A great electronic kit is the spark that ignites the fire of learners. Our first electronic kit came from Radio Shack, and it involved the use of springs and wires to connect components.Fast forward to the Arduino era, we returned to the field of electronic products with the Arduino Uno, but it did not make a “click”, it took raspberry pie, Was released in 2012 to release our desire to learn.
The Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico Starter Kit is priced at US$43. It is designed with the official “Getting Started with MicroPython on Raspberry Pi Pico” guide in mind, and aims to inspire a new generation of coders and electronic engineers through its comprehensive selection of components and inