Arduino Mega: all about the big development board

Arduino Mega


If the plate Arduino UNO Rev3 is too small for you and you want to create more advanced projects and enjoy more power, then what you are looking for is a board Arduino Mega, another of the available models created by the same developers as the original board, but equipped with a faster microcontroller, more memory, and more pins to program.

Arduino Mega has many similarities to Arduino UNO, but there are some differences that make it very special for everyone makers looking for something more. In general, if you are just starting out it is not the best choice, but it is if you have already exploited the capabilities of UNO and want to go further.

What is Arduino Mega?

Arduino logo

Arduino Mega It is another official development board based on the Atmel ATmega2560 microcontroller, hence its name. In addition, it includes 54 digital input and output pins, of which 15 can be used as PWM outputs. It also has 16 analog inputs, 4 UARTs as serial ports for hardware, a 16 Mhz crystal oscillator, USB connection, power connector, ICSP header and reset button.

As you can see, comparing with the Arduino UNO, has higher capacities, which also leads to an increase in its price lightly. However, it is not expensive at all, it only costs a few euros more and you can find it in many specialized stores:

It contains everything you need for your microcontroller, so you only have to worry about setting up your DIY project, connecting the board via USB to your computer, downloading the sketch you've created with the Arduino IDE, and putting it to work.

You should know that, unlike previous boards, the Arduino Mega does not use an FTDI USB-to-serial controller chip. Instead, use a ATmega16U2 chip in its latest revisions (Rev1 and Rev2 used the ATmega8U2). That is, it has a USB-to-serial converter programmer.

This plate is ideal for a multitude of advanced projects, such as serving as a brain for 3D printers, industrial CNC robots, etc. And they are fully compatible with shields or shields of Arduino UNO, so you will find a multitude of compatible elements and a great community always ready to help with your questions and problems.

And if you want to know more about the compatible electronic components and modulesIn this same blog there are a lot of them explained step by step with everything you need to put them to work. For example:

Detailed information of Arduino Mega

The plate Arduino Mega has everything you can find on the plate Arduino Uno Rev3, but with some additions that make it more powerful, as I have already mentioned.

Technical characteristics, scheme and pinout

HR technical characteristics of the Arduino Mega board that you should know are:

  • Atmel ATmega2560 microcontroller at 16 Mhz
  • 256 KB flash memory (8KB used by the bootloader that cannot be used for your programs)
  • 8 KB SRAM memory.
  • 4 KB EEPROM memory.
  • 5v operating voltage
  • Input voltage 7-12v
  • Input voltage limits: 6-20v
  • 54 digital pins, of which 15 can be PWM. They can be configured by Arduino IDE code as inputs or outputs.
  • 16 analog input pins.
  • 4 UARTs, USB, RX and TX pins for communication, and also TWI and SPI.
  • Power pins: 5v to supply current to the projects as long as the board is being fed with between 7 and 12v or by the 5v USB. The 3v3 pin can supply a voltage of 3.3 volts. The GND pins can be used to ground your projects. While the IOREF pin is the pin on the board to provide the reference voltage with which the microcontroller operates.
  • The current for each I / O pin is 40mA DC.
  • The current delivered by pin 3v3 is 50 mA.

I would also like to add that Arduino Mega has a resetable polyfuse to protect its USB port of the computer to which you connect the board. This way you will avoid damages due to short circuits in your projects or overcurrents that may happen. That's an additional layer of internal protection that this version implements that kicks in if more than 500 mA is applied to the USB port, automatically breaking the connection until that overload is removed.


You can also download a technical sheet or datasheet with everything you need to know about the electronic details of this product, the maximum currents and voltages allowed so as not to damage the board, full pinout, and a large amount of information that you will like to have. To do this, you can download it from the official website:

Arduino IDE and programming

Screenshot of Arduino IDE

To program Arduino Mega, and also for other development board models, you have at your disposal the software called Arduino IDE. This development platform is compatible with both macOS, Windows and Linux. A whole free and open source suite with which you can start creating your own source codes and recording them on the board using the USB cable.

As you know, this program uses the programming language native to Arduino for its high-level Processing-based programming. It has similarities with other languages, since it is based on C ++, with similar syntax and forms.

In the articles of this blog we usually include at the end some code or sketch snippets with code samples to get started with each project or component we introduce. So you can start taking your first steps. But if you want to learn more about the Arduino IDE and how to program your projects, I invite you to download our free programming course Arduino IDE in PDF.

In addition, as a complement to your advanced projects, it is likely that you also need other apps or software that will help you to have everything outlined and more clearly so as not to make a mess. So, You will also be interested in knowing projects like:

  • KiCad: it is an EDA environment for electronic development with which to make complex diagrams and layouts. It is free, open source, and cross-platform software for Linux, macOS, and Windows.
  • Fritzing: it is a very practical open source and multiplatform software that will help you create your projects schematically or in 3D to show them.

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