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Let’s get familiar with the micro:bit board!

Part Numbers

Micro:bit board

Pimoroni 1778-1040-ND  or SparkFun DEV-14208-ND

Full micro:bit proto kit (includes micro:bit)

1778-1041-ND

Card Edge Breakout board

1778-1012-ND

Buggy Kit

1778-1100-ND

AA Battery Pack

1568-1649-ND

AA Batteries

P646-ND,   N107-ND

Micro:bit Case

1568-1690-ND

Proto wires in various genders

https://www.digikey.com/short/qcnm33

Alligator clip cable assemblies

https://www.digikey.com/short/qcnmj7

 

What comes with the micro:bit board?

Ordering the micro:bit part number will include:

  • Getting Started Guide
  • Safety Guide
  • micro:bit board

If you purchased only the micro:bit board, you’ll need at least a Micro USB cable (like one of these: http://www.digikey.com/short/qcnp73) or a battery pack with a JST connector and batteries.

Why micro:bit?

The micro:bit is incredibly user friendly and can easily be used by entry-level makers including those in elementary school.  The micro:bit is programmable by drag and drop of a hex file with no software to install.  This makes it especially valuable to school districts who utilize tablets or Chromebooks for their students.  The micro:bit page even features a special Educator section of their site complete with Teaching Resources (http://microbit.org/teach/).  See micro bit's projects page here: https://makecode.microbit.org/projects

First Glance

The top of the board has a grid of 25 surface mount red LEDs and two pushbuttons.  The backside has the USB connector, the power connector, a reset button, the accelerometer, compass and the Bluetooth antenna.

                       

Picture from https://microbit.org/guide/hardware/

Unlike most other dev boards, the micro:bit utilizes a card edge connector (aka, the circuit board itself) for pinouts.  0, 1 and 2 are your main inputs/outputs, with a 3V source and a ground.  To utilize these, you can either alligator clip the respective area, or you can utilize the breakout board (1778-1012-ND) to utilize the full pinouts.  Pinouts are available in the breakout board documentation here.

Plug either the battery pack or the USB cable into the micro:bit to start playing instantly.  The board is preloaded with code giving a brief demonstration of its components and capability by showing which button is what and how interactive this little board is.

Programming

Programming this board is done a few different ways.  This landing page (https://microbit.org/code/) gives three different methods:

 

JavaScript & Blocks Editor  

https://makecode.microbit.org/#  

 

This is a cloud-based development environment that utilizes “blocks” to create instructions instead of writing actual code.  The micro:bit you see on the left hand side of the page will demonstrate what you are programming and is interactive.  It’s a preview of what will happen even before you upload any code to the actual board.

 

If blocks are not your thing, there is a way for you to toggle to the   Javascript option at the top of the page.  This can also be used as a tool to learn JavaScript by creating the code in blocks and then switching the view to see what equates in actual code.

 

    

Blocks   Editor

 

    

JavaScript

 

 

    

Python Editor  

http://python.microbit.org/v/1  

 

For those who want to advance beyond the Blocks editor, you can   program it with the Python Editor. 

 

 

 

 

Uploading by Bluetooth

 

And if you want to cut the cable (don’t do that literally) and go wireless, simply download the micro:bit app on your phone or tablet, connect with your board, and upload the code! 

 

(Side note: If you want to use the Bluetooth capability of this board,   you’ll need access to the reset button when establishing a connection.)

 

    

 

Looking ahead

Micro:bit has a ton of resources for both educators and makers.  They even collaborated with Doctor Who to create plan lessons for students to create their own Sonic Screwdrivers. 

Check out microbit’s lesson page here: https://microbit.org/en/2017-03-07-javascript-block-resources/

I took this micro:bit board and paired it with the Pimoroni buggy kit (1778-1100-ND) in the video.  

Got Questions?

Reach out to me via the TechForum page: https://forum.digikey.com/t/bbc-micro-bit/557

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