Arduino

Top 5 Arduino Libraries for Linux

The library that you use for your Arduino project depends on the demands of the project. At first, you may prefer simplicity for your small experiments; later, you may need more speed, special hardware, and better control of your microcontroller. You can make basic tasks work correctly with the simple scripts that you learn as a beginner. When you build a system, you will need many tasks and several input/output devices.

For a robotics project, there are various requirements of IoT projects. An IoT project will need to communicate with other systems, such as a server that collects data or even a web server. For media, you need to find the source of the files and how to decode for playing the files.

Arduino Works with Libraries

When you start out with Arduino, you can find libraries on their website. These libraries are designed for specific tasks and hardware. With so many libraries available, you may be feeling confused about which library to use. To find the best library for your needs, you must consider your current project. Arduino is more versatile than it first appears, and to make a great application, you may use many types of hardware or advanced software. The better models can have machine learning onboard using the TinyML library. This article covers the top five libraries for Linux offered by Arduino.

Beginners

For beginners, you have everything built in. Even when you stick with what the Arduino IDE offers, there are more than 3,600 libraries available. The wide variety of libraries available can make it hard to choose a single library. In most cases, you will start learning by flashing LEDs or moving motors, so get the library that matches the hardware you need to use.

So, before you get more involved in the project, you need to consider what you have added for the specific project in terms of hardware. When you have gotten the hang of the basics, the most useful library you can use is the Arduino LowPower library, which helps to handle the SMD components in the newer Arduino boards.

Robotics

For robotics, you will need to communicate using the I2C bus, run servos, and handle sensors. In this case, look for OpenCat libraries. If you have purchased the standard Arduino robot control board, use those libraries to control the motors, read the IR sensor, and perform other tasks. There is a more general library though, named Servo, that supports many servo models and can function with many servos at the same time.

Most robots use ultrasound sensors to sense obstacles, and a great library to use for this function is the Ultrasonic library. This library tells the device the distance of an obstacle from the sensor. If you want to upgrade to a more complex library, there are many more libraries to support your efforts, but these libraries will get you started.

IoT

When running IoT projects, your focus will be on sensors. You will also need to send data back to the servers and between devices. The MQTT protocol is the best option for communicating within an IoT project. The reason for this is that it is made to send extremely small messages. The smallest footprint library available is the Adafruit MQTT library. Other libraries may support a few more features, but they are not as functional when it comes to memory.

For professional projects, there are many more alternatives than the ones mentioned above, so you should consider which library is best suited to your project. In IoT, you can go very far with microcontrollers out to the edge and let the servers handle the heavy number crunching and data.

Media

You can also play Music using an Arduino library. The standard library for any board plays only .wav files. However, to use other audio formats, you can get the ESP8266 to play music using the ESP8266Audio Library. When you use this library, you will need to include the correct file format.

Home Automation

The X10 library helps you to send data over AC power lines. You need this library to create the signals with the device connected to the AC power. A home automation system otherwise needs mostly IoT libraries and, of course, sensors. One variant is to add an RFID reader to replace your key. Beware that bad elements have copied RFID cards in the past, so consider carefully how secure you need the system to be.

Not Good Enough?

All the libraries provided in this list can do great things for your project, but at times, you may need something else. Sometimes, what you have created may be too difficult to implement, and reading the code can also be tricky. When this happens, you can write your own customized library to support your tasks.

If you have already written your own code, the process for creating your own library is straightforward. This may not be easy in all cases, but you can follow specific procedures to make the process simpler. With a little bit of coding experience and some tenacity, you should be able to create your own library. There is a good introduction to this topic at Instructables to get you started.

Conclusion

When choosing a library for your Arduino project, you must first pick the necessities, which include support for your hardware. Next, you need to know what your system needs to do and, most importantly, what the system needs to communicate with. To find exactly what your system needs, you should have a plan for what it will achieve. Will it water plants, measure your air quality, or secure a door? Use these functions to determine the library and features that you require.

About the author

Mats Tage Axelsson

Mats Tage Axelsson

I am a freelance writer for Linux magazines. I enjoy finding out what is possible under Linux and how we can all chip in to improve it. I also cover renewable energy and the new way the grid operates. You can find more of my writing on my blog.