SIK Experiment Guide for Arduino - V3.2

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This tutorial covers concepts or technologies that are no longer current.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: SIK Experiment Guide for Arduino - V3.3

Contributors: HelloTechie
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Introduction: SIK Arduino Uno

The SparkFun Inventor's Guide is your map for navigating the waters of beginning embedded electronics. This guide contains all the information you will need to explore the 16 circuits of the SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino. At the center of this guide is one core philosophy - that anyone can (and should) play around with electronics. When you're done with this guide, you'll have the know-how to start creating your own projects and experiments. Now enough talking - let's get inventing!

SparkFun Inventor's Kit with Arduino Uno R3

SparkFun Inventor's Kit (for Arduino Uno) - V3.2

22 Retired

Here is all the parts in the SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino:

  • Arduino Uno R3 - The Arduino Uno is one of the more popular boards in the Arduino family and a great choice for beginners.
  • Arduino and Breadboard Holder - A nice holder for your RedBoard and breadboard
  • Breadboard - Excellent for making circuits and connections off the Arduino.
  • Carrying Case - Take your kit anywhere with ease
  • SparkFun Mini Screwdriver - To help you screw on your RedBoard to the holder
  • 16x2 White on Black LCD (with headers) - This is a basic 16 character by 2 line display with a snazzy black background with white characters.
  • 74HC595 Shift Register- Simple shift register IC. Clock in data and latch it to free up IO pins on your RedBoard.
  • 2N2222 Transistors - This little transistor can help in your project by being used to help drive large loads or amplifying or switching applications.
  • 1N4148 Diodes - This is a very common signal diode - 1N4148. Use this for signals up to 200mA of current.
  • DC Motor with Gear - It works well for basic things like making a fan or spinning something pretty fast without much resistance.
  • Small Servo - Here is a simple, low-cost, high quality servo for all your mechatronic needs.
  • SPDT 5V Relay - This is a high quality Single Pole - Double Throw (SPDT) sealed relay. Use it to switch high voltage, and/or high current devices. This relay’s coil is rated up to 12V, with a minimum switching voltage of 5V.
  • TMP36 Temp Sensor - A sensor for detecting temperature changes.
  • Flex sensor - As the sensor is flexed, the resistance across the sensor increases
  • Softpot - By pressing down on various parts of the strip, the resistance linearly changes from 100Ohms to 10,000Ohms allowing you to very accurately calculate the relative position on the strip.
  • SparkFun USB Mini-B Cable - This 6' cable provides you with a USB-A connector at the host end and mini-B connector at the device end.
  • Male to Male jumper wires - These are high quality wires that allow you to connect the female headers on the Arduino to the components and breadboard.
  • Photocell - A sensor to detect ambient light. Perfect for detecting when a drawer is opened or when night-time approaches.
  • Tri-Color LED - Because everyone loves a blinky.
  • Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green LEDs - Light emitting diodes make great general indicators.
  • Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green Tactile Buttons - Go crazy with different colored buttons
  • 10K Trimpot - Also known as a variable resistor, this is a device commonly used to control volume, contrast, and makes a great general user control input.
  • Piezo Buzzer - Use this to make sounds and songs
  • 330 Ohm Resistors - Great current limiting resistors for LEDs, and strong pull-up resistors.
  • 10k Ohm Resistors - These make excellent pull-ups, pull-downs, and current limiters.

Experiment List

In this SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino guide, you will learn the following:

Please note: Experiments marked with \*\*double asterisks\*\* are for both the Sparkfun Mini Inventor's Kit and the Arduino SIK V3.2. Experiments without asterisks will only be available to those who purchased the Arduino SIK V3.2.

What is the Arduino platform?

The DIY Revolution

We live in a unique time where we have access to resources that allow us to create our own solutions and inventions. The DIY revolution is composed of hobbyists, tinkerers and inventors who would rather craft their own projects than let someone do it for them.

A Computer for the Physical World

The Arduino in your hand (or on your desk) is your development platform. It is capable of taking inputs (such as the push of a button or a reading from a light sensor) and interpreting that information to control various outputs (like a blinking LED light or an electric motor).

That's where the term "physical computing" is born - this board is capable of taking the world of electronics and relating it to the physical world in a real and tangible way. Trust us - this will all make more sense soon.

