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Background:

I am new to Arduino world, and I like to buy a board. I am a bit confused how Arduino products are being sold. Coming from Raspberry world, it seems that I don't know what actually Arduino is.

Question:

I am trying to understand what is it that this product offers:

Arduino UNO R3

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  1. Why it says "For Arduino UNO R3"? 2. Isn't it actually an "Arduino UNO R3"? So why it says "For"?
  2. What are MEGA328P and CH340? Does "Arduino UNO R3" comes with other chipsets?
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It sounds to me like an Arduino Uno clone.

Why it says "For Arduino UNO R3"?

I would read that as "For Arduino UNO R3 projects" (ie. Uno-compatible).

Isn't it actually an "Arduino UNO R3

No, it's a clone. Or not really a clone (see below) because they used different hardware. It is compatible with the Uno in most respects.

What are MEGA328P?

That is the main chip on the board (actually an Atmega328P).

and CH340?

They have saved money by using a CH340 USB-to-serial chip instead of the Atmega16U2 used on genuine Uno boards. You may need to install a different driver to make that work. I disagree with the other answer(s) that this is a separate board or chip. It is clear from the photo of the chip near the USB socket that it is a CH340 chip there. See, for example https://hackaday.com/tag/ch340/ from which I quote:

The cheapest USB to serial chip on the market appears to be the CH340G, available for 20-40 cents apiece from the usual retailers. There is, however, almost no English documentation, and the datasheet for the CH340 family doesn’t include this chip

They used it because it is cheap.

Does "Arduino UNO R3" comes with other chipsets?

Yes the genuine one comes with an Atmega328P (main processor) and Atmega16U2 (USB interface).


Having said all that, the Uno is a good all-rounder starting board to get going with Arduinos.

Note that they are using the SMD (surface mounted) main processor chip. If you fry it you need to replace the whole board, not just the chip. However the entire board is quite cheap. :)

  • This was very helpful. Thank you!. One more set of questions and I am good to start :).Is there any good reason I should avoid this type of Colne? Should I try to find a clone that uses both Atmega328P and Atmega16U2? This board was sold 222 times all five stars, but I wonder if I should avoid CH340? – Allan Xu Oct 22 '15 at 23:16
  • @AllanXu The CH340 is ultra-cheap. That tells you most of what you need to know: you get what you pay for. When it works its fine. Don't expect it to be rugged. There are reports of them being killed very easily by static. The drivers aren't good and have caused problems in the past for people. Avoid it if you use OS X Yosemite or you may end up crippling your whole system. How did they get it so cheap? By cutting corners of course - and that means it's less reliable. – Majenko Oct 22 '15 at 23:31
  • You can't really lose much by trying it at that price. However my experience of a cheap Ethernet board from eBay was that it didn't work nearly as well as the official one. – Nick Gammon Oct 23 '15 at 5:00
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The board in the picture is not an official Arduino board. It is a clone. You will note that in the picture the board does not say "Arduino" It may be 100% compatible or it may not, you have to decide if the low price is worth it.

If you want an official board you should check either http://arduino.cc or http://arduino.org to find official distributors. (see this question for information about why there is both arduino.cc and arduino.org).

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