Arduino microcontrollers are popular, low-cost, easy-to-program, and have an active user community. This paper seeks to quantitatively assess whether or not Arduinos are a good fit for real-time feedback control experiments and controls education. Bode plots and serial echo tests are used to assess the use of Arduinos in two scenarios: a prototyping mode that involves bidirectional real-time serial communication with a PC and a hybrid mode that streams data in real-time over serial. The closed-loop performance with the Arduino is comparable to that of another more complicated and more expensive microcontroller for the plant considered. Some practical tips on using an Arduino for real-time feedback control are also given.

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