Getting Started with Arduino on Windows

This document explains how to connect your Arduino board to the computer and upload your first sketch.

  1. Get an Arduino board and USB cable
  2. Download the Arduino environment
  3. Connect the board
  4. Install the drivers
  5. Launch the Arduino application
  6. Open the blink example
  7. Select your board
  8. Select your serial port
  9. Upload the program
  10. 1 | Get an Arduino board and USB cable

    In this tutorial, we assume you’re using an Arduino Uno, Arduino Duemilanove, Nano, Arduino Mega 2560 , or Diecimila. You also need a standard USB cable (A plug to B plug): the kind you would connect to a USB printer, for example. (For the Arduino Nano, you’ll need an A to Mini-B cable instead.) Arduino Uno Rev3USB Cable A to B

    2 | Download the Arduino environment

    Get the latest version from the download page. When the download finishes, unzip the downloaded file. Make sure to preserve the folder structure. Double-click the folder to open it. There should be a few files and sub-folders inside.

    3 | Connect the board

    The Arduino Uno, Mega, Duemilanove and Arduino Nano automatically draw power from either the USB connection to the computer or an external power supply. Connect the Arduino board to your computer using the USB cable. The green power LED (labelled PWR) should go on.

    4 | Install the drivers

    Installing drivers for the Arduino Uno or Arduino Mega 2560 with Windows7, Vista, or XP:

    • Plug in your board and wait for Windows to begin it’s driver installation process.  After a few moments, the process will fail, despite its best efforts
    • Click on the Start Menu, and open up the Control Panel.
    • While in the Control Panel, navigate to System and Security. Next, click on System. Once the System window is up, open the Device Manager.
    • Look under Ports (COM & LPT).  You should see an open port named “Arduino UNO (COMxx)”
    • Right click on the “Arduino UNO (COmxx)” port and choose the “Update Driver Software” option.
    • Next, choose the “Browse my computer for Driver software” option.
    • Finally, navigate to and select the driver file named “arduino.inf”, located in the “Drivers” folder of the Arduino Software download (not the “FTDI USB Drivers” sub-directory). If you are using an old version of the IDE (1.0.3 or older), choose the Uno’s driver file named “Arduino UNO.inf”
    • Windows will finish up the driver installation from there.

    5 | Launch the Arduino application

    Double-click the Arduino application. (Note: if the Arduino software loads in the wrong language, you can change it in the preferences dialog.

    6 | Open the blink example

    Open the LED blink example sketch: File > Examples > 1.Basics > Blink.

    7 | Select your board

    You’ll need to select the entry in the Tools > Board menu that corresponds to your Arduino.

    Arduino Enviroment Program

    8 | Select your serial port

    Select the serial device of the Arduino board from the Tools | Serial Port menu. 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 board and re-open the menu; the entry that disappears should be the Arduino board. Reconnect the board and select that serial port.

    9 | Upload the program

    Now, simply click the “Upload” button in the environment. Wait a few seconds – you should see the RX and TX leds on the board flashing. If the upload is successful, the message “Done uploading.” will appear in the status bar. (Note: If you have an Arduino Mini, NG, or other board, you’ll need to physically present the reset button on the board immediately before pressing the upload button.)

    A few seconds after the upload finishes, you should see the pin 13 (L) LED on the board start to blink (in orange). If it does, congratulations! You’ve gotten Arduino up-and-running.

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