Activity Guide for SparkFun Tinker Kit

This Tutorial is Retired!

This tutorial covers concepts or technologies that are no longer current. It's still here for you to read and enjoy, but may not be as useful as our newest tutorials.

View the updated tutorial: Tinker Kit Circuit Guide

Contributors: Joel_E_B, bboyho
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Install the Arduino IDE

The following steps are a basic overview of getting started with the Arduino IDE. For more detailed, step-by-step instructions for setting up the Arduino IDE on your computer, please check out the following tutorial.

Installing Arduino IDE

March 26, 2013

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Download the Arduino IDE

In order to get your microcontroller up and running, you'll need to download the newest version of the Arduino software first (it's free and open source!).

This software, known as the Arduino IDE, will allow you to program the board to do exactly what you want. It’s like a word processor for writing code.

Connect the Microcontroller to your Computer

Use the USB cable provided in the kit to connect the included microcontroller to one of your computer’s USB inputs.

Install FTDI Drivers

Depending on your computer’s operating system, you will need to follow specific instructions. Please go to How to Install FTDI Drivers, for specific instructions on how to install the FTDI drivers onto your RedBoard.

USB Serial Driver Quick Install

August 31, 2017

How to install USB serial drivers on Windows, MacOS , and Linux.

Select your Board: Arduino/Genuino Uno

Before we can start jumping into the experiments, there are a couple adjustments we need to make. This step is required to tell the Arduino IDE which of the many Arduino boards we have. Go up to the Tools menu. Then hover over Board and make sure Arduino Uno is selected.

Please note: Your SparkFun RedBoard and the Arduino UNO are interchangeable but you won’t find the RedBoard listed in the Arduino Software. Select “Arduino/Genuino Uno” instead.

Select a Serial Port

Next up we need to tell the Arduino IDE which of our computer's serial ports the microcontroller is connected to. For this, again go up to Tools, then hover over Port (Serial Port in older Arduino versions) and select your RedBoard or Arduino's serial port. This will be the same serial port seen when installing FTDI drivers.

With that, you're now ready to begin building your first circuit!