Microbit Out of the Box

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Tinkerer: Lory Livezey

The Micro bit is one of the simplest microcontroller boards to program, and it's packed with many features that for other boards are add-ons, such as an accelerometer and a compass. In this tutotorial, we're going to take it out of the box, plug it in, and check out what it has to offer.

Previous Step

  • None. This is your first step toward lots of fun with the micro:bit.

What you will need

Opening the Box

The micro:bit has been a hit over in the UK for some time, and it just came to the U.S. this year. They are inexpensive and you'll see just how quickly you can get up and running, and making some cool projects.

Open Micro:bit Box

Depending on which version you buy, you may need to supply your own micro USB cable.

Tour of the Board

When you look at the back of the board, you'll find that the chips are pretty well labeled. There's an accelerometer that can detect as the board is being tilted, and a compass, a power switch, and a reset switch. Not so well labeled, there's also a bluetooth low energy chip. This allows the micro:bit to talk to other micro:bits and devices such as your smart phone.

Back of the micro:bit

One the front of the board, you'll find two programmable buttons (A and B), and a grid of programmable LEDs. There is a row of pins at the bottom that you can plug into external components, like LEDs and sensors. The 5 holes allow you to plug in alligator clips, or as they say in the UK, "crockodile clips".

Front of the micro:bit

This diagram courtesy the technical specs on the BBC Web Site:

Micro:bit labeled

Plug In the Board

To power it up, you can either plug it into a computer, or into an adapter plugged into a wall outlet. To program it, you'll need to plug into the computer, so you may just want to go ahead and do that now.

The board will lead you through a series of prompts, first asking you to push the A button, then the B button, then to shake it. If nothing else, this will give you something to do while you figure out what cool projects you'd like to do with the board.

Front of the micro:bit

In this tutorial, we took the micro:bit out of the box and plugged it in. Stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials that will get you started with the BBC Microbit!

Next Up

Microbit Simple Hello World #tt6

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