The Arduino is an easy prototyping platform in which the hardware is very simple to use and to be connected with any other system. The programing environment is also very easy to start with and has lot of built-in functions for every simple and complex task. The AVR microcontroller boards which are provided with all the basic circuitry for the operation of the microcontroller which has been flashed with the arduino boot-loader are called arduino boards. The arduino can communicate with the other devices using its digital I/O, serial port, I2C port, SPI port etc. In this particular project the Arduino pro-mini board is used which is then programmed with the help of Arduino IDE version 1.0.3 on windows operating system. The Arduino pro-mini board has ATMEGA328 microcontroller inside it which has a 1Kb of internal EEPROM memory. The internal EEPROM memory can be easily accessed using the built-in functions provided by the Arduino IDE. The board has also one set of Tx and Rx pins with the help of which the board can be interfaced with the serial port. The image of the Arduino pro-mini board and the Arduino IDE is shown in the following;
Fig. 2: Typical Arduino Pro-Mini Board
Fig. 3: Arduino IDE Software Window
Since the arduino pro-mini board has no circuitary for interfacing it with the serial port or the USB port of the PC, an external USB to TTL converter board is required to connect it with the PC. This hardware helps in programming the arduino board and also helps in the serial communication with the PC through the USB port of the PC.
Fig. 4: External USB to TTL converter board for programming Arduino and serial communication
It is assumed that the reader has gone through the project how to get started with the arduino and done all the things discussed in it. There are some built-in functions in the arduino IDE which helps in the serial communication process.There is a function which helps to initialize the serial communication port with a particular baud rate and there are functions to send data to the serial port. The functions used in this projects are namely Serial.begin(), Serial.print() and Serial.write(). The details of these functions and similar functions for the serial communication are already discussed in previous projects on how to do serial communication with the Arduino, how to send and receive serial data using arduino, how to do serial debugging with the Arduino.