INTRODUCTION TO Arduino mega 2560

In this article we are going to discuss briefly about Arduino Mega 2560 board. After reading this article you will get to know that how this board is different from other boards of Arduino, in which condition or under which specifications we should use this board and why we should prefer this board over others. You will also get to know about the specifications of this board, pins configuration, components, software that is used to program this board, memory, power requirements and additional shields that can be used with board. We will also highlight some application and projects that are made from this board and much more.Arduino Mega 2560

INTRODUCTION TO Arduino mega 2560

Arduino MEGA 2560 board is just like a brother of Arduino UNO board. It is way more powerful than Arduino UNO and also twice as long from it. This board is the successor of Arduino MEGA.  It can be named as ATMega2560. It can have more memory space as compared to other boards of Arduino. Arduino MEGA 2560 is different from all other boards of Arduino that came before as they don’t use the FTDI USB-to-serial driver chip. Instead it uses ATmega16U2 programmed as a USB-to-serial converter. It is programmed in Arduino IDE software like all other boards in terms of coding. We don’t need to attach extra components or devices to make this board in running condition to use. As per our requirements we can just plug and play with this board as everything is built in that makes it readily available.

Arduino Mega 2560 is an amazing microcontroller board for the projects that need large amount of input output pins or if high processing power is required. It is designed for more complex projects because as for simple projects large amount of input output pins are useless and a board with less memory fails to achieve our requirements. It can be used as a stand-alone project or in combination with other boards. Mostly it is used for creating a stand-alone project

PINS of Arduino MEGA 2560 Board & Uses

  • In digital side 54 pins for I/O ( input output pins )
  • 15 pins out of this are useful for PWM ( pulse width modulation )
  • In analog side 16 input pins
  • Ground pins : 5
  • One pin for 3.3 volts
  • One reset button
  • USART pins : 4 ( These are hardware serial ports which produces maximum speed to set up communication )
  • ISP programming pins : 6
  • Crystal oscillator is added on the board having frequency of 16 MHz
  • USB cable port ( It is used to transfer and connect code from computer the board )
  • ICSP header ( Used to program the board and to upload code from computer. Indeed a remarkable addition in Arduino MEGA 2560 )
  • Power Jack
  • Resettable Polyfuse : ( to provide extra layer of protection. It prevents USB port of the computer from overheating in case of high current flowing through microcontroller board)Arduino Mega 2560 pinouts


  • Operating voltage : 5 V
  • Input Voltage 7-12 V (recommended)
  • Input Voltage 6-20 V (limit for this board)
  • DC Current per input/output pin : 20mA
  • DC Current for 3.3 V pin : 50mA


  • Flash Memory : 256 KB
  • SRAM : 8 KB
  • EEPROM : 4 KB


  • Length of board : 101.52 mm
  • Width of board : 53.3 mm
  • Weight : 37 g


  • Clock Speed : 16 MHz
  • LED Built-in : 13

POWER SUPPLY for Arduino mega 2560

In order to use this board efficiently and without getting the board burnt / damaged we should be cautious in selecting a power source for our microcontroller board as for any electro mechanical device to work , selecting a power source is a crucial step.

Arduino Mega 2560 can have power supply of two voltages i.e. 3.3 V and 5 V

  • 3 voltage supply can be generated with the help of on board regulator and the maximum current is 50 mA that can pass through it.
  • 5 volt supply can also be generated and regulated on board. DC supply can be given via power jack or by using USB cable port
  • Vin is an input power that can be used within the external power in range.
  • GND is a ground terminal which can be connected to the ground of connection from which power is going to be supplied.

In short there are 3 ways to power our board. We can use either USB cable to power our board and then transfer our code to board or we can power it up by Vin of board or via power jack. These last two methods to provide power to the board can be used once you built and compile code into board via USB cable.

Software for programming for  Arduino mega 2560

  • Just like other Arduino boards , Arduino MEGA 2560 also uses Arduino IDE. This IDE supports C programming so we have to write program in C language. We can type our program in it and then burn that code in our microcontroller and we can also change our code according to requirements. The code that we make on software is known as sketch and it is burned in software and then transferred to our microcontroller using USB cable.
  • To reset the board and to erase all previous data from microcontroller we can use the reset button on board
  • Arduino Mega 2560 comes with built-in boot loader and it rules out the usage of external burner for burning code into the microcontroller. This boot loader uses STK500 protocol for communication purposes.
  • After compiling and burning program / sketch on board , we can unplug USB cable and it eventually removes power from board. If we have to incorporate this board in our project then we can power it by using power jack or Vin pin of our board
  • Another feature that is included in Arduino mega 2560 is multitasking. Although IDE doesn’t support this feature but different operating system can be used to make C program for this purpose and doing so also provides flexibility to use our own build program using ISP connector of board.

Shield Compatibility of Arduino mega 2560

The first and foremost thing that we should keep in our mind before using any shield is to make assured of its operating voltage. We have to make definite that the operating voltage of that shield is compatible with our board voltage as shields with higher operating voltage i.e. above 3.3 V or 5 V can damage our board. However mostly boards are having operating voltage of 3.3 V or 5 V but we should be careful in selection of shields which we are going to use with our microcontroller board to prevent our board from damage. The second most important thing that we should make sure is that the header distribution of the shield we are going to use should resonate with pin distribution of our board so that we can simply attach the shield with our board to make it ready to use. Arduino mega 2560 is compatible with many shields that are designed for some other version of Arduino board. Some of the shields and their purpose for which they are used are listed below.

  • Motor Controller Shield : the most used and stocked shield is this shield because it make possible for our microcontroller Arduino mega 2560 to run many motors and here our many input output pins comes handy to make all motors run at once
  • Arduino Mega Wi-Fi Shield: If you want to work on making your project wireless then it’s the most practical shield you will ever find. It’s great shield for making our robot work wirelessly.
  • DF Robot Multi Pin Shield : In this shield we have space for 3 wireless add on.
  • Arduino Prototyping Shield : To make prototype of our project.

APPLICATIONS of Arduino mega 2560

As discussed earlier, usage of Arduino mega board is pretty uncommon because of large number of input output pins. But it’s great for some projects like

  • 8 bit computer
  • 3D printer
  • To control and handle more than one motor
  • Robot with many sensors
  • CNC router
  • Temperature detection and sensation
  • Detection of water level
  • Automation and security projects
  • Internet of things applications
  • Multitasking or parallel programming

That’s all for today. You can ask any question in comment section below if you are unsure about anything related to this article. We will try our best to guide you according to our best expertise.

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