The Uno is a great choice for your first Arduino. It’s got everything you need to get started, and nothing you don’t. It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a USB connection, a power jack, a reset button and more. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started. Check out our What is an Arduino? tutorial, to learn more about Arduino.

Connect your Arduino Uno R3 to your Computer

Use the USB cable provided in the SIK kit to connect the Arduino Uno to one of your computer’s USB inputs.

Download the Arduino IDE

In order to get your Arduino Uno R3 up and running, you'll need to download the newest version of the Arduino software first from (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 programs. With an internet-capable computer, open up your favorite browser and go to Arduino download page.

Check out our Installing Arduino IDE tutorial, to see in detail on how to install the Arduino IDE on your computer.

Getting Started in the Arduino IDE

Now, it's finally time to open up the Arduino software. You'll be presented with a window that looks a little something like this:

Arduino IDE annotated

  1. Verify: Compiles and approves your code. It will catch errors in syntax (like missing semi-colons or parenthesis).
  2. Upload: Sends your code to the RedBoard. When you click it, you should see the lights on your board blink rapidly.
  3. New: This buttons opens up a new code window tab.
  4. Open: This button will let you open up an existing sketch.
  5. Save: This saves the currently active sketch.
  6. Serial Monitor: This will open a window that displays any serial information your RedBoard is transmitting. It is very useful for debugging.
  7. Sketch Name: This shows the name of the sketch you are currently working on.
  8. Code Area: This is the area where you compose the code for your sketch.
  9. Message Area: This is where the IDE tells you if there were any errors in your code.
  10. Text Console: The text console shows complete error messages. When debugging, the text console is very useful.
  11. Board and Serial Port: Shows you what board and the serial port selections

Before we can start jumping into the experiments, there are a couple adjustments we need to make.

Select your board: Arduino Uno

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.

Arduino IDE board selection

Select a Serial Port

Next up we need to tell the Arduino IDE which of our computer's serial ports the Arduino Uno R3 is connected to. For this, again go up to Tools, then hover over Port (Serial Port in older Arduino versions) and select your Arduino Uno R3's serial port.

Window Users: This is likely to be com3 or higher (COM1 and COM2 are usually reserved for hardware serial ports). To find out, you can disconnect your Arduino Uno R3 and re-open the menu; the entry that disappears should be the Arduino Uno R3. Reconnect the board and select that serial port.

Port Selection

Arduino IDE version 1.6.1 serial ports is under "Port." In older versions it is under "Serial Port"

Mac Users: Select the serial device of the Arduino Uno R3 from the Tools, then hover over Port. (You will be hovering over Serial Port if you have older versions of the Arduino IDE) On the Mac, this should be something with /dev/tty.usbmodem or /dev/tty.usbserial in it.

Mac Port Selection

Arduino IDE version 1.6.1 serial ports is under "Port."

Linux Users: Please visit the Arduino Learning Linux section, to learn more about Arduino on Linux.

Download Arduino Code

You are so close to to being done with setup! Download the SIK Guide Code. Click the following link to download the code:

SIK Guide Code

Copy “SIK_Guide_Code_32” into “examples” folder in the Arduino folder.

Window Users: Unzip the file “SIK_Guide_Code_32”. It should be located in your browser’s “Downloads” folder. Right click the zipped folder and choose “unzip”. Copy the “SIK Guide Code” folder into Arduino’s folder named “examples”.

Mac Users: Unzip the file “SIK_Guide_Code_32”. It should be located in your browser’s “Downloads” folder. Right click the zipped folder and unzip. Find “Arduino” in your applications folder. Right click (ctrl + click) on “Arduino”. Select “Show Package Contents”. Then, click through folders Contents > Resources > Java > examples. Copy the “SIK Guide Code” folder into Arduino’s folder named “examples”.

Linux Users: Please visit the Arduino Learning Linux section, to learn more about Arduino on Linux.

Suggested Reading

Before continuing on with this tutorial, we recommend you be somewhat familiar with the concepts in the following tutorial:

  • How to Use a Breadboard - First time working with a breadboard? Please check out this tutorial! It will help you understand why the breadboard is a great for prototyping and how to use one.

Time for the fun part!

Continue on to the first experiment and in no time you will be blinking an LED!