



Preparing the Arduino!

Take your Arduino out of its protective bag. Look at it and make sure it looks kinda like this:

Diecimila Arduino

Or like this:

NG Arduino

If there's anything missing or really wrong, make sure to contact the store you bought it from. For example, here is an Arduino that is missing the two round silver capacitors!

OK, now that you are satisfied that your Arduino looks good, put the rubber bumpers on the bottom of the board. This will protect your Arduino from spills and dirty tables. If your table is made out of metal, this is essential!

Download & Install Drivers

Depending on which Arduino and which OS you have there are different instructions

Power up! (USB)


Now we are ready for the moment of truth, it's time to plug your Arduino in and power it up. The most common way to do this is to plug one end of the USB cable into the Arduino and the other end into a computer. The computer will then power the Arduino.

The jumper-setting step is only for Diecimila and OLDER arduinos! Make sure the Power Jumper is set correctly. Right next to the USB jack, there is a jumper with 3 pins. If the jumper is on the two pins nearest USB jack, that means you are planning to power the Arduino via the USB cable. If it's on the two pins nearer the DC Jack then it means you are planning to power the Arduino using a 9V battery or wall adapter.

You'll want it set as shown in the picture above.

Make sure your cable is a A-B cable. One end should be thin, rectangular. The other end should be square.

Plug the thin end into your computer

Make sure that the USB cable is plugged in directly to a computer port. Sometimes monitors or keyboards have a USB port you can plug into. Most of the time this is fine, but I strongly suggest you plug it directly into the computer as that will eliminate any possible problems. Same goes for USB hubs.
Later on, once you've verified you can power the Arduino and upload sketches no problem, then you can try plugging it into other ports.

Plug the square end into your Arduino

You should get a small green light on the right side of the Arduino, as shown here.

And a few blinking orange lights, on the left side.

If you're plugging it into a Mac or Linux machine, you may not get as much blinking from the orange lights. The video is from plugging into a Windows computer.

If no lights or blinking occurs, double check:

If you still can't get it working, your Arduino may be faulty.

Next its time to install the driver! Follow these links for instructions for each of the supported operating systems

Power up! (9V DC, optional!)

Another way to power up the Arduino is to plug in a battery or wall adapter into the DC jack.

Verify that you have a 9V DC 100-500mA power adapter, with a 2.1mm barrel plug and positive tip. If the box doesn't have any information about the adapter, you can look for these clues

Make sure the symbol near the bottom of the label is present. It means that the outside of the plug is negative and the inside is positive. A center-negative plug will not work with the Arduino.

To verify the DC plug is the right shape, just try plugging it in. If it doesn't fit or is wobbly, it's the wrong kind.

You can learn how to test wall adapters using a multimeter here.

The jumper-setting step is only for Diecimila and OLDER arduinos! Make sure the Power Jumper is set correctly. The jumper should be set so that it connects the two pins close to the DC jack

Plug in the adapter and verify you get the green light!

If not, double check:

If you still can't get it working, your Arduino may be faulty.

September 2, 2013 11:08