Adventures in Machine Learning

Exploring the Possibilities of Python and Arduino: From Blink to Analog Inputs

Do you have a passion for electronics and want to create your own electronic devices but don’t know where to start? Or do you already have experience in electronics design and want to create a prototype quickly and efficiently?

Look no further than the Arduino platform, a versatile and accessible tool for designing electronic applications. In this article, we will explore the basics of the Arduino platform, its programming language, and its application in the Maker Movement.

We will also dive into how to use Python with Arduino and its benefits in electronic prototyping and MVP development.

The Arduino Platform

The Arduino platform is a popular open-source hardware and software tool for building electronic applications. Arduino offers simple and easy-to-use hardware boards, shields, and software libraries that are perfectly suited for prototyping and developing microcontroller-based applications.

The platform provides an efficient way to convert your invention idea into a working prototype, which can then be produced on a larger scale. The programming language used by Arduino is similar to the well-known language C++.

Arduino’s simplified language makes it accessible to beginners without prior knowledge of electronics or programming. The platform is designed for simplicity, allowing people to learn about electronics in a fun and engaging way.

The platforms simplicity allows users to build simple and complex circuits using minimal coding. Arduino provides tools that make it easy for people to build a variety of devices, ranging from simple LED lights to complex robots.

It’s no wonder that the Maker Movement has embraced Arduino as its preferred platform. Arduino has catalyzed many of the creative and innovative projects that have come out of the maker community.

Using Python with Arduino

Python is a popular and easy-to-learn programming language that is widely used by developers for various applications, including web development, data analysis, and machine learning. Python can be used to program and control Arduino boards.

Python is an excellent tool for building MVPs or prototypes quickly, especially for complex applications that require several hardware devices. Using Python makes it easier to create complex applications.

Python provides libraries such as PySerial that helps in the process of serial communication between your board and your computer. PySerial allows you to write and read data or instructions from the Arduino board using your Python script.

How do you get started with Python and Arduino? The first step is downloading the Arduino software and Python.

You can download Python from its official website, and the Arduino programming software can be downloaded from the Arduino website. After downloading, plug in your Arduino board and connect it to your computer.

Open the Arduino software and choose your preferred board and serial port. Once your Arduino board is set up, you can use Python to create scripts to communicate with your board.

You can use the Python script to read sensor data or send instructions to the standard Arduino sketch. With Python and Arduino, you can create powerful applications such as controlling robots, reading temperature sensors, or even creating an alarm system.

Benefits of

Using Python with Arduino

Using Python with Arduino provides several advantages, including fast development and prototyping. Python is a high-level language that is easy and quick to learn.

The use of Python speeds up development, thereby reducing the time spent on coding. Python with Arduino also provides access to more libraries, making it easier to control different sensors, motors, and other hardware components.

Another advantage is that Python allows for testing and developing code in a simulation environment before deploying it to the board. This enables developers to catch any potential errors quickly and easily, making it easier to identify and solve problems when developing the prototype.


In conclusion, the Arduino platform provides an accessible and efficient way to learn and design electronic applications. Python with Arduino serves as a perfect tool for rapid prototyping and MVP development.

The integration of Python and Arduino provides easy access to hardware and software, speeds up development time, and provides a way to build powerful applications. With the Arduino platform and Python, the only limit to what you can create is your imagination.

3) Arduino Hardware

The Arduino hardware is the physical component of the platform that makes it possible to bring electronic projects to life. To get started building projects with Arduino, it is important to understand the necessary components and their usage.

Here are some of the basic components of the Arduino hardware that are needed for running examples. Arduino Board – The Arduino board is the central component of the hardware.

It is the microcontroller that reads and processes the code from the computer and translates that code into specific actions. The most basic and commonly used board in the Arduino family is the Arduino Uno.

Breadboard – A breadboard is a component used to easily assemble circuits without having to solder. It is essentially a board with a grid of holes that allow components to be plugged in and connected to each other easily.

Resistors – A resistor is a passive component that reduces the electrical current in a circuit. It is often used to protect other components from high currents that could cause damage.

Jumper Wires – A jumper wire is a short wire that can be used to connect two points on a breadboard or between different components on the board. LEDs – Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are electronic components that emit light when connected to a circuit.

They are often used as indicators to show when a circuit is powered or to display information.

