5 Unique Arduino Projects for Beginners You Can Make With Just a Starter Kit

Guy McDowell 18-04-2016

If you’re interested in electronics at all, you’ve heard of the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform What is Arduino: Everything You Need to Know (In Video) What is an Arduino and why should you care? In this video, I attempt to answer that question, and more. Read More . If you’re just hearing about it now, you’re in for some fun!


Arduino is an open-source Why Do People Contribute to Open Source Projects? Open source development is the future of software. It's great for users because open source software is usually available gratis and often safer to use. But what compels developers to contribute code for free? Read More  hardware design, so anyone can use the plans to make and sell their own boards. The companies that make the different boards also offer a variety of beginner’s kits, which typically include an Arduino (or “Arduino compatible”) board and all sorts of electronic components: bread board for prototyping, sensors, relays, servo controllers and motors, jumper wires, LEDs …or any combination of those and more.

different types electronics components

The official Arduino starter kit is overpriced at well over $100, and doesn’t come with an awful lot of components. Instead, consider this third party Arduino-compatible starter kit from Sunfounder, which comes with a number of LEDs, dials, and other fun stuff. It’s one of the favorite Arduino kits 4 Best Starter Kits for Arduino Beginners There are plenty of great beginner Arduino projects that you can use to get started, but you'll need an Arduino and some components first. Here's our pick of 4 of the best starter kits for... Read More around here. If you want to see if working with electronics is something you’ll like Beginner's Electronics: 10 Skills You Need to Know Many of us have never even touched a soldering iron - but making things can incredibly rewarding. Here's ten of the most basic DIY electronics skills to help you get started. Read More , what’s $60?

ELEGOO UNO Project Basic Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 Compatible with Arduino IDE ELEGOO UNO Project Basic Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 Compatible with Arduino IDE Buy Now On Amazon $17.99

The Elego UNO Project Super Starter Kit is another well-appointed set. It’s also under $60 and you get a good board with a lot of quality electronics components.


ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 Compatible with Arduino IDE ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 Compatible with Arduino IDE Buy Now On Amazon $36.99

Most people will do the common beginner’s projects like making a traffic light Arduino Programming for Beginners: Traffic Light Controller Project Tutorial Building an Arduino traffic light controller helps you develop basic coding skills! We get you started. Read More . But you’re a reader. You’re amazing. So why not let your first Arduino project be amazingly cool too? Let’s take a look at 5 different amazing and unique projects anyone can make with an Arduino starter kit. Read all the way to the end to see one device that could be so fun, it’s scary.

Detect Lies with Tin Foil, Wire, and Arduino

This is just for fun. You can’t really detect lies with this project. But you can learn about how what we think and feel affects what our body does. That’s pretty cool. This project detects electrodermal activity. You might know it as galvanic skin response (GSR), from TV cop shows.

finger electrode for diy lie detector


Everything you need to build this is in the kit, except some tin foil and Velcro. There’s a good chance you have those in the house already. Basically, you connect a ground wire to the tinfoil, make an electrode wrap, hook that up to the Arduino properly and add the right program. An Arduino program is called a “sketch” Which Programming Languages Can You Use With Arduino? Ready to try something different with your Arduino? You needn't be confined by programming in C. Take these alternative languages for a test drive. Read More . Then have some fun asking your friends questions and see what the device says.

A Simple Arduino Battery Tester

Anybody can use a store-bought battery tester, but not just anyone can build one. Okay, maybe anyone can if they have an Arduino starter kit. Using your Arduino board, 3 LEDS, bread board, a Zener diode, and some of the jumper wires, you can make a unit to tell you roughly how much juice is left in your battery. Plus it gives you an excuse to say Zener diode. Throw that in your next conversation with your buddies for some instant electronics geek cred Level Up Your Geek Credentials With Any of These 5 Programming Projects Read More .

If you enjoy making that one, consider adding a readout to your LCD module. Then you could get exact voltages. If your kit doesn’t come with a Zener diode, you can get 10 of them for about $7.00. Never hurts to have a few spares. Gives you more chances to say Zener diode later on.

Home Made Arduino RADAR

One of the great things about learning to build stuff with an Arduino, is how it can often help you learn about other technology. In this case, it’s radio detection and ranging 6 Effective Tools To Avoid Police Radar Speed Traps Read More (RADAR).


Using the ultrasonic sensor, servo controller and motor, the Arduino board and some other bits, you can make a sweeping RADAR device. If you take the time to work out the math in the sketch, it can be surprisingly accurate about the distance of things it sees. This project uses another piece of software called Processing Learn to Program in Processing: A Language for Visual Designers The 21st Century is open to creativity through digital means and programming. Would you be surprised to learn that there is a programming language out there designed for the artist in you? Read More , which looks a lot like the Arduino app, but is used to visualise the ultrasonic sensor output.

