Getting Started with Arduino Data Types


If you’re interested in getting started with the incredible world of Arduino, understanding data types are essential. Data types are simply a way for computers to represent and store information that can be manipulated.

While it may sound complicated, this guide will help make it simple and enjoyable by breaking down the basics – from ints to floats, strings to arrays – so that you’ll have all the knowledge you need when working with code on your very own Arduino projects!

The Arduino programming language provides several data types to store numeric and non-numeric information. Each type of information such as numbers, characters, or even objects has to be stored in its specific data type.

When programming in Arduino, it is important to understand the various data types available and their characteristics. Some of the most common data types include:

  • void Data Type
  • int Data Type
  • Char Data Type
  • Float and Double Data Type
  • Unsigned int Data Type
  • short Data Type
  • long Data Type
  • Unsigned long Data Type
  • byte data type
  • word data type

void Data Type

The void data type describes a lack of value. It is used when no return values are expected from a function. Void Data Type is used to define functions that do not return any value or to specify an empty parameter list.

void Data Type

int Data Type

The int (integer) data type stores numerical values including positive and negative whole numbers without any decimal points. Int Data Type stores a 16-bit integer number (from -32,768 to 32,767). It occupies 2 bytes of memory and can be used for storing large ranges of numbers.

int Data Type

Char Data Type

The char (character) data type stores single alphanumeric characters like ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘5’ etc., as well as special characters like ‘$’. Char Data Type is used for character manipulation. The type can hold one single character and uses 1 byte of memory.

Float and double data type

Float and double data types are useful for storing numbers that have fractional parts (e.g., 3/4 or 0.75). The float (floating point) data type can store numbers with decimal values. The double data type is used to store larger numbers with more precision than a float.

The advantage of using these two data types over an integer type is that they can preserve more accuracy in calculations with decimal numbers than an integer type could. For example, if you want to calculate 3 divided by 4 using integers, it would result in zero. However, if you use float or double data types to store the same information and then calculate it, the result would be 0.75, which is more accurate.

Unsigned int Data Type

Unsigned int Data Type is an integer type capable of storing values up to 65535. It uses two bytes of memory and ranges from 0 to 65535.
Unsigned int is a special type of integer that only stores positive values (i.e., no negatives). This type of data type can be used to store countable data such as population size or a number of items in a list. It should not be used for storing negative numbers because it cannot properly represent them.

short Data Type

Short Data Type is an integer type capable of storing values up to 32767. It uses two bytes of memory and ranges from -32768 to 32767. Short Data Type is a 16-bit signed two’s complement integer which has a minimum value of -32 768 and a maximum value of 32 767 (inclusive).

long Data Type

Long Data Type is an integer type capable of storing values up to 2147483647. It uses four bytes of memory and ranges from -2147483648 to 2147483647. Long Data Type is a 32-bit signed two’s complement integer which has a minimum value of -2 147 483 648 and a maximum value of 2 147 483 647 (inclusive).

Unsigned long Data Type

An unsigned long Data Type is an integer type capable of storing values up to 4294967295. It uses four bytes of memory and ranges from 0 to 4294967294.

byte data type

The byte data type is an 8-bit unsigned two’s complement integer which has a minimum value of 0 and a maximum value of 255 (inclusive).

word data type

Word Data Type is also a 16-bit unsigned two’s complement integer which has a minimum value of 0 and a maximum value of 65 535 (inclusive).

These are the fundamental data types that are used while programming Arduino boards. By using these data types one can easily store different values in memory depending on the size and range needed for the application.

It is important to choose the right data type when designing an Arduino program as it ensures efficient use of memory and other resources. It also helps avoid errors like overflows and underflows, which can result in unexpected behavior or incorrect results. Knowing how to use each of the six available data types will help you create an effective Arduino program for your project.

Mataf Khan

An electronics enthusiasts from childhood became an electrical engineer, I've been playing with Arduino and other electronics gadgets like raspberry pi since when I was 14. and have a passion of troubleshooting Arduino problems.

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