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I've been using the stm32f4 discovery up until now but I've heard Arduinos are easier to use. While looking for an Arduino Genuino Uno Rev3 board, I was told to get a knock off instead.

Is there any real difference between Arduino boards and other knock off micros with similar specs? I really just want to get a feel for what it's like using an 'easier' micro. It doesn't need to be extra special.

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    Are you sure you are looking for an "adruino" ?
    – PlasmaHH
    Feb 1, 2017 at 11:56
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    "Arduino" is not the name of a microcontroller family. So you are trying to compare apples with oranges (Arduinos are microcontroller boards; most of the Arduino boards are based on Atmels ATmega controllers but there are also ones with an ARM controller)
    – Curd
    Feb 1, 2017 at 11:58
  • You might want to look into this if you are interested in knowing the background of Arduino. Namely how it was ""adapted"" from Wiring.
    – Wesley Lee
    Feb 1, 2017 at 23:32

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Arduino have "standardized connectorss" for witch are many shields created. Also many manufacturers marks anything vaguely in power range of 5V as "for Arduino", because Arduino is so popular. And that is main reason, that Arduino is so popular. (This and that it came in the righ time with equipement targeting to be easy for beginners and a lot of educational materials).

I am using Arduino just because I start with it and bought a lot of AVR based boards and chips, but I may switch to STM for higher computing power, more pins and better equipement.

And the Arduino IDE is easy for beginners (and popular between them), because it have nearly nothing in it and it can compile+upload code to Arduino with just 2 buttons. (But it is like notepad with few more buttons - if you are a little more advanced you will run away for better editor/IDE/whatever at all cost. I use Vim + Make to create and run Arduino code and avoid the IDE totally, many do that too.)

So if you are used to STM32F4 kit, it would be big step back for you and it would satisfy you only if you need something cheap for work, where your STM is total overkill.

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  • Just as a reference, STM boards are actually cheaper than the genuine arduino boards ;) plain microcontrollers and the smallest compatible boards are even cheaper, but plain microcontrollers are not so user friendly
    – frarugi87
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:08
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enter image description here

This is Google Trend of Arduino (blue) versus four other boards: STM32 (red), Teensy (green), MSP430 (yellow) and PIC32 (magenta).

That means lot of people using Arduino, making hardware and software, writing blogs, answering questions. That's the biggest plus of Arduino.

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I think the reason why people say Arduino is easier to use is because it has a nice IDE and code upload is rarely troublesome.

Especially, the IDE allows the user to code hardware related functions with simplified functions.

For example, when coding an Arduino Sketch, the user doesn't really have to bother about registers.

The Arduino family are based on Atmel chips, so when it comes to raw hardware performance, Arduino performances are identical to Atmel chips.

If you are familiar with what you have(STM32F4) and don't want to make things easier but rather challenging, you don't have to move to Arduino.

Of course, if you want a simple & fast prototyping, nothing beats Arduino. (<- my personal opinion)

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    "Nice IDE"? I find it terrible.
    – Eugene Sh.
    Feb 1, 2017 at 15:45
  • @EugeneSh.yeah well for beginners, it could be. Since they don't have to configure complicated options and all that.
    – kwagjj
    Feb 1, 2017 at 15:48
  • I agree with @EugeneSh., and even as a beginner I despised it. I quickly moved on to PIC and MPLab, and since have done work in Atmel Studio on AVRs and so on. MUCH better! Gives you a lot more freedom and more tools to work with
    – DerStrom8
    Feb 1, 2017 at 23:27

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