Sure, it’s a very short-range RADAR, but also very cool looking and will give you lots of other ideas about using ultrasonic sensors 8 Arduino Robots You Can Build for Less than $125 The Arduino can do a lot, but did you know it can create full-fledged robots? For quite cheap, too! Read More in other projects.

Snake Game on an 8×8 Matrix Using Arduino

For many people, their interest in electronics came from playing handheld electronic games How To Recreate The Classic Pong Game Using Arduino Pong was the first ever videogame that reached the mass market. For the first time in history, the concept of a "video game" was brought into the family home, thanks to the Atari 2600 -... Read More . Why not make a game as one of your first projects? The classic snake game can be built with the Elego starter kit mentioned earlier. If you never had a flip phone, this is the game where you have to keep from biting your own tail as long as you can. If you’re older than flip phones 10 Weird Looking Cell Phones That People Actually Purchased Read More , no explanation is needed. You got this.

You’ll use the Arduino UNO, 8×8 LED dot matrix display, shift register component Arduino Programming - Playing With Shift Registers (a.k.a Even More LEDs) Today I’ll attempt to teach you a little bit about Shift Registers. These are a fairly important part of Arduino programming, basically because they expand the number of outputs you can use, in exchange for... Read More , 16×2 LCD, 1K potentiometer What's in Your Arduino Starter Kit? [Arduino Beginners] Faced with a box full of electronic components, it's easy to be overwhelmed. Here's a guide to exactly what you'll find in your kit. Read More , 4 push buttons, connecting wires, bread board, and power supply. Here you can find the schematic and code samples. It’s not the simplest beginner’s project 5 Creative Toys For Budding Young Geeks If you're putting your child on a fast track to geeky world domination, you'll need some toys to help them along the way. These creative toys should be just the thing. Read More , but if you’ve already built the beginner projects that come with the kit, you’re ready for this.


Arduino EMF Detector a.k.a. Ghost Detector

This is the one you were curious about. An EMF detector is a device that senses the electro magnetic force given off of anything electronic that has power. Ghost hunters How To Become a Paranormal Investigator [Best Sites] Read More claim it can detect spirits, too. Seriously, what show with anything supernatural on it hasn’t used an EMF detector? None. Plus with the Ghostbusters Advanced Ghostbusters, Possible Movie Sequel? If the movie "Ghostbusters" were made today, this is probably how it'd look like. Read More reboot coming soon, this could be a cool prop for your Hallowe’en costume Want to Create Tech-Inspired Halloween Costumes? Here's How Halloween is coming! Here are some ideas about how to meld tech with cosplay to create some of the scariest costumes around. Read More . Or maybe you just want to see if great aunt Martha really is still hanging around.

The first one in the video above gives its results via a single LED. But you could do so much more! You could try the LED bar also shown in the video, or have an EMF count show on a 7-segment display, or have it make a sound with a piezo buzzer, kind of like a Geiger counter. If you’re feeling adventurous, try building in LEDs, an analog gauge, and the piezo buzzer. Once you’ve built the basic one, you’ll probably be able to figure out a Sam and Dean Winchester approved version.

Supernatural Dean Winchester EMF Detector

You Can Do It

Those are just five really cool Arduino projects for beginners. You’re not limited to what comes in the project books that come with some kits. Take to the Internet, search out things you think you’d like to build. When it comes to Arduino, chances are someone has already done something similar. The DIY community DIY Dad & Mom: Raise Your Kid to Be a Tinkerer with Cool Home Projects Do you and your kids tinker together? If not, start today. Teach them to create things and you teach them to take control of their world. Read More is all about sharing. So many people are more than happy to share how they did it with you. Just pay them back by making sure you share too. Need more ideas? Check out these 6 coolest Arduino projects Get Inspired by 6 of the Coolest Arduino Projects Ever Like most people, I remember the first Arduino project I made. I also remember thinking "what's next?". Read More .

Image Credits:  experiments in electronics by Patrizio Martorana via Shutterstock, Assorted Electronic Components via Shutterstock, DIY Polygraph Machine Arduino via WonderHowTo user William Finucane, Jeremy Woods taking polygraph test (Re-creation) via Flickr.

Related topics: Arduino, Electronics, Programming.

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  1. Cindy
    March 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Your website is very resourceful! Can you show a quick project or circuit using the Inland Nano r3 Starter Kit? I have the basic arduino kits. I am teacher and a parent donated these starter kits to me but I am confused how to set them up versus the arduino circuits and sketches. Thank you so much!