Arduino is an electronic development board designed for a wide range of applications. When we say electronic it means we have to deal with current and voltages. A question comes to the minds of many beginners: is Arduino harmful for my computer? Can Arduino burn or damage my laptop? Answers to all these questions will be covered in this Article.
Can Arduino Damage (or Kill) Your Computer?
Yes, Arduino can damage your computer in case you make wrong connections or attach any excessive current drawing external circuit. Many people have already faced this issue. Being an Arduino hobbyist, this is the worst thing to happen. There are different factors that can lead to burning your PC. We will highlight the major problems that can damage PCs along with possible solutions.
How Can Arduino Damage Your Computer
Arduino boards are designed using microcontrollers having high precision and efficiency. Microcontrollers use semiconductor materials that can damage PCs, or any circuit attached to them if not handled properly. Most common practices that can kill a PC are described below.
Giving More than 5V to Arduino Using 5V Pin
Arduino has 5V pin which can be used to power Arduino, or it can also give power to external circuits when Arduino is connected to power supply using USB, DC jack or Vin pin. The 5V pin on the Arduino board is not connected to any regulator and does not have any current protection.
Giving a high voltage to the 5V pin while the Arduino is connected to the computer using USB cable will result in backflow of current which can damage the USB port of the computer.
Connecting Arduino GND and Power Pin
Most of the time working on Arduino projects required many wires to handle. Sometimes a single wrong connection can permanently damage an Arduino board or PC. One major problem that occurs is shorting the GND with power pins (5V/3.3V). Arduino draws a large amount of current when connected to a PC using a USB port, connecting GND with the power pin will damage the USB port permanently due to excess current.
Drawing Excessive Current
Another scenario which can damage a PC is drawing current more than your computer can supply. Sometimes an external circuit like motors, shields and hardware modules need more current from the Arduino which results in excessive intake of Current from the PC hence resulting in damaging your PC. Situations like these happen when we connect motors without powering them using external supply.
Cheap Arduino Boards
Clones or cheap Arduino boards are another reason for damaging PCs with Arduino. These boards are super cheap to buy but come with bad quality and can easily malfunction. They have poor semiconductor material used along with low quality diodes and poor routing. They can cause back flow of current which means current can go back into the USB port of PC.
How to Save Your PC from Getting Damaged by Arduino
Taking some precautionary measures can save PCs from getting any kind of damage through Arduino:
Here is a list of preventive measure one can take to save his PC:
- Avoid powering the Arduino using a 5V or 3.3V pin.
- Always use a separate power supply for external circuitry.
- Using a USB isolator, it can save PCs from current and voltage surges.
- Before powering the Arduino check and verify all the wirings.
- Avoid clone or cheap Arduino boards as they can cause both hardware and software issues.
Arduino is a great tool for interacting with different devices and modules, while working with Arduino we must take technical specifications of these modules under consideration as many of the circuits have separate power requirements. Here we have discussed how Arduino can damage our PC and what are the possible ways that can save it from any type of malfunctioning.