General Arduino info
This may go without saying, but your first stop for Arduino information should often be the official Arduino site itself. With excellent documentation and lots of example projects, its a good place to try before venturing out into the wilderness of the wider internet.
The Arduino Playground is the official community page for the main website, and is another great place to start for anything Arduino-related. Documentation, tutorials, code libraries – it’s all there. A bit hard to navigate, but a solid first stop when moving beyond the basic Arduino docs.
Although there’s a ton of good Arduino info online, sometimes you can’t beat having a physical resource in front of you while you put together your projects. EngBlaze has put together a list of five of the best Arduino books on the market. Each one caters to a slightly different skill level, but all of them have a ton of great project ideas. Check out our summaries to find the book that’s best for you.
Ladyada hosts a short tutorial course that is excellent for jumping into Arduino and electronics for the first time.
On the Freeduino page, you’ll find a HUGE list of tutorials, example projects, and articles with general info and best practices. Tough to get through them all, but it’s in alphabetical order and worth a check if you’re having trouble finding info elsewhere.
tronixstuff has a long series of Arduino tutorials that begin with the basics and move all the way through advanced sensing and communications. The material there is enough to be a thorough book all on its own. Ever wonder how to get started with Zigbee/Xbee communications? Linking cellular modems to your Arduino? Perhaps some infrared or temperature sensors? Like JCPenney, it’s all inside. The site’s author, John Boxall, posts lots of cool project writeups on the his personal blog as well.
Arduino shields, kits, and parts
The undisputed king of hobbyist electronics suppliers, Sparkfun has remained true to its DIY roots even as its size and offerings expand. As they explain themselves, their site is about making electronics more accessible to the average person. They may not always be the cheapest, but their prices are fair, their staff is friendly and knowleagable, and they have tons of things you just can’t get anywhere else (if you’re not ordering 1000 units, anyway).
They also specifically cater to the Arduino community, with a wide array of custom shields and even a few custom versions of the Arduino platform. In particular, the Pro series offers great alternatives to the official Uno or Mini boards, with an expanded feature set and a lower price to boot. Check their handy Arduino Buying Guide for an unbiased rundown of what’s available.
Founded by Limor Fried, the namesake behind Ladyada and the excellent resources mentioned further up, Adafruit is all about open source hardware and good old-fashioned hacking. Like Sparkfun, they have their own line of custom Arduino shields and specialize in providing hard-to-find prototyping parts and accessories. There are some heavy hitters that have a huge presence in all aspects of the Arduino community, and Ladyada is one of them.
Searching for that perfect shield to complete your project? http://www.shieldlist.org/ has a ridiculous array of shields, with descriptions, purchase sources, and pinouts for each. If you can’t find it here, you probably will have to make it yourself.