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I'm planning to buy the arduino, and I was wondering if one, will I need a keyboard to power this and for my second question- which relates to the Pi as well- will I need a soldering iron to be able to program things LEDs to light up or motors, or can I still program components using the arduino without soldering.

  • I don't think you really need soldering depending on what you exactly want to do. – Loko Dec 1 '13 at 11:31
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As Loko says, it depends what you want to do.

You can connect the GPIO pins to a breadboard, and then connect individual electronic components to the breadboard without doing any soldering. The arduino and the pi are the same in this sense.

I imagine you can go a long way in learning the fundamentals of electronic compenentry doing just that. Soldering is necessary if you want to make a more permanent assemblage, or if you want to connect another board that doesn't already have breakout pins attached. This would include various small sensors, complex arrays of LEDs, etc.

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If you want to experiment, then many components come in 'through hole' 'leaded' (with wires not with Pb) packages which can be used with a solderless breadboard. You can get connectors for the gpio pins to use them with a breadboard.

ICs that come in 0.1 inch dual-in-line packages can be used with a breadboard, but a lot of modern ICs are only available in surface mount packages. Unless someone solders them to a 'breakout board' you can't use them with a breadboard. Even then, you may have to solder header pins to the breakout to use them.

If you want to make a permanent project then using a breadboard is a waste and unreliable. You will either have to solder or wire-wrap it. Soldering is the easier option for most cases.

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