4) Arduino Software

The Arduino software is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is used to create and upload code for Arduino boards. The software provides a simple interface for writing and debugging code.

Here are the necessary steps for programming and using the Arduino software with Arduino boards. Installing the Arduino IDE – The first step in using the Arduino software is to download and install the Arduino IDE.

It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. After downloading, the IDE can be installed like any other software.

Configuring Board Settings – The next step is to configure the board settings in the IDE. This includes selecting the board type, port, and processor type.

These settings must match the type of board that is being used for the project. Writing and Loading Sketches – The programming language used by Arduino is a simplified version of C++ called Sketches.

Sketches are the code that runs on the Arduino board. Writing and loading sketches is easy in the IDE.

After connecting the board to the computer, the code can be written and uploaded to the board using the Upload button in the IDE. Debugging and Testing – Once the code has been uploaded, the board can be connected to the other components of the circuit and tested.

If there are any issues or errors, the IDE provides a way to debug the code and correct the errors.


In conclusion, the Arduino hardware and software provide an accessible and easy-to-use platform for building electronic applications. Understanding the necessary components, such as the Arduino board, breadboard, resistors, and jumper wires, is essential for building projects with Arduino.

The Arduino software, which includes the IDE for programming and uploading code, provides a simplified interface for creating and testing sketches. With the combination of the Arduino hardware and software, the possibilities for electronic projects are endless.

5) “Hello, World!” With Arduino

One of the most basic programs that can be run on an Arduino board is the “Blink” sketch. The Blink sketch is a simple program that blinks the built-in LED on and off, creating the “Hello, World!” equivalent for Arduino.

Here is a step-by-step guide to running the Blink sketch on an Arduino board. 1.

Connecting the Board to PC and Configuring Board Settings To begin, connect your Arduino board to your computer using a USB cable. Then, open the Arduino IDE and navigate to the “Tools” menu.

From there, select the board type and port that corresponds to the board that you are using. 2.

Uploading the Blink Sketch Once the board settings have been configured, open the Blink sketch from the “File” menu in the IDE. The code will be displayed in the main editing window.

In the Blink sketch, the built-in LED pin on the board is set to be an output. Then, a loop is created that toggles the LED on and off every second.

3. Controlling the Built-in LED With the sketch ready to be uploaded, press the “Upload” button in the IDE.

The code will be compiled and uploaded to the board. Once the upload is complete, the built-in LED on the board will start blinking on and off at a regular interval, indicating that the program is running.

6) Connecting External Components

Beyond the built-in LED, the true power of the Arduino platform lies in its ability to connect to and control external components. The Arduino board has a series of pins that can be used to connect to sensors, output devices, and other components.

Here’s a basic rundown of working with external components in Arduino. 1.

Using Pins on Arduino to Connect External Components The digital pins on an Arduino board can be used to connect to components that are either on or off, while the analog pins can be connected to components that work on a range of values. By connecting components to certain pins, you can control their behavior through the code you write.

2. Digital and Analog Inputs and Outputs Arduino components can be “inputs” or “outputs.” An input is a component that sends data to the board, such as a temperature sensor.

An output is a component that receives data from the board and uses it to control something else, such as an LED. 3.

Breadboards for Prototyping Electronic Circuits Breadboards are often used for prototyping circuits involving multiple components. They allow the designer to easily connect components using jumper wires, without permanently soldering the components.

4. Necessary Connections for an LED and Resistor Circuit To create a simple circuit using an external component, such as an LED and resistor, connect the positive lead of the LED to a digital output pin on the Arduino board.

The negative lead of the LED should then be connected to a resistor and then to the ground pin on the board. The resistor is necessary to limit the amount of current passing through the LED, preventing it from burning out.


In conclusion, the Arduino platform is an accessible and powerful tool for designing electronic applications. Starting with the “Blink” sketch and then moving on to connecting external components, such as an LED and resistor, is an excellent way to get started with Arduino.

With the help of breadboards and jumper wires, prototyping electronic circuits becomes much simpler. By connecting various inputs and outputs to pins on the board and controlling them with code, the possibilities for Arduino projects are endless.

7) “Hello, World!” With Arduino and Python

Although Arduino can be programmed using C++, it can also be programmed using Python. However, directly programming Arduino with Python is not an easy task.

