Different types of Arduino boards

Types of Arduino

Arduino is an easy-to-use open platform for creating electronic projects. Arduino boards play a vital role in creating different projects. It makes electronics accessible to non-engineers, hobbyists, etc.

The various components present on the Arduino boards are Microcontroller, Digital Input/output pins, USB Interface and Connector, Analog Pins, Reset Button, Power button, LED’s, Crystal Oscillator, and Voltage Regulator. Some components may differ depending on the type of board.

The most standard and popular board used over time is Arduino UNO. The ATmega328 Microcontroller present on the UNO board makes it rather powerful than other boards. There are various types of Arduino boards used for different purposes and projects. The Arduino Boards are organized using the Arduino (IDE), which can run on various platforms. Here, IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment.

Arduino UNO R3

Arduino Uno R3

Arduino Uno is the most popular and widely used development board. It is powered by an ATMega328P microcontroller. It is the most popular choice among the community because it’s, cheap, easy to learn and use, and also a variety of premade modules are available for this which makes it easier for developing new projects or prototypes. It consists of 14Digital I/O out of which 6 pins are 8bit PWM pins, 6 pins are10-bit Analog inputs, and basic communication ports like SPI, I2C, and UART.

Now, there are many different types of Arduino UNO boards available across the global market, but most of these boards are the clone or copy version of the original UNO board that you see above. Hence the color or the appearance of the board might be different than what is shown above.

Arduino Nano

Arduino Nano is a small breadboard-friendly version of Arduino UNO. It has more or less functionality of the Arduino UNO but in a small form factor. The only major differences from UNO are the lack of a DC power jack, the usage of a Mini USB port instead of a USB B port, and the USB-TTL converter chip. Nano uses an FT232, a dedicated USB-UART bridge chip from FTDI instead of an ATMega16U2. It is also a very popular choice among the developers just like UNO because of its small size and cheap price.

Arduino Mega2560 Rev3

Arduino Mega 2560 is the biggest of all the boards we have discussed so far. It is designed for applications where a lot of I/O or peripherals are needed. It is powered by a bigger and more capable processor the ATMega2560. This board has the greatest number of I/O than most other boards, 54 I/O pins (of which 15 can be used as PWM outputs), 16 analog inputs, and 4 UARTs. It has more flash storage and SRAM than most other basic Arduino boards. It is most popular with the open-source CNC and 3D printer community as well as the open-source PLC community.

Arduino PRO Mini

Pro mini is actually a cut-down version of Nano. It has most of the functionalities similar to Arduino Nano but it lacks the onboard USB -TTL bridge and the USB port. Instead, it has a header, in which the UART pins are brought out. We can use these pins to program the Pro mini using an external USB-UART module. This board is specially meant for applications where the space is limited. Pro mini is available in two versions, 3.3V, and 5v versions. In the 3.3V version, the CPU speed is limited to 8MHz because of certain limitations of ATMega328 for better stability.

Arduino Lilypad

The Arduino LilyPad was initially created for wearable projects and e-textiles. It is based on the ATmega168 Microcontroller. The functionality of Lilypad is the same as other Arduino Boards. It is a round, light-weight board with a minimal number of components to keep the size of board small.

The Arduino Lilypad board was designed by Sparkfun and Leah. It was developed by Leah Buechley. It has 9 digital I/O pins.

Arduino Leonardo

Arduino Leonardo is powered by an ATmega32U4 chip rather than the ATMega328P chip which is used in all the previously mentioned boards. It has more IO pins (20) and more PWM (7) and analog input (12) pins. One other major difference is that the ATMega32U4 has built-in USB communication eliminating the need for a second processor or a dedicated USB to UART bridge chip. This allows the board to connect to a computer as a Human Interface Device (HID) or as a Virtual (CDC) serial / COM port. We use this Virtual COM port along with the bootloader to program the Leonardo.

Arduino Micro

Just like Arduino Nano is a UNO in a small form factor, Arduino Micro is actually a Leonardo in a small form-factor breadboard-friendly sized board. Its functionalities are the same as the Arduino Leonardo. The only difference is the lack of a DC input jack. Similarly, Arduino Micro can also act as an HID or Virtual COM port device.

Arduino Mega2560 Rev3

Arduino Mega 2560 is the biggest of all the boards we have discussed so far. It is designed for applications where a lot of I/O or peripherals are needed. It is powered by a bigger and more capable processor the ATMega2560. This board has the greatest number of I/O than most other boards, 54 I/O pins (of which 15 can be used as PWM outputs), 16 analog inputs, and 4 UARTs. It has more flash storage and SRAM than most other basic Arduino boards. It is most popular with the opensource CNC and 3D printer community as well as the opensource PLC community.

Enhanced Features Boards

Arduino boards in this category are meant for projects where advanced functionalities and faster performance is needed.

*click on the above image for full view

Arduino Nano 33 BLE

The Nano 33 BLE is a more powerful board from Arduino in the same form factor as the popular Arduino Nano. Even though it has the same size, it is more powerful than the Nano. It is powered by a more advanced NRF52480 from Nordic Semiconductors, a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 CPU running at 64MHz. The larger 1MB flash and 256KB SRAM make it the better choice where a lot of memory is needed. The main feature of this board is there in the name itself – BLE, Bluetooth Low Energy. The Nano 33BLE can be both BLE and Bluetooth client and the host device. In this era, where everything is connected together this will allow us to develop energy-efficient wearables.

