The Arduino is a hardware board, based around a micro-controller and a series of I/O options. In short the Arduino is a programmable device which can get/set the state of various I/O lines - there are several different versions with varying amounts of RAM, I/O, and form-factors.
There are several different starter-kits you can buy which are based upon an Arduino-board and a collection of components such as LCD-displays, LEDs, and similar.
The official starter kit is a decent bundle, but you can find much cheaper and larger options via other online retailers such as AliExpress. The difference in the non-official bundles is largely that the cheaper bundles actually contain more components, albeit frequently with less good documentation.
For me personally I found that having built-in WiFi meant that the ESP8266-based hardware was more interesting than the Arduino, so I switched to using that exclusively.
These are some of the initial things I wrote up, before I migrated to working with the ESP8266-based devices (largely because they have on-board WiFi which makes them more immediately useful to me).
- Absolute Arduino Basics
This brief guide describes the basics of getting started; connecting the board, discovering its name, installing the appropriate software and compiling your first program.
- Binary Counter
This is a simple project that uses eight LEDs to display numbers from 0-255 in binary.
- Message display & acknowledgement
This project is capable of receiving a message via the serial-line and displaying it upon an LCD-display. The message will persist until it is dismissed by the press of a button.
This builds upon the work in the starter-kit, and isn't too difficult to build or code.
- Simple MP3 Player
This project, requiring the purchase of an MP3-playback shield, gives you non-stop random audio - read from an SD-card.
- 4-Digit 7-Segment Display
This simple guide demonstrates how to wire up a 4-digit seven-segment display to an Arduino, using 12 wires, and display numbers. In this example we use the