How to Debug an Arduino Project | Debugging in Arduino IDE

Debugging is the process of finding and resolving bugs (defects or problems that prevent correct operation) within computer programs, software, or systems. Debugging is a vital element of the creative process when it comes to developing code. Today, we discuss Arduino Debugging. Arduino IDE is the open-source Arduino Software (IDE) makes it easy to write code and upload it to the board. This software can be used with any Arduino board. Most of Developers are using Arduino IDE for Program micro-controller boards. because it is very easy to code and its supports lot of boards and micro-controllers. But Arduino debugging can be a little more difficult because Arduino does not include a specialized debugging tool. However, the new Arduino IDE pro has a debugging tool with it. So we are discuss what kind of debugging tools are available for the Arduino programming. Discussion will be based on Arduino uno Programming.  The procedure of programming the Arduino is so simple but when it comes to debugging and writing a good code you need to know how many ways are available to debug the Arduino. We have two options available in the Arduino IDE for the debugging, . These are Internal Debugging tools and External Debugging Tools. Please read and explore full article for the Debugging process in Arduino.

Internal Debugging Tools on the Arduino IDE

Arduino provides some internal features on Arduino IDE to debug a code. So we have the compiler, Serial Monitor, Serial Plotter, or even on the Arduino IDE Pro, we have a Serial Debugger. Now, I will explain you about the Internal Debugging Tools.


The Arduino IDE uses the avr-gcc compiler and avrdude to upload our program in the micro-controller. But it can be used to check any warning or errors when we have completed our code.If you get any error after compilation or upload code to your board then please check syntax of code, typos, and other problems. If compilation fails, then IDE will display the problems at the bottom of the screen. If you understand what the error message implies, consider resolving the issue it suggests and recompiling. This is a quick way to debug an Arduino Sketch.


Serial Monitor

If your code (Sketch) fails when you try to upload your sketch in micro-controller board, you must begin troubleshooting it. First, decide which parameters to output and utilize the serial monitor to keep track of them on-screen. The goal is to print a summary of the program’s present status. As an example:

  • Variables
  • Inputs – sensor readings
  • Prints that indicate the programs flow, like inside an ‘if’ statement to see whether the condition was met
  • Outputs – e.g. PWM values before writing them to the pin
  • Anything else you find important to print to screen

Arduino IDE Pro Including the Debugging Tools

Arduino IDE Pro has a debugging tool that can be used to enhance debugging skills. It has the following features which make it very useful to the developers.

New features including:

  • Code indentation, Block folding, Auto-closing brackets, Comment toggling
  • Regular expression search and replace
  • Execute your Arduino sketch step-by-step while it’s running on your Arduino board!
  • Pause your sketch execution placing breakpoints.
  • Inspect variables values during execution.
  • Other additional features are live debugging, autocompletion, responsive interface, and faster compilation time.

The Arduino Pro IDE Debugger is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux64.


External Debugging Tools for the Arduino IDE

Now we can use some external debugging tools. Whenever we manually examine code and still can’t discover the issue, it’s time to utilize a sophisticated debugging tool. There are, however, a variety of other tools you may use to ensure that your code is executing properly. If you want extensive debugging and simulation capabilities, there are some of the finest tools to consider:

Visual Micro

Visual micro is a Microsoft Visual Studio plugin that Compile and Upload any Arduino project to any board, using the same Arduino platform and libraries, with all the advantages of an Advanced Professional IDE. It is allows you to develop cross-platform Arduino applications. Visual micro software works with all Arduino hardware, and remains 100% compatible with the Arduino IDE software, allowing you to harness the full potential of the examples and libraries available, without any modifications. Visual Micro is ideal for collaborative Arduino debugging teams. Code from multiple platforms can be produced and integrated with programme code during the compilation process. Visual Micro also provides GDB debugging, as well as serial, Bluetooth, and WiFi debugging.


DebugWire is an Atmel protocol that allows you to debug multiple ATTiny (e.g., ATTiny 13, 85) and ATmegas (e.g., ATmega48/88/168/328) without using JTAG and just using the Reset pin. Atmel does not document the DebugWire protocol, however, some folks reverse engineered large sections of it and were able to construct some basic debuggers. DebugWIRE provides full read and write access to the entire memory as well as complete control over the execution flow. It supports the following instructions: single-step, run-to-cursor, step-out, and software break.

Atmel Studio

Atmel Studio IDE is a free Programme that provides competitive debugging capabilities to assist in the resolution of code problems. A project may be designed, compiled, and uploaded to the appropriate microprocessor using Atmel Studio. Atmel Studio’s IDE, like the Arduino IDE, uses the same code, so you don’t need to learn a new programming language to use it. For the open-source community, Atmel is highly adaptable and supports.ino drawings as well as C++ source codes. Atmel Studio also has excellent debugging capabilities through DebugWire or JTAG.

So, these are the basics steps that you can follow to debug while writing an Arduino Code. You can try out those features of the debugging tools while making your Arduino Projects.

Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. Tech enthusiast and IT professional with a B.Tech in IT, PG Diploma in IoT from CDAC, and 6 years of industry experience. Founder of HVM Smart Solutions, blending technology for real-world solutions. As a passionate technical author, I simplify complex concepts for diverse audiences. Let's connect and explore the tech world together! If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee! Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Linkedin

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