There is also another variant of Nana33 BLE available named Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense with some additional sensors on board. Such as 9 axis inertial sensor, humidity and temperature sensor, barometric sensor, microphone, and gesture, proximity, light color, light intensity sensor.

Arduino MKR Zero

The Arduino MKR Zero is a development board meant for music makers or music-related projects. It has an onboard SD connector and dedicated SPI interface, which can be used for I2S communication. I2S is the most common communication protocol used for digital audio. The MKR Zero is powered by a powerful 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ SAMD21 MCU. It’s a 3.3V device and not tolerable to 5V. Another main advantage of this board is that we can power it with a LiPo battery through the onboard Battery connector. The battery monitoring is also easy since the connection between the battery and the ADC is already implemented on the board.

Arduino UNO WIFI Rev2

As the name suggests we can consider it as a UNO with an additional feature. Even though it is in the same form factor as Arduino Uno the components and features are entirely different. This board is powered by an ATMega4809 MCU and it uses u-blox NINA-W102 for WIFI and Bluetooth communication. The NINA SoC with integrated TCO/IP protocol stack makes it easier to access a Wi-Fi network or to act as an access point. The board also has an onboard crypto chip accelerator, ECC608, for enhanced security and an IMU for Inertial measurement.

Arduino Due

The Arduino Due is like an upgraded Arduino Mega and has the same form factor as the Mega but it is powered by a more powerful 32-bit ARM microcontroller. Just like Mega, Due has 54 Digital I/Os and 12 Analog inputs. The powerhouse of this board is an Atmel SAM3x8E Arm Cortex -M3 CPU. Due runs at a higher clock speed of 84MHz and has additional interfaces like USB OTG, DAC, and JTAG. Also, keep in mind that Due is a 3.3V only device and its I/Os are not 5V tolerant.

Arduino MKR Vidor 4000

The Arduino MKR Vidor 4000 is a very special board with a very special feature that no other Arduino boards have – an onboard FPGA chip. With the onboard Intel Cyclone 10CL016 FPGA, this board is highly configurable and powerful. Vidor 4000 can perform high-speed digital audio and video processing. Even you can make your own controller within the FPGA. The board also has some more advanced features such as a Micro-HDMI connector, MIPI camera connector, and Wi-Fi and BLE powered by the NINA W102 module. It also supports LiPo batteries through the onboard connector. The Vidor 4000 is powered by SAMD21 Cortex M0+ MCU.

Arduino Zero

Arduino Zero is another board with the same form factor as the UNO. Even though the size and shape are the same, Arduino Zero is much more powerful and feature-rich than the UNO. The board is powered by Atmel’s SAMD21 MCU, which is a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ MCU. One of the important features of Arduino Zero is the Embedded Debugger or the EDBG, which provides a full debug interface without the need for an external debugger or any other additional hardware. EDBG also supports a virtual COM port, which can be used to program the board.

What Are the Main Differences between These Boards?

The Arduino Uno is one of the most commonly used Arduino boards. It features a microcontroller, a USB port, a power jack, and digital and analog input/output (I/O) pins. The Uno is a good choice for beginners and for projects that don’t require a lot of complex processing or a lot of I/O pins. The Arduino Nano is a smaller version of the Uno. It has the same microcontroller and I/O pin layout as the Uno, but it is much smaller and more compact. This makes it a good choice for projects where space is at a premium, such as when building a project into a small enclosure or when trying to minimize the size of your project.

The Arduino Mega is a larger version of the Uno. It has more I/O pins, more memory, and more processing power than the Uno or Nano. This makes it a good choice for projects that require a lot of processing power or that need to interface with a lot of external devices. The Arduino Leonardo is similar to the Uno, but it has some key differences. It has a microcontroller that is capable of emulating a keyboard or mouse, which makes it a good choice for projects that need to interact with a computer. It also has a built-in USB connection, which makes it easy to connect to a computer without the need for a separate USB-to-serial adapter.

Overall, the type of Arduino board you choose will depend on the specific needs of your project. If you’re just getting started with Arduino and don’t have a specific project in mind, the Arduino Uno is a good place to start. As you gain more experience and have more specific requirements for your projects, you can choose from the other available boards to find the one that best meets your needs.

Conclusion

Arduino boards are popular among hobbyists, makers, and students because they are versatile, easy to use, and affordable. Arduino boards are open-source, which means that the hardware and software designs are freely available and can be modified by users. This makes Arduino boards a good platform for experimentation and learning.

Arduino boards are easy to use, even for beginners. They come with a simple and intuitive programming environment that allows users to quickly create and upload code to the board. Arduino boards are widely supported, with a large community of users and developers who share knowledge, resources, and projects online. This makes it easy for users to find help and support when they need it.

Arduino boards are versatile, with a wide range of different models available that cater to different needs and applications. This allows users to choose the right board for their project, whether it is a simple hobby project or a complex industrial application. Arduino boards are affordable, with prices starting at just a few dollars for some of the basic models. This makes them a good option for those on a budget or for those who are just starting out with electronics and programming. If you are looking for more products from top manufacturers like Arduino, visit Campus Component to find a wide range of products including the above-discussed products and Arduino Atmega328p, Arduino cable, Arduino shield, and much more. Visit us to know more today!

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