Arduino Uno 101: Using the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (UK)

I’m an experienced programmer, but have only ever touched on electronics during A-levels and my degree course. New developer boards Arduino open up the world of micro-electronics to those with little or no experience. This is the start of my adventure:

The kit I brought was the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit for Arduino with Retail Case resold by Relchron. I had read that it was possible to get a working example up and running in under an hour and found that was easily true.

SparkFun Inventors Kit - Closed SparkFun Inventors Kit - Open

The kit is neatly packaged, and all the items are well protected. The Arduino Board (in this case an Arduino Uno variant) felt very professional indeed. It was in a high quality box, printed inside and out, with a quality seal, detailed leaflet and geeky sticker pack. The extra effort and cost of all these small additions adds a air of quality to board. Confidence in this little fella is high!

Arduino Uno in Box Breadboard, Arduino Uno and Project Holder

The kit also comes with a mini Breadboard, project templates (that fit neatly over the breadboard telling you where to plug the components in) and neat holder that holds the breadboard and Uno together nicely.

Development Software

The Arduino Development Software is downloaded and installed from I’m running this on Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit without any issues.

SNAGHTMLaf57058  IMG_20110929_194717


The Arduino is connected via a USB cable (old style, massive end, no idea why they haven’t used micro usb!?). The lead is included in the pack. Once connected you have to jump through some hoops to install the drivers, but this is an issue with Win7, not the Uno. Details for doing this are in the included booklet.

IMG_20110929_194742 IMG_20110929_195223

Once connected, the Uno will appear under a serial COM port in the Device Manager.

Getting Started: 101

The first ‘101’ project to build is a simple blinking LED. Yep I know this is no iPhone 5, but it’s a sensible starting point for a novice to learn the core features of the board.

  1. Using the provided pins, attach the CIRC-01 overlay on top of the breadboard.
  2. Build the circuit as described on the overlay.
  3. Connect the USB

That’s it. If it’s all connected properly the LED will start blinking. This must be a default program (“Sketch”) that is already loaded into the board. But obviously a core part of this kit is to program it yourself. So;

  1. In the Arduino Application, select File | Examples | 1. Basics | Blink. This will load a “blinking sketch” into the application.
  2. Modify the sketch, by changing some of the delays for example.
  3. Click the Upload button

IMG_20110929_201200 IMG_20110929_195239

The new Sketch will be uploaded to the Arduino and start immediately. With only a few tweaks to the Sketch you can setup a very simple morse code SOS blink:


  Morse SOS

  This example code is in the public domain.


int pinLed = 13;

int dotDelay = 200;

int dashDelay = 600;

int letterPause = 1000;

int loopPause = 2000;

void setup() {

  // initialize the digital pin as an output.

  // Pin 13 has an LED connected on most Arduino boards:

  pinMode(pinLed, OUTPUT);


void loop() {

  // could be wrapped in a loop, but IMHO this reads better, so more maintainable.

  // S





  // O





  // S






void dot(){



void dash(){



void cycleLed(int cycleLedTime){

  digitalWrite(pinLed, HIGH);   // set the LED on

  delay(cycleLedTime);              // wait for a second

  digitalWrite(pinLed, LOW);    // set the LED off




And we’re done. All in all, this took about 25-30 mins… so, what shall I build next?…hmmm…

2 thoughts on “Arduino Uno 101: Using the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (UK)

Add yours

  1. hello!
    I was given this set as a gift almost a year ago and it’s only now that i’ve started assembling it! 😀 how far have you gone with this? Still enjoying it? 🙂

    1. It’s never had the love it should have done. It sits in a drawer with a selection of Pi’s, Microbits and Sparks waiting for the day I do something amazing with it 😛

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