To overcome this difficulty, the Firmata protocol can be used as a standard for communication between Python and Arduino. Here is a step-by-step guide to using the Firmata protocol to connect Arduino and Python.

1. Using Firmata Protocol as a Standard for Communication Firmata is a protocol for communicating between microcontrollers and software applications.

It can be used to communicate between Arduino and Python. To use this protocol, start by uploading the Firmata sketch to Arduino using the Arduino IDE.

The Firmata sketch is a prewritten code that is provided in the Arduino IDE. 2.

Uploading the Firmata Sketch Using Arduino IDE – To upload the Firmata sketch, connect your Arduino board to the PC using a USB cable. Then, open the Arduino IDE and navigate to “File” > “Examples” > “Firmata” > “StandardFirmata”.

Compile and upload the Sketch to Arduino. 3.

Installing and Using the pyFirmata Package for Python Once the Firmata sketch is uploaded to the board, you will need a Python package to establish the communication between Python and Arduino. PyFirmata is a Python library that enables the communication between Python and Firmata-based microcontrollers.

You can install PyFirmata using the pip package manager in the command prompt. 4.

Example Blink Application Using Python and Firmata Protocol Once you have installed PyFirmata, you can write and run Python programs to interact with the Arduino board. Here is a small Blink Python program using the Firmata protocol:


from pyfirmata import Arduino, util

import time

board = Arduino(‘COM3’)

led = board.get_pin(‘d:13:o’)

while True:






This Python program uses the PyFirmata library to establish a connection between Python and Arduino over USB. Then, the program blinks the LED connected to digital pin 13 of the Arduino board.

8) Reading Digital Inputs

Another simple project using Arduino is to use a push button as a digital input. A push button is a simple yet widely used component to interact with electronic devices.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using a push button as a digital input in Arduino. 1.

Changing the Previous Circuit to Use a Push Button To change the Blink circuit to use a push button, replace the LED with a push button. A circuit with a push button can be created by connecting the positive leg of the button to power (5V), while the negative leg of the button should be connected to a pull-down resistor and a digital input pin on the board.

2. Buttons as Digital Inputs Buttons are often used as digital inputs to detect when a user presses a button.

The Arduino board can sense if the button is pressed or not by looking at the state of the digital input pin it is connected to. 3.

Connecting the Button and Necessary Resistors To create a simple push button circuit, connect one leg of the button to the 5V pin on the Arduino board, and the other leg to a pull-down resistor. Then, connect the same leg of the button to a digital input pin on the board.

The resistor is necessary to keep the digital input pin at a known logic level (low), in the absence of any input. “`python

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO


GPIO.setup(18, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)

while True:

input_state = GPIO.input(18)

if input_state == True:

print(‘Button pressed’)



Reading Digital Input With the push button circuit ready, connect the board to the PC and upload the code to the board. With the push button pressed, the LED should turn on.

When the button is released, the LED should turn off.


In conclusion, the combination of Arduino and Python provides an excellent platform for building electronic projects. By using the Firmata protocol, it is possible to establish communication between Arduino and Python programs.

Using buttons as digital inputs is a great way to interact with electronic devices. With the help of resistors and jumper wires, prototyping electronic circuits becomes even more straightforward.

By connecting various inputs and outputs to pins on the board and controlling them with code, the possibilities for Arduino and Python projects are endless.

9) Reading Analog Inputs

In addition to digital inputs and outputs, Arduino boards also feature analog inputs that can detect a range of voltage levels. Analog inputs allow the user to read values from analog sensors such as light, temperature sensors, and potentiometers.

Here is a step-by-step guide to using a potentiometer as an analog input with an Arduino board. 1.

Analog Inputs on Arduino Boards – Most Arduino boards have an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), which can convert analog signals into digital values. The ADC converts the analog signals into digital values that can be read and processed by the board using the pins labeled Analog In.


Example Circuit using a Potentiometer as an Analog Input – Potentiometers are resistive devices that can vary the output voltage from zero to a specific maximum value. A potentiometer can be used as an analog input by connecting its ends to VCC and GND and the wiper to an analog input pin.

3. Necessary Connections and Code for Reading Analog Inputs – The following circuit diagram shows how to connect a potentiometer as an analog input to an Arduino board.

Using the analogRead() function in the code, the value of the potentiometer can be read and mapped to the range of 0 to 255. “`c++

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