Open source electronics “trainer” boards like the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, the BeagleBone and others have been an enormous boon to introducing more people to electronics and science.
This is because they make working with microcontrollers and programming easier by way of abstraction.
The popularity of these boards has exploded over the past 8-10 years or so.
In the past, using a microcontroller in your projects meant working directly with the micro and supporting hardware, programming in C, and a host of other things.
Be that as it may, there are reasons why the hobbyist should consider learning to work directly with the “naked” or stand-alone microcontroller. We’ll talk about some of those reasons in the words that follow, but first we’ll talk about the difference between a trainer and a microcontroller.