The Arduino Esplora is a microcontroller board derived from the Arduino Leonardo. The Esplora differs from all preceding Arduino boards in that it provides a number of built-in, ready-to-use set of onboard sensors for interaction. It's designed for people who want to get up and running with Arduino without having to learn about the electronics first.
The Esplora has onboard sound and light outputs, and several input sensors, including a joystick, a slider, a temperature sensor, an accelerometer, a microphone, and a light sensor. It also has the potential to expand its capabilities with two Tinkerkit input and output connectors, and a socket for a color TFT LCD screen.
Like the Leonardo board, the Esplora uses an Atmega32U4 AVR microcontroller with 16 MHzcrystal oscillator and a micro USB connection capable of acting as a USB client device, like a mouse or a keyboard.
In the upper left corner of the board there is a reset pushbutton, that you can use to restart the board. There are four status LEDS :
- ON [green] indicates whether the board is receiving power supply
- L [yellow] connected directly to the microcontroller, accessible through pin 13
- RX and TX [yellow] indicates the data being transmitted or received over the USB communication
The board contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable to get started.
The Esplora has built-in USB communication; it can appear to a connected computer as a mouse or keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port. This has other implications for the behavior of the board; these are detailed on thegetting started page.
- Microcontroller: ATmega32u4
- Flash Memory: 32 KB of which 4 KB used by bootloader
- SRAM: 2.5 KB
- EEPROM: 1 KB
- Clock Speed: 16 MHz
- Length: 164.04 mm
- Width: 60mm
- Weight: 53g
The Leonardo the Esplora has a number of facilities for communicating with a computer, another Arduino, or other microcontrollers. The ATmega32U4 provides serial (CDC) communication over USB and appears as a virtual com port to software on the computer. The chip also acts as a full speed USB 2.0 device, using standard USB COM drivers. On Windows, a .inf file is required. The Arduino software includes a serial monitor which allows simple textual data to be sent to and from the Arduino board. The RX and TX &LEDs ;on the board will flash when data is being transmitted via the USB connection to the computer.
The Esplora can be programmed with the Arduino software (download). Select "Arduino Esplora" from the Tools > Board menu. For details, see the getting started page.
The ATmega32U4 ;on the Arduino Esplora comes preburned with a bootloader that allows you to upload new code to it without the use of an external hardware programmer. It communicates using the ;AVR109 protocol.
You can also bypass the bootloader and program the microcontroller through the ICSP (In-Circuit Serial Programming) header.