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Does this starter kit have everything I need?

  1. May 19, 2014 #1
    I've found this starter kit on Amazon "https://www.amazon.com/Machine-Science-Breadboard-Microcontroller-Starter/dp/B002PIJ31W" and I'm considering getting it but just first wondering what you guys think about it.

    I'm a newbie here and I plan to try and do some basic programming with the microcontroller. Like adding a lightbulb or something and making it blink. Or maybe even something to do with the LED screen. Do you guys think there is anything missing here that I will need? Or have any good reasons as to why I should or should not get this particular one?

    I don't need to do anything fancy. Just want to be able to make little useless things happen for learning purposes and then maybe switch things up later to do something else.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Did you look at the arduino kits on the same page under "what other customers viewed"? They seem like better values than this kit. Arduino is very expandable.

    Alternatively, you could get a Raspberry PI which has a lot more software capability and programmable in Python than Arduino whereas Arduino has more hardware capability with more and varied i/o ports but is limited to single program execution and development is on another machine and downloaded to it.
  4. May 20, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the information jedishrfu!

    I actually didn't see that Arduino kit until now, and it's nice to see that it's a bit cheaper :) That's always a plus.

    One thing I was worried about though is... some of the posts I've read on this forum seem to suggest Arduino is not good for learning the programming aspect because they require you to use your own build in functions.. or something like that?

    Anyways, I'm not sure if I know what I'm talking about here. I'm quite new to all of this, so I probably misunderstood something. I just want to make sure I can get the most out of what I buy in terms of learning.

    Some things I noticed though when looking at the Arduino kit though is... Why does an already made and soldered circuit board come with it? Or I was just thinking it was a breadboard and it came with all the resistors and jumpers and a microcontroller chip that I would attach to the breadboard where I send my programing to. Also, isn't Raspberry PI basically just a motherboard of a tiny PC? I've seen them before and they seem pretty interesting although I'm not too sure how it will help me. Athough by the sounds of it you can reprogram them? So that seems like it might be pretty cool :)

    I'm very sorry for my lack of knowledge here (or stupidity would be another word). I don't know much about anything to do with electronics. Prior to this journey, my experience consisted of being able to build computers by buying all the parts and throwing them into a case (like motherboard/psu/cpu/etc), or programming in website-related languages like PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS. Plus I know a tiny bit when it comes to some other stuff like Ajax, Javascript, Java, and a long time ago I learned some of the basics of VB and QB. So after all that unrelated stuff, I'm now just learning about watts/volts/current/breadboards/resistors/jumpers. My goal now is to try and learn as much as possible with some hands on experience, and my first project is just going to be a blinking light. But it's going to be hard because I have no idea how to make it or if I even have the right tools (when buying the kit).
  5. May 20, 2014 #4
    It is combined with the USB programmer.
  6. May 20, 2014 #5
    Hi MrSparkle!

    If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by combined with the USB programmer? Like is the "already-made" circuit board used to pass programming to a microchip? Or is that the microship itself?(the entire board?)
  7. May 20, 2014 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    you should also check out the adafruit.com and sparkfun.com websites as they deal in arduino hardware and other related boards.

    In particular, I like the IOIO board which can plug into your android tablet or phone and be programmed thru the phone to interact with hardware. There are android apps that you can download to control board function.

    I,ve played with the Raspberry PI and its a great programming platform where you can also control hardware but you don't need to write programs in one place and then download them to your hardware as in the Arduino model.
  8. May 20, 2014 #7
    Its a already-made circuit board used to program the chip. You will always find a usb programmer with a μC kit because building up the USB interface is significantly more complex than the starting projects. And you would have no idea if you were doing it right, since your chip is not yet programmed. It could be a very frustrating way to start the learning process.
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