I am excited to play with one of the latest boards from Arduino. The Arduino Due is exciting because it was designed with a 32-bit ARM microcontroller instead of the 8-bit Atmel AVR MCU based Arduino boards that I am accustomed to. The new MCU provides the developer with more precision and faster clock speeds. This comparison chart pretty much sums up the improvements in speed and storage. The board also has a new USBHost library that helps you connect directly to certain types of USB devices like keyboards and mice.
The new chipset doesn’t come without its challenges though. Some things on the board are completely different – such as two micro usb ports and the operating voltage being 3.3v instead of 5v. These differences have lead to a separate forum for Due users to collaborate. Another thing to take into consideration when starting with the Due is the stable build of the Arduino IDE does not support the Due or Yun. You will want to grab the latest beta version available on Arduino.cc. At the time of writing the version number is 1.5.7 beta. Several people have reported issues when trying to run the latest beta on Mac OS X 10.9 due to Apple’s inclusion of a customized version of Java. I downloaded the latest version of JDK 7 from Oracle to fix the problem on my iMac. I did not have to re-bundle the JRE and JDK as others did.
Loading my first sketch on the Due was still easy enough. You still need to pick your board type and port in the IDE under the tool menu. I believe the default was set to COM 1 which might work for Windows users. My port is ‘/dev/tty.usbmodem1421’ which could be different on your system. I also used the ‘Programming USB Port’. The labeling of the USB ports is found on the back of the Due.
To ensure I was actually controlling the board’s LED, I change ‘delay(1000);’ to ‘delay(20000);’ on the basic blink sketch (found at File -> Examples – > Basic -> Blink) to slow down the blinking. For those wondering, the LED is still attached to the digital pin 13.
Before going to much further with my Due, I need to do the appropriate research to figure out which shields will work with the Due without frying it with a 5v requirement. So far I have had luck reading from the SD card and ethernet port on the Arduino Rev 3 Ethernet Shield.