Getting started with the Arduino software

Here’s a how-to for setting up the Arduino software to start coding for LilyPad projects. This is taken from a LilyPad Arduino project I created; I thought it might be useful to have this software guide as a separate post from the projects.

This guide is for Mac OS X, but should give a general intro for Windows & Linux too.

Getting started: downloading software

1. Download the Mac OS X software from Arduino.cc. Unzip and copy Arduino.app to your Applications folder.

2. Next, you’ll need to install the USB drivers. The instructions on the Arduino site suggest that these come with the package you’ve just downloaded – they don’t, but can be downloaded from ftdichip.com.

3. Download the Mac OSX 2.2.16 drivers (they’re all the same), and mount the disk image (double click to mount the disk).

4. Install FTDIUSBSerialDriver_10_4_10_5_10_6.mpkg (this seems to work with Mac OS 10.7 too)

Using the Arduino software

1. Connect your computer to the LilyPad Arduino. Attach the FTDI Basic clip to the Lilypad and plug in the USB cable form this to your computer.

2. Open the Arduino software in your Applications folder.

Your window will look something like this (click to see large version):

3. Select your board type. For the Lilypad simple board , it’s ‘Lilypad Arduino w/ ATmega382‘. Go to Tools > Board in the Menu:


4. Now select your serial port. It should be ‘/dev/tty.usbserial-A900J3D6′. Go to Tools > Serial Port in the Menu:

5. Programs are called ‘sketches’ in the Arduino software. You can create a new sketch in the Menu bar from File > New, or open previous sketches from File > Sketchbook.

Arduino sketches are written in C. If you’re new to coding in C (like me) there’s lots of code you can grab to play around with. I’d really recommend playing around with the examples available in the Arduino software (look in File > Examples on the Menu bar) to get started.

There’s also some great examples of code to look at on different websites. Try Leah Buechley’s Arduino Introduction and Ladyada’s Arduino Tutorials.

Finally, here’s a collection of links I’ve found useful for getting started.