Arduino is a 15 years old brand and I believe that nowadays everyone with minor interests in technology may be owning one of these microcontroller boards. But how many of you are actually using it or have ever made a useful project with it? Sometimes the Arduino is abandoned on a shelf or resting in a drawer because of a lack of inspiration and time, or missing information and education. There is a ton of documentation, sketch, and books available out there into the wild internet. As the magic thing of Arduino is that it’s an open source device. This means most of the information can be found online and everyone has access to the main code and is free to modify it. But if you want to push your knowledge a little bit further, I suggest you buy or rent a book.
I understand that it can be pretty hard to choose a book only by its cover. You may wonder “What this book has to offer more than another one?”, “Why should I pick this one rather than that one?”.
That’s why I decided to try this wonderful book: “Arduino Cookbook” and write a review of its general content. In the same time, I could figure out if the information it contains is rare or may easily be found on the Internet.
The beautiful cover of the book
First of all, by a quick look at the cover, I could say that this book would please me. It features a bunny toy with some gears and abstract mechanic concept inside its belly. It is pretty obvious that this book is intended for inventors, “geeks”, and curious-minded persons. But what about beginners in electronics? Well, this is an Arduino related book, not an electronic book. And the authors are not trying to hide it. In the very first chapter, they let you know that there won’t be any explanation of basics electronic concepts. In my humble opinion, this is all right because if you really want to learn electronics, there are several other books for you. Keep in mind that if you are interested in this field, you should at least know what are a resistor and a capacitor, understand the functioning of a transistor, and know the basics of logic doors.
What are you going to learn?
If you’re new to the Arduino world, this book will teach you the basics: how to set your board, install the program, what language to use, and how to communicate with the processor. Once you’re done with the software and basics, you may proceed further in the book. This is where I figured out how much this book was aptly named. The ‘Arduino Cookbook’ features over 200 common tasks that can be accomplished with an Arduino board, some electronic parts, and simple coding. This book can simply be summarized as a bible for digital designers, engineers, and inventors. With all the recipes these pages contain, you will be able to create many wonderful projects and achieve any ideas you have. It goes from driving servo motors with the appropriate shield to storing data in permanent EEPROM, without forgetting LCD display, audio output, infrared commands, wireless communication, Ethernet, and networking functions (to only quote a few).
What’s in there really.
Here are some of the interesting learnings I’ve found in this book. Did you know that you could create a clock with the help of the Arduino board? The Arduino quartz crystal is good for timing and would lose only about a couple seconds per day. Through this, the sketch presented in this book is teaching you how to “set the time” function.
On a completely different section of this work, you will also find how to actually display information on an LCD. Somewhere else in an early chapter, you will learn how to drive a relay with the Arduino board. Near the end, you may use a portion of code to send a message through the internet.
You may say to yourself: “Wow. they just enumerated a bunch of random capabilities of the Arduino”. And you could say that, but you should envision a bigger portrait.
With the help of this book, I could create a home automation system that will trigger lights, music and temperature control on a schedule and send me states of my sensors in an e-mail message. Great, right? That way, I could keep tracking of what’s going on into my house and with a small text command, I could turn on the lights when my guests arrive!
Actually, this is only a tiny example of what you may learn and cook with this book. This is even a smaller fraction of what the Arduino board is capable of.
With the help of the Arduino Cookbook, I just felt like I needed more than ever an Arduino Mega to achieve bigger and bigger project. If you are a “geek hacker” in your mind, you will enjoy the section on “using a Wii Nunchuck accelerometer” and even more this chapter on “how to display text on a TV“!
Finally, is it for you?
This book is intended to speed up your learning of the Arduino line of products. It will help you design, combine and create all the circuits and projects you’ve been dreaming of, but couldn’t figure out how to. To be honest, I didn’t know the Arduino was capable of that much before taking a deeper look at this book. When the only limit is your mind, don’t waste time on searching recipes on the net, use the Arduino Cookbook and start crafting your dream today!