Getting Started with the Arduino Esplora

Arduino Esplora is a device that looks like a video game controller and contains a small computer known as a microcontroller. It has an input which consists of four buttons, light sensor, joy stick, a slider, a temperature sensor, a microphone, and an accelerometer. In the output, there are three color LED and a buzzer. It has inbuilt inputs and output connected to the board and therefore giving it distinction from all the previous versions of Arduino boards. This article discusses the processes followed when connecting the Esplora board to the computer and how to upload an Arduino program also known as sketch.


1. Acquire an Arduino Esplora and USB cable
You are required to have an appropriate Micro-USB cable which is easily available because they are commonly used in some portable music players and mobile phones to upload or download data to or from a computer. It can be a type of “A” plug or “Micro-B” plug which is different from USB-Mini cable because it has slimmer connector as shown in the figure below.


2. Download the Arduino environment
Download version 1.0.3 of Arduino or a later version and unzip the downloaded fire in any directory. Ensure that you maintain the folder structure. Open the folder by double-clicking it. You should be able to see a few subfolders and files in the folder. In case you are using Mac, only the application would be found in the zip folder.

3. Connect the board
Use the USB cable to connect the board to the computer. After successful connection, a green power LED with an ON label should go on, the yellow LED labelled “L” should start glowing and start blinking on and off after 8 seconds

4. Drivers installation
When using Mac OS X, the “Keyboard Setup Assistant “launches immediately after plugging in the Esplora. Close this dialogue box because there is no need to configure Esplora. For Windows, the instructions for Windows 7 are also applicable for Windows XP with some few variations in the dialogue widows. After plugging in the board, wait for driver installation process to be initiated by the windows. However, if the process fails to start automatically, find the Arduino Esplora listing by navigating the Windows Device Manager. Select Update driver though right clicking. Choose “Browse my computer for driver software” in the windows that pops up and then click next. Select Browse… button and navigate to the downloaded folder with the Arduino software. Choose the drivers folder and click OK followed by Next. A notification pops up informing you that the board has not passed Windows Logo testing. Click on Continue Anyway button. After some times, a window will come up informing you that the wizard has completed installing Arduino Esplora software. Click on the Close button. For Linux, there is no need of installing drivers for Ubuntu 12.04.

5. Programming the board
Open the Arduino application by double clicking and in case it loads in a language not preferred, you can change the language in preferences dialogue. Access the Esplora Blink example sketch through: File > Examples > Esplora > Beginners > EsploraBlink. The right USB port can be chosen by using the Tools>Serial menu which displays the available port. Upload the program by pressing “Upload” button in the environment

6. Changing the RGB LED
It has input sensors which gets information using read commands and output actuators controlled using write commands. The Electric Actuators Zone comprises of RGB LED and the buzzer as the main output actuator.


7. Inputs changing outputs
It has several sensors in its surface and its input gives you values between 0 to 1023, in exception of push buttons which gives 0 or 1. The LED output varies from 0-255.

8. Next steps
More examples can be found in File -> Examples -> Esplora that can help someone to understand more Esplora programming according to whether you are an expert or a beginner.

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