Arduino have evolved into popular development platform with variety of boards, shields and strong community. It’s simplicity and robustness allows tweaking, designing and building things even if you have are little or no experienced in electronics and microcontrollers. Today Arduino comes in many different shapes and processing power. Gearbest team was so kind to supply Arduino Mega 2560 R3 featuring ATmega2560 microcontroller. This is most powerful AVR based Arduino having 54 I/Os, 256KB flash, 4KB of SRAM and 4KB of EEPROM.
Arduino Mega is great choice to start because it accepts standard shields and yet there are plenty uncovered pins to attach external devices. For instance an LCD1602 keypad shield is great for starters because it has all user interface built in – 2×16 LCD and 5 push buttons including RESET. Gearbest also have many different kits that combine any popular Arduino with a shield of your choice. Kaypad shield is very economic in terms of Arduino pins used – 7 pins including 4 (D4), 5 (D5), 6(D6), 7(D7), 8(RS), 9(E) and 10(Back-light) for LCD in 4-bit mode and single Analog pin 0 is used to read all five buttons through simple resistor divider circuit. So total 8 pins are taken out, the rest are accessible for any use. This is more than enough for building menus, controlling your devices, changing settings.
Arduino and LCD Keypad shield is practically all you need to start building a number of interesting projects. Don’t forget to download the latest Arduino software from official site. If you are planning on interfacing external sensors and actuators you will definitely need a bunch of extension cables. By combining male and female connectors you will be able to connect almost anything.
And last, but not the least thing you should consider – a proper platform plate where you can screw down your Arduino board and stick your additional prototyping breadbaord. Platform plate will prevent your board from slipping around, projects will look tidier and more professional.
If you are looking for more options – take a look at gearbest.com where you can get different types of Arduino boards and sensors with high discounts.