As you may know Arduino development environment is an open source multi-platform software that can run on Windows, Mac OS or Linux operating systems. It doesn’t require installation, but before you can use it together with your Arduino board you will need to install the necessary drivers first. The installation process is simple and I think that if you are running a Windows system, then maybe this guide can help you get started with Arduino. In the following example I will try to explain how to install drivers for Arduino Uno R3 board under Windows 7 32-bit.
The first thing you need to do is download the Arduino development environment from the download section of the official Arduino site (make sure you choose the right version for your operating system), then unzip the file. This will create a folder named arduino-x.x.x containing the software version number. You can put this folder anywhere you like (for the following example, I have chosen the Program files folder) and then create a shortcut to the Arduino application on your desktop. Thus you do not have to navigate to the Arduino folder every time you want to launch the Arduino development environment.
Now that the software is downloaded you can connect the Arduino board to one of the USB ports on your computer, but remember that depending on the model, different Arduino boards use different USB cables. For example, Arduino Uno requires male A plug to male B plug USB cable, which is the same type used for the connection between a computer and a printer. Unlike Uno, some other versions of Arduino like Arduino Due and Arduino Leonardo require male USB A to male USB micro-B cable. Once the board is connected, the green LED labeled PWR should light up because as we know Arduino can be powered directly from the USB port.
If the device is properly detected, the operating system will try to install the necessary drivers, but it will most likely fail, because if you haven’t used Arduino so far, then most likely these drivers do not exist on your hard drive. If so, you can do the following:
1. Go to Start menu, right click on Computer and select Properties from the menu that appears. When the System window opens click on Device manager from the menu on the left. Another easy way to get to the System window is to enter the Start menu, type “Device Manager” in the search box and then select it from the results that appear.
2. In the Divice manager window under Other devices you should see an Unknown device. Right click on it and select Update driver software from the menu.
3. In the next window select the option “Browse my computer for Driver software”.
4. Specify the full path to the folder containing aiduino drivers (or use the “Browse” button to locate it manually) and click Next. The folder which is called Drivers can be found in the main directory of the Arduino software. As mentioned above for my example I decided to unzip the Arduino development environment in C:\Program files.
5. Do not worry if you see a message saying that Windows can not verify the publisher of the drivers that you are trying to install. Usually the reason for the appearance of the Windows security window is that the driver is not digitally signed. However, this is not a problem and won’t harm your system so you can safely click on Install this driver software anyway to proceed with the installation.
6. After some time, the operating system will tell you that the installation has been successfully completed and your device is properly detected. You can also check the status of your Arduino board, the Device Manager.
Pay attention to the com (serial) port associated with your Arduino board because before you can create and upload sketches you will need to manually specify the port to which the board is connected in the Arduino development environment. Therefore, your next step will be to start the Arduino software, go to Tools > Serial Port and select the the right com port. In my case, as you can see, it is com 8 but in your installation that port may be quite different. You may also need to manually select the model of the Arduino board you are installing if it is not already selected automatically by the program. To access the list of supported boards go to Tools > Board.
That’s all. Now your Arduino board is installed and you can start creating new projects. I recommend you to check the examples that are included in the Arduino environment as well as the Learning section of the official Arduino site.