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I am totally new to Arduino and I'm a real beginner with electronics and robotics. I would like to know where to start, knowing that my ultimate goal is to build an autonomous robot (I know that I will not be able to do this project before learning a lot of things). I am a developer so I have no problem with C and C++, actually I am using C++ at work.

Thanks

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    After typing my answer, I wouldn't be too surprised if someone tries to close your question as "too broad". You probably need to focus it a bit to guard against this possibility. See, for example: Getting started – Nick Gammon Jan 28 '16 at 20:27
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I would start with a lot of small projects, each designed to give you confidence over one small aspect. For example:

  • Detect variations in light with an LDR
  • Operate a motor (there are various types of motors) - including controlling one with a MOSFET or BJT transistor
  • Blink LEDs
  • Connect something with a fancier interface (eg. I2C or SPI) and get the hang of "talking" to a more sophisticated interface chip (you'll probably need this for things like balancing)
  • Try distance detection. Eg. with bouncing light or sound off an obstacle
  • Communicate between two Arduinos - get used to communications protocols, reliability, packet loss, etc.
  • Get used to detecting switch presses, either individual ones, or a keypad (or both)
  • Look into reverse polarity protection
  • Look into detecting low voltages on your batteries
  • Try radio communications (probably need to send your robot instructions) - there are various different ways of doing that
  • Possibly experiment with motor-driver boards (eg. H-bridges) which you may need for driving wheels
  • Investigate reading continuous values (eg. potentiometers, rotary encoders)
  • Investigate read-outs (eg. 7-segment LED displays, or LCD displays)
  • Investigate generating sounds (beeps, tunes)

You could take a look at my radio controlled car project. I look into some of those things there, and describe how I handled them.

Radio controlled car

I would do these things initially on the bench. Don't try to assemble something fancy until you have some experience with how the individual parts work.

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Personally I think the best way to start is hands on with a small robot. I mean the kind that have a couple of wheels, are circular and only a few inches in diameter. You can add many kinds of sensors or actuators as you learn. You get to see it move and hold it and pick it up.

The idea is to start with basic LED control and then get motors turning, sensors on, and then improvements and upgrades.

If you're ok at coding then electronics may be the bottle neck. Get a good book is my advice. As far has hardware the EEVBLOG guy Dave gives a good run down on what he recommends here.

Just start.

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It's sounds silly, but just get an UNO, a breadboard, wires, 1 resistor (220 ohm) and an LED.

Wire up a LED circuit, and program the Arduino to flash the LED. (There's a million examples of this all over the internet).

Without getting into any sort of heavy circuits or complex programming, you'll have a quick stress-free introduction to Arduino.

This will teach you:

  • using a breadboard
  • wiring digital ports on the Arduino
  • polarity of components (LED yes, Resistor no)
  • using the Arduino IDE
  • uploading to the board

This is a great jumping-in point because it's reasonably fool-proof.

Sure you can eventually be PID-controlling the balance of a 2-wheel robot. But build yourself a working foundation of good knowledge first.

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