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Christmas gift - Arduino?

  1. Nov 15, 2013 #1

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    This is not engineering (perhaps a social engineering :wink:).

    I am thinking about Christmas gifts and I decided one of those I have to buy can be some reasonable Arduino starting kit. Question is - what does it mean "reasonable starting kit"? Target: bright teenager with some programming experience and no knowledge about electronics.

    Any advice? What to look for, what to avoid, any particular good sets you are aware of? Model, make, clone?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2013 #2
    You might consider getting them a Microchip Pic based system instead (unless they've specifically mentioned arduino): Pickit2 Debug Express or Pickit2 Starter Kit from Microchip is what to get. It's great because there is plenty of documentation with it on a CD and can get them going right away doing some embedded programming (programmer included) via the actual chip manufacturer (comes with Microchip windows software to program it in C).

    From what I understand, Arduino is left over from the initial days of some guys getting an integrated embedded dev platform going as a diy project and is still alive only due to its initial popularity. But you can get into equivalent ARM dev systems (iphones) for around the same price now which are more commercial. The Microchip Pic chips are great because you can start small with the simple ICs and work up to more advanced... or move to other platforms (ARM, AVR, Arduino, etc) later once they get going. It's all basically the same electronics-wise no matter what label gets put on it. But reliable documentation as a guide makes all the difference (vs buying clone programmers, piece meal'd systems,etc at first).
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  4. Nov 18, 2013 #3

    Borg

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    Gold Member

    I would include the materials and URL from the first six tutorials in this series of Arduino tutorials. A good soldering iron wouldn't be needed right away but would be eventually. Another thing that I might include is a cheap remote-controlled car to disassemble for parts. I was able to pick up one for $5 at a local Dollar Store which was much cheaper than buying the parts individually. For $5, you get the controller, motor and wheels. The motors alone can run over $10 at an electronics store.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2013 #4

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    I found in Poland starting kits with some diodes, breadboards, cables, resistors, transistors, micro switches and whatnot.

    Bought two.

    I am not a teenager, and I am no longer bright, but I know a little bit about programming and I can afford some fun :biggrin:
     
  6. Dec 4, 2013 #5
    You can buy a knockoff for 12$, a breadboard @ radioshack and a soldering iron and LED's and you already have your super cheap homemade starters kit. If you want to do a more user friendly approach just buy the starter kit at the arduino website.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2013 #6
    I have to say the "real" Arduino starter kit is quite cool, and has been a hit with my 8-12 grade students.

    http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoStarterKit

    The box includes a very nice book with programming projects and enough components to keep one occupied for quite some time. The projects are really interest grabbers; some examples: a love-o-meter using a temp sensor, a magic 8 ball using a tile switch, etc. The programs are premade and just need to be uploaded on a project by procject basis, meaning that customization/exploration is super easy. It really is the best purchasable thing in hobby electronics I've found as an educator.

    In one 50 minute class period an 8th grade student built the light theremin project and programmed it to the awe of other students. Good stuff.
     
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