Introduction to Arduino

Click here for my version 1.0 of Introduction to Arduino comic as a PDF. For a slightly revised version, click here (updated to software version 1.05).
panel one

The Arduino Playground has a version of the PDF I prepared with blank word balloons and text fields, and also my script with notes if you want to translate it. They also have versions in other languages. If you translate it, please let me know.

Here are links to some of the translations, there’s more on the Arduino site. Thanks everyone!

143 thoughts on “Introduction to Arduino

  1. John Boxall

    Great work Jody – this is a great resource. You could also turn it into a series, great for younger children or adults that aren’t keen on technical publications.

  2. coleoptero

    Hi Jody,

    I am Arduino Spain Forum Moderator and, just like Jin and Jody. I would like to make a spanish translation respectfully keeping the credits and the link to you page. Which license does your comic? Could you provide a source code version?



  3. Doncrush

    Jody – this is an awesome thing! Will you be selling hard copy at the NYC Maker Faire? I could use it in a 5th grade afterschool program!


  4. Adam

    Hi Jody,

    There’s a syntax error in the first Pot example. You need to close the parenthesis of the println call.

    Otherwise this is great. Can I print out copies of this to use in an Arudino workshop?


  5. Maurício Féo

    Hello Jody,

    I teach about Arduino and other technologies and I’d like to translate your comic into portuguese and disclose it, always with the proper credits.
    Please send me an appropriate version for translation and I’ll return to you a portuguese version for approval.

    Thank you! 🙂

  6. Brett

    I find that thinking of voltage as ELECTRICAL PRESSURE helps in understanding Ohm’s law. This might mean more to the average person than the term “potential”.

    In the water analogy, high voltage would be illustrated as connecting a hose to a tall water tower. It becomes easier to visualize why that would result in greater current flow than if the water tower was short.

    In the wide panel where you state “The Speed of flow is determined by voltage”. This is not strictly true. Voltage is certainly responsible for flow as it is the force that actually motivates electrons. But the rate of flow (aka current) is determined by BOTH voltage and resistance, as defined by Ohm’s law.

    Anyway, this is a terrific comic. Good work!

  7. Anonymous

    The code on page 12 seems to be missing a } at the end. (Need } for closing else and } for closing loop.) Thanks for your work.

  8. joe j

    More on Voltage = Pressure.
    Perhaps you should have the water level in the tank change to indicated more or less pressure (voltage) in your comic.

    I think this will help people understand the connection between voltage pushing electrons harder and pressure (i.e. water level) pushing water molecules harder.

    Joe J.
    P.S. Also… …great job

  9. malcolm

    The tank being bigger doesn’t make a bit of difference in the pressure at the bottom of the tank (if the depth is the same, of course). Maybe you could show the same tank completely full for high potential, and , say, only one-quarter full for low pressure, with the hose coming out of the bottom of the tank in each case.

    Another small point: In the panel that compares AC/DC current, the DC example shows the current opposite to the conventional direction. Conventionally, positive current emerges from the positive battery terminal. The cartoon panel depicts the opposite.

    Otherwise…. Awesome!

  10. James

    The comic was very informative about Arduino. However, I wish the ending examples were more Arduino dependent. I mean, you can use a switch or potentiometer with a breadboard and no Arduino and no programming. Perhaps it should have expounded upon the blinking light idea and how you can use the pot to speed up or slow down the blinking.

  11. jodyc Post author

    You do need something that can read a PDF, then it depends on how your browser is configured. I tend to use Chrome, by default it opens up the file inside of the browser. I have Firefox configured so it asks me what to do with the file, I can choose to open it (in Acrobat) or save it.

    Not sure this helps, at some point I will try other formats as well, but not sure when.

  12. daen

    Great stuff! The explanation of the breadboard layout (the vertically connected power columns versus the horizontally connected component rows) is very useful for beginners.

  13. jeff

    Great way to do this.

    Two corrections

    1. only one wire should go through the switch in the simple circuit with the battery and the light.

    2. In the image showing the polarity of an LED – There is also a flat side on the colored part of the LED that indicates the negative side (useful if the leads are cut even)

  14. Dave

    You could make the water tank funnel shaped, only half full for lower voltage, and full up for higher voltage.

  15. Anne

    Hi Jody — Love the comic. When I was learning about analog and digital it helped me to picture different kinds of clocks — the circular one with the second hand represented analog (could cover everything) and the one with the big numbers was digital (chunked time into minutes).

    Also, and I don’t know what the best way to phrase this is, but the Arduino is a microchip-based microcontroller. The big black rectangle is the microchip. Arduinos come with different microchips (ATMega 328, ATMega 2560) which differ in memory capacity and the number of inputs and outputs.

  16. chrwei

    This is kinda nit-picky, but technical terms are important! If we’re not all speaking from the same dictionary it can be very hard to communicate.

    “An Arduino is a microchip” is not a true statement, and may cause confusion later. The atmega328 on the Arduino board is a microchip, the FDTI or atmega8u2 chip that handles the usb coms, and the voltage regulator are microchips.

    “An Arduino is a microcontroller platform” would be better. If you are trying to simplify more then just say it’s a miniature special purpose computer.

  17. Fred

    Nice job Jody!
    I found it confusing after the last panel on page 9 shows the example script and indicates that we’ll be looking at it line by line, but page 10 doesn’t do that, it describes some hardware. Then, on page 11, the script that’s briefly described is not the original example.

    I was also expecting a slightly more detailed line-by-line introduction to the script.

  18. jodyc Post author

    The line by line description is in the “comments”, the text in red after the //. When making this I was constantly struggling with what is too much information, what is too little. I think in version 2 more detail, or a way to branch out to more detail, would help it a lot. Thanks for your comments.

  19. Daniel

    I think your switch graphic and ‘on’ and ‘off’ labels are turned around. You may have an exception in hand, but in my experience, you can think of a toggle switch as a lever that will connect the contacts opposite the way it’s flipped.

    Looks great!

  20. fred

    Thanks for pointing out the “comments” I just plain didn’t see them. Makes much more sense to me now.

    I got hung up on not knowing what the keyword Void was for, and was looking for a detail explaining it. Now that I’ve looked it up, I can see the difficulty in explaining it briefly at this level.

  21. cesar jimenez

    You have a excelent introduction for use of arduino, maybe you have the archives without any cap?, i want to translate toi spanish for my high school students in mexico.

  22. Adam

    Hey Jody, awesome, awesome comic. I am a complete noob with very little hands on experience in electronics. I followed well until page 11 then got lost a bit. I think it relates to not understanding how current flows through the breadboard (horizontal and vertical) and what that means for where you can plug things in.
    Thanks so much for putting this together and making it available to community. You rock!

  23. jodyc Post author

    I don’t at this point have a version without the captions. I will let you know when and if I do, glad you liked it.

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