Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:06 am

Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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I've ordered an Arduino nano every board and I wanted to start writing some code while I wait for it to arrive. Is it possible to test out the code written in the Arduino IDE without actually having the physical board plugged in?

Edit - I'm using a Macbook pro & latest version of the Arduino IDE (1.8.12)

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Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:43 am

Re: Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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Great question! You can definitely program for Arduino without having a real board. However, what you'll need to do if coding for an Arduino sans an Arduino, is emulate a board. For that, you'll find loads of different programs. The aptly-named Arduino Simulator is a free, open-source cross-platform Arduino simulator written in Python. The CodeBlocks Arduino IDE features an Arduino API-level simulator. Simuino is a neat Arduino UNO and MEGA simulator that's free to use. TinkerCAD offers a cool way to program for Arduino without an actual board in its Circuits. Using Circuits.io you can create code on a virtual breadboard, plus run real-time simulations that allow you to, for example, watch an LED blinking.

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:03 am

Re: Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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ArduinoKid wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:10 pm
Great question! You can definitely program for Arduino without having a real board. However, what you'll need to do if coding for an Arduino sans an Arduino, is emulate a board. For that, you'll find loads of different programs. The aptly-named Arduino Simulator is a free, open-source cross-platform Arduino simulator written in Python. The CodeBlocks Arduino IDE features an Arduino API-level simulator. Simuino is a neat Arduino UNO and MEGA simulator that's free to use. TinkerCAD offers a cool way to program for Arduino without an actual board in its Circuits. Using Circuits.io you can create code on a virtual breadboard, plus run real-time simulations that allow you to, for example, watch an LED blinking.


I personally wouldn't recommend Simuino as I found it lacked functionality. Simulator for Arduino is pretty decent but it isn't open-source. You could of course just wait for your board to be delivered :)

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:06 am

Re: Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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Thanks, guys. I figured CodeBlocks would be a good suggestion as I think I had heard of CodeBlocks before, however, its a Windows only download :((

I'll give Simulator for Arduino when I get a chance.

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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:38 am

Re: Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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Circuits on TinkerCad would be my recommendation: https://www.tinkercad.com/circuits .

It's super easy to use and very powerful for a free product. It allows you to prototype your electronic designs completely within the browser, before physically building them, which I find useful.

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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:26 pm

Re: Can I program for Arduino without having a real board?

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I'll upvote Circuits.io as well! TinkerCAD makes a great user-friendly app to program for Arduino without a real board.