Getting Started with Arduino and Code Bender


I often get asked about the Arduino and one of the main issues people have is installing software, especially on locked down computers that many organisations use. A great way around this is to use an online IDE – an Integrated Development Environment. This is an online service that has all the bits you need to code an Arduino, including all the libraries you’ll ever need.

One of the best bits about CodeBender is that once you have installed the browser plugin the software is all online, so it’s always up to date – no need to install the next version ever again!

Ok, so let’s crack right into installing CodeBender and getting it up and running.

  1. Go to the CodeBender website and create an account. Follow the instructions here and then confirm the account email.
  2. The site will bring up a full ‘Getting Started’ instruction set that will walk you through getting setup. This is super helpful and full of animations to get you running.Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.46.37 pm
  3. First up is installing the Browser plugin. Click through this and allow the plugin to run by clicking ‘Allow’ in the browsers window – this appears as a small grey bar at the top – easy to miss sometimes.Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.47.23 pm
  4. Next you’ll need to download the drivers that talk to the Arduino boards. This is just over 4 megabytes so shouldn’t take to long. The drivers come in a zip package and so you’ll need to click on it from the browser or double click on the zip Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.51.17 pmfile itself wherever you downloaded it to to unpack them.
  5. Once Unzipped, double click on the package or .exe file to run the installer.
  6. Follow the instructions for the installer. You may note that it installs both the FTDI and CH340x drivers – these are the drivers that let the computer talk to the Arduino via USB. If you already have installed the Arduino software, reinstalling these won’t hurt anything! The software will ask for permission to install the driver, and then take a few minutes to do so.
  7. Ok, now the magic bit happens…. the CodeBender browser app will let you know if everything went ok and then talk back to the CodeBender website to move you along the installation. Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.57.22 pm
  8. Now select your Arduino board. Don’t worry, you can choose a different board latter. You’ll notice that a whole range of boards are available and you don’t need to install additional boards like you do in the Arduino IDE. Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.01.20 pm
  9. At this point, you’ll need to connect up your Arduino board to the USB on you computer. You should see the power LED come on. Remember to keep the Arduino on a non-metallic surface or it will short out!
  10. Once the Arduino is connected, click on the new Serial port that has appeared in the port box above the green bar title “Run on Arduino”.Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.08.00 pm
  11. Now click the Green “Run on Arduino” button. Blinky lights now flash on the Arduino and you’ll get a screen congratulating you… Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.11.31 pm. Great! Now you’re ready to code!
  12. Click the Play with Code – ‘give it a try’ button in the bottom left and you’ll jump straight into the code editor which has a blinking LED sketch ready to play with. Uploading code is done through the green ‘Run on Arduino’ button.
  13. Once you’ve had a play, click the codebender logo in the top right to exit out of the sketch. You’ll be taken to the home screen that let’s you see your sketches, play with examples and share your code. Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.20.32 pm

So….Where to from here? Well, check out our other Arduino tutorials, or simply just click around and see what there is. If you need to setup multiple computers, you can log into the account you just created and just click the arrow bracket button in the side menu to restart the install procedure. Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.26.56 pm

There’s a huge number of examples that can be accessed by clicking on the Examples and libraries buttonScreen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.32.52 pm , so have a play in there. If you are completely new to Arduino and coding then 01.Basics is a great place to start! Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.34.34 pm.