This is a course outline I made up for a 10 week course to teach some basic electronics hacking to people who may be starting from ground level. I’ve since started teaching the course in a two week format and will have more to post about that later since we’re taking a slightly different approach.

Arduino for Artists, Non-Engineers and Newbies

This 10 week course is designed for Artists and electronics beginners. It will give a brief overview of a large number of topics related to the Arduino platform and embedded electronics. The course will cover basic electrical theory, various construction techniques, components and circuits typically used for interfacing with an Arduino, how to use the Arduino to talk to other computers, devices or components over a data bus, how to build on others’ work aka how to copy-pasta and hack some code together. The final 2 weeks activity will be chosen by the class, and will either be a final project as chosen by the individual students or will be a series of lectures on advanced topics chosen by the class as a whole.

Grading is based entirely on participation (50%) and attendance (50%; 5% per lecture) and is Pass/Fail (70-100% = Pass, 0-69% = Fail)

Homework will be assigned but will not be graded, students will gain more knowledge and insight by attempting the homework.

Students are responsible for materials.
–Modern laptop with USB and WiFi; OSX, Windows, or Linux should be ok
–Electronics kit or equivalent set of components. The electronics kit sold by the teacher will be available for purchase in the time prior to the first class. After kits are ordered no further kits will be ordered and the student will be responsible for purchasing components (a parts list will be provided)

Basic tools needed to complete each activity will be available. Students are welcome to bring their own tools too.

All digital course materials can be found at

There will be 10 lectures, each lecture will be 4 hrs long, with 10 min breaks every hour.

(The outline is just a guide, we may deviate significantly from it at times)

(1 weeks) Electrical analogy (4 hr):
–Ohm’s Law (1hr)
—-Parallel circuits
–Watt’s Law (1hr)
–Mixin’ it up combining to solve for the unknown (algebra, yikes!)(1hr)
–Student and teacher introductions, help from each other (1hr) (maybe invite key CMC and 10Bit People?)
–Homework: read over syllabus and resource list, do worksheet (Solve problems: Ohms, Watts, Combo), download first info packet from class website. Visit 10BitWorks.

(1 week) Building stuff (4 hr)
–Schematics and following instructions
–Data sheets
—-The tools and technique – do a small kit (2 hr)
—-DIY formats
——proto board
——dead bug
——Manhattan style
——strip board
–Homework: Download and print first page of data sheets for the following 3 part numbers x, y, z; And/or answer questions about each component based on information in the data sheet.

(1.5 weeks) Outputs (6 hr):
—-Single LED

—-Single tones
—-Arduino + SD + FAT16 + WAV-pcm
—-MP3 via Arduino + shield

—-H-bridge / DC motor

(1.5 weeks) Inputs (6 hr):
—    Single
—    Multiplexed

—    ADCs

—-Capacitive / cap-touch

(1 week) Both Input and Output interfaces, i.e. data bus or external digital sensors/memory (4 hr):
–One-Wire (very brief to optional)
–Parallel (very brief to optional)
–CAN (very brief to optional)

——- Students decide on projects or vote on extra topics
—-Thinking on your own, Heart + smarts + technology generally makes something great
—-Thinking creatively
—-Copy-Pasta and variation is ok make it relevant
—-If students decide to do a project then they must start thinking about it now and turn in a first draft/description (it can change) next lecture
—-If the students decide on additional lectures, then there will be 2 lectures covering topics they choose.

(2 weeks) How to copy-pasta or stand on the shoulders of giants (8 hr):
–Circuits (3 hr)
—-Basic circuit diagram and symbols
–Code (4 hr)
—-Boolean logic
—-Touch on binary math and hexadecimal/decimal / other number systems. Slots and range of values.
—-Flow control
—-Setup, Loop and before/after those code blocks, how do we know where everything starts, or what’s the order of execution.
—-Time – millis() and micros() and delay()
–Where to find more things to cobble together (1hr:
——List of places:;;;;;; google; manufacturer websites, data sheets, sales material, etc…
——Exercise: find two projects on the internet and come up with a plan to cobble them together with an Arduino. Include a BOM, a block of pseudo code or flow chart, and a component block diagram.

–Homework: take previously used circuits/code or given circuits/code and copy-pasta them together to make something new.

(2 weeks) Class discussion on topics from students or as chosen below by vote; or assistance on each individual’s art project or final project.
–Discussion as time allows 2 wks (8 hr in 2 sessions)
–Final project
—-Must decide on idea by 7 weeks in, giving 3 weeks to complete the task including 8 hr of class time

Advanced or chosen by class vote and ranking system (each student ranks each subject plus write ins on a scale of 1 to n, lowest to highest priority, points are added across topics and topics sorted by total points)
–Data sheets
–Power sources
—-Bench supply
——current limited
–High voltage or and/or high power
—-There are others
–Online Product Q&A
–Raspberry Pi
–Low power techniques
—-Low clock speed
—-modes/Sleep/watch dog/interrupts/timers
–Wireless communication
——TV Remotes
–AC electronics
—-Lumens vs mcd (the eye)
–Amateur ratio
——Studying and Testing
——Weak signal
—-Range and Power
——Information Theory
——–dB gain/loss power
——Range and power
–Reverse engineering
—-Part numbers and Googling
—-Advanced books and forums
–Product reviews
—-Amazon, newegg, blogs, dave jonesd, sparkfun, adafruit, makezine, ebay,
–Advanced soldering and or soldering SMT parts
–Equipment and tools
—-Soldering iron, solder, tips, rosin, cleaning, accessories
—-Logic analyzer
—-Recommended books
—-Hand tools
–Manufacturing Options
–Start-ups/small business