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What Is a Mega Arduino®?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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A Mega Arduino® is one type of microcontroller board in the group of Arduino® products. Other types of Arduinos® on the market are the Arduino Mini®, the Arduino Nano®, the Arduino Fio®, the Arduino Pro®, and the Arduino Pro Mini®. All of these boards, including the Mega Arduino®, hook into a computer terminal and are used to control and manipulate the external environment. Special properties of the Mega Arduino® include its large 256 KB memory and its ability to transmit data to a variety of devices.

In terms of the physical attributes of the Mega Arduino®, properties include 54 input and output pins that are digital, 16 input pins that are analog, and an oscillator. It hooks up to the computer at a USB port. This will typically be the main source powering the microcontroller, but other options for power supply are a battery or an AC/DC adapter.

Memory storage in the Mega Arduino® is particularly impressive. Overall it contains 256 KB of memory. Another perk that comes with this microcontroller is its ability to transmit data to a computer, a different brand name microcontroller, or another Arduino® that is not necessarily of the same make.

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This device can be bought in specialized electronics stores or online. For those individuals who like to get hands-on with electronics projects, it is also possible to make a Mega Arduino® oneself. Tutorials can be found online for construction, but it should be noted that prerequisite knowledge of electronics and the Arduino® platform is necessary for such projects. Once a Mega Arduino® has been purchased or built, beginning with it is as easy as hooking it into a computer and downloading the appropriate software for the Mega model. Software can be downloaded for free online.

It should come as no surprise that with all the technological products on the market there are many other microcontrollers that can be bought under different brand names. Choosing the Mega Arduino® is a good decision for several reasons. For one thing, the cost is low, coming in at around $50 from most suppliers and even less than that for individuals buying parts to put together on their own. Use of this microcontroller model is as straightforward as it gets for beginners, and it works with a variety of operating systems. As prototype modeling is released through a Creative Commons license, it is possible for technology-savvy users to work on and off of the original microcontroller as a means of learning without any risks of legal trouble.

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