The Arduino Starter Kit
Today we are reviewing The Arduino Starter Kit. (Skill level: beginner).
What better way to learn some coding than embracing electronics and a microcontroller. After all, almost every gadget contains a micro controller, and children in the UK are taught coding from the age of 5. Getting started with Arduino can be so much fun!
My background is someone who enjoys a bit of HTML, CSS, and designing websites. My electronics knowledge is limited. Also, I am a married mum, aged over 40.
The first few pages explain what there is in the box. Nice pictorial and easy to understand. By page 11, we are assembling the base, micro controller and breadboard. Thereafter, around 10 minutes on, it is time to install the Arduino software, which is called Arduino IDE. I use a Mac and has trouble installing the latest version. The fix is to download an earlier version.
Next we start communicating with the Arduino controller. So, within say 20 minutes, you are looking at code and making the controller do things. I enjoyed the speed of this and my 2 children also followed most of this. (aged 8 and 10).
The next chapter is more complex. Here we learn about electricity and electronic components, but the diagram compares current flow with a rockslide which makes the theory much easier to grasp. It details the layout of the breadboard and how the holes are connected by wire. We then build a simple circuit and use an example piece of code to make an LED flash on. Series and parallel circuits are explained at this stage; not dissimilar to NAND and NOR gates going back to very basic programming.
From here on in, are projects. 15 and only the last one requires soldering.
My summary is that this starter kit is excellent. It is explained easily, and once the kit is purchased there is no additional outlay at this stage. I would recommend it to children too. Mine a perhaps a bit too young, but I reckon teens who enjoy coding would grasp it quickly.
There’s tonnes of free resource on the web – loads of You Tube videos, and some are great fun integrating lego and all types of recycled items! For the more serious Arduino programmer, there is a choice of software (eg Flowcode for Arduino), free Arduino workshops and great forums to get help from.