Getting Ready for
your Arduino Class

We highly recommend that students attending Arduino Metal Detector or Arduino Line-Following Robot, bring their own laptop to class with the free Arduino software already installed. We also suggest buying an Arduino UNO microcontroller and cable ahead of time as well to make sure it works with your laptop and so you can start experimenting with the software.

If you do not have a suitable laptop to bring or do not wish to purchase the Arduino UNO before class, don't worry! Laptops and Arduinos will be available to borrow. Techsplorers loaner laptops will be checked out to students at the beginning of class and signed back in before they leave each day. You will also have an opportunity to buy the Arduino UNO at the end of class if you decide you want to take your completed project home.

If you're able to bring your own laptop, please follow the prep instructions below before coming to class. This should only take a few minutes and will help us get to the fun stuff faster. Also, please make sure your laptop is fully updated and fully charged!


Part 1 (Required)

  1. Install the free Arduino software on your laptop.
  2. Open the application.
  3. Open the "Blinks" example program by going to File > Examples > Basics > Blinks.
  4. Click Verify (✔).
  5. Let the program compile. This might take a minute.
  6. When the code is finished compiling, if everything is okay, the display at the bottom will say “Done Compiling” and you’re good to go. If you do not see this message or receive an error, try reinstalling the software or use a different laptop. If this doesn’t work, contact us at for help.

Part 2 (Optional)

Before attempting Part 2, you’ll need to buy an Arduino UNO and USB cable. There are two versions of the Arduino UNO R3: the DIP and the Surface Mount. It doesn’t matter which one you get -- they both work exactly the same.

  1. Plug one end of the USB cord into the port on the Arduino UNO and the other end into the USB port on the laptop running the Arduino software.
  2. Give the computer a minute to connect to the device.
  3. Click on the Tools menu and find “Serial Port” or “Port” in the dropdown.
    1. If the words are grayed out or there is no device listed, the Arduino UNO is not connected properly. Try unplugging it and plugging it back in.
    2. If the words are black and a port name is shown when you hover over it, you’re connected. You may need to select which port to use if more than one is listed.
  4. After opening the Blink program, click Upload (➔). This will load the program onto your Arduino UNO. If loaded correctly, you should see the little yellow light with an “L” next to it blinking on the Arduino UNO. If you receive an upload error, repeat Step 3b and try switching to a different port.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the Blink code in the Arduino application window and try changing “delay(1000)” to “delay(200)”. What happens? Try experimenting with different numbers.