Arduino has gained immense popularity among makers and electronics enthusiasts as a versatile microcontroller platform. However, you can often come across clone boards such as Elegoo that are very similar to traditional Arduino boards.
If you’ve ever shopped for an Arduino board, you may have seen Elegoo boards pop up with cheap starter kits and been confused. OK, both of those are good options. But what is the difference between the two?
What is Arduino?
Arduino, born in 2005, was the brainchild of a group of students and professors at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy. They wanted to create an affordable and easy-to-use microcontroller platform as an aid to rapid prototyping. It is amazing that they made it an open-source platform, which is rapidly gaining popularity and seeing the growth of a vibrant community of users and contributors.
Arduino boards are known for being versatile and reliable, even as they are used in industry. For more information on the Arduino platform, read our comprehensive guide to What is Arduino and What Can You Do With It.
Why is Arduino popular?
The popularity of Arduino stems from several key factors. Firstly, it provides a user-friendly interface and an integrated development environment (IDE) which makes programming simple for beginners.
Arduino boards are versatile and compatible with a variety of sensors, modules and shields (add-on breakout boards). Extensive documentation, tutorials, and community support further contribute to the widespread adoption of the Arduino platform.
What is aligo?
Shenzhen Elegoo Technology Co., Ltd. is a company focused on open-source hardware production, research, and marketing. It is a relatively new player in the microcontroller market, offering a range of development boards, components and kits similar to Arduino. It builds on the success of Arduino by using freely available schematics of the latter to mass-produce cheap alternative boards.
Elegoo products are designed to be affordable, making them accessible to a wide audience. The company makes microcontroller boards including the Elegoo UNO R3. Similar to other microcontrollers like the NodeMCU, the Elegoo Uno R3 is based on the ATmega328P chip, the same one used in the Arduino Uno.
Elegoo Uno R3
Both the boards are almost identical in their design and specs. Unlike some other cheap Arduino clones, the Elegoo has an ATmega16U2 chip for USB to serial communication instead of the clunky old CH340 (as used on the Arduino Uno).
Can I program Elegoo using Arduino IDE?
A significant advantage of Eligo over some other clones is its compatibility with Arduino tools. Eligo boards can be programmed using the Arduino IDE, which means you can take advantage of your existing knowledge and code base. Simply select the relevant Arduino model in the Boards menu; For example, ‘Arduino Uno’ for the Elegoo Uno R3.
Head-to-Head Comparison: Elegoo vs Arduino
Branding: Backed by a strong community, Arduino has established itself as a well-known brand in the microcontroller industry. The company is the original manufacturer of the board and supporting software. Elegoo, although growing in popularity, is still establishing its brand presence as a maker of affordable Arduino-compatible boards.
Build Quality: Arduino boards are known for their high quality construction and reliable performance. The Elegoo boards also offer good build quality considering their affordable price point, but you may notice a slight difference in terms of durability.
Cost: Eligo products are often more competitively priced than Arduino, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious users. Arduino, while relatively more expensive, justifies the cost with its established brand, reliability, and widespread support.
Support/Tools: Arduino’s vast community and extensive documentation provide excellent support for users. Elegoo also offers community forums, tutorials, and customer support, but resources can be comparatively limited. Nevertheless, you can use the official Arduino online resources and example programs for your Elegoo board using the same Arduino IDE.
Starter Kits: Both Arduino and Elegoo offer starter kits that include boards, components, and tutorials. Arduino starter kits tend to cost more, reflecting the prestige of the brand and the additional resources. Not only does Alego’s starter kit provide a cost-effective option for beginners, but it also includes more components.