10 Jun 2012, 20:33

Two tutorials later and the kids are liking the Arduino a lot


#“Two tutorials later and the kids are liking the Arduino a lot”

I sat down with 8 y/o daughter and 10 y/o son this afternoon to try out our ARDX starter kit for Arduino. The first tutorial is a simple single LED which you flash on/off in software. But I was horrified to find myself stumped!

Yes, I may have a Masters in Electronic Engineering from UCD but, as anyone who did Electronics there prior to the mid-90s knows, a certain lecturer ensured that we all left completely clueless in basic circuit cop-on.

The ARDX kit on the surface has a lovely introductory booklet but it really misses the mark on practical instructions. So they tell you what every component does which is good but nowhere does it explain how the holes in a breadboard are connected. Are they long columns of commonality or short rows? Do the power lines go from top to bottom or only in small blocks? Kind of important information!

Add to that a completely indecipheral diagram for where the components should go plus several connections which were totally unnecessary and I ended up totally flustered with the two kids getting bored.

Finally I threw away the instructions, thought about it for a second and realised it was dead easy. Some trial/error figured out the breadboard layout and hurrah, a blinking LED! We played a bit with on/off timings and we were immediately ready for more.

This time we did 8 LEDs which worked right first time and we loved the default on/off pattern. One thing we realised was that a magnifying glass is a big help when trying to see the individual breadboard holes.

And that’s as far as we got. They both want to try some more interesting LED patterns and then move on to the motors, servos and sensors. The long term plan is to build something “robotic”.

More on that next weekend.

Then of course I found this site called DIYDrones about UAVs………

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