In last years’ the use of Arduino increases exponentially due to its readability and easiness. But the point to think is whether the use of Arduino is in favor of engineers or not. First of all, we will look upon the advantages of Arduino and later we will discuss the disadvantages. Yes there might be some disadvantages of Mighty Arduino as well. Let's starts with advantages.
1- Ready to Use:
The biggest advantage of Arduino is its ready to use structure. As Arduino comes in a complete package form which includes the 5V regulator, a burner, an oscillator, a micro-controller, serial communication interface, LED and headers for the connections. You don't have to think about programmer connections for programming or any other interface. Just plug it into USB port of your computer and that's it. Your revolutionary idea is going to change the world after just few words of coding.
2- Examples of codes:
Another big advantage of Arduino is its library of examples present inside the software of Arduino. I'll explain this advantage using an example ofvoltage measurement. For example if you want to measure voltage using ATmega8 micro-controller and want to display the output on computer screen then you have to go through the whole process. The process will start from learning the ADC's of micro-controller for measurement, went through the learning of serial communication for display and will end at USB - Serial converters. If you want to check this whole process click on the link below.
On the other hand, if you want to measure the voltage using Arduino. Just plug in your Arduino and open the ReadAnalogVoltage example as shown in the figure 1.
The project is ready after putting some reasonable resistors and zener diode. You can easily see the voltage on the Serial terminal of Arduino.
3- Effortless functions:
During coding of Arduino, you will notice some functions which make the life so easy. Another advantage of Arduino is its automatic unit conversion capability. You can say that during debugging you don't have to worry about the units conversions. Just use your all force on the main parts of your projects. You don't have to worry about side problems.
4- Large community:
There are many forums present on the internet in which people are talking about the Arduino. Engineers, hobbyists and professionals are making their projects through Arduino. You can easily find help about everything. Moreover the Arduino website itself explains each and every functions of Arduino.
So, We should conclude the advantage of Arduino by saying that during working on different projects you just have to worry about your innovative idea. The remaining will handle by Arduino itself.
Yes, the structure of Arduino is its disadvantage as well. During building a project you have to make its size as small as possible. But with the big structures ofArduino we have to stick with big sized PCB’s. If you are working on a small micro-controller like ATmega8 you can easily make your PCB as small as possible.
The most important factor which you cannot deny is cost. This is the problem which every hobbyist, Engineer or Professional has to face. Now, we must consider that the Arduino is cost effective or not.
A year ago I was working on a project in which I have to build three smart energy meters. Now, for three smart energy meters present at some distance connected with different loads must have their own processor. So I estimated my expenditures with and without the Arduino which you can see in the block diagram present below.
Note:I took cost of all products from Amazon with shipping charges. There may be some difference of cost in your area.
The thing must be noted that I multiplied Atmel Programmer with 1 because we don’t need many programmers for all the micro- controllers. Only one programmer is enough. The difference between the costs is mainly due to this programmer reason. Still if you need one package then the cost difference will be as less as nearly $5 and it will rise when you have to use many packages.
3- Easy to use:
In my opinion, if you started your journey of micro-controllers with Arduino then it will be very difficult for you to make the complex intelligent circuitries in future. The easy to use hardware/software of Arduino unable a person to learn the basics of many things likes Serial communication, ADC, I2C etc.
Summary: If you are such hobbyists who just want to make some innovative projects for fun and don’t want to go further behind that then the Arduino is your best option. But if you want to go deep in the depth of these things then you must do work on other micro-controllers first and after that for the sake of saving time use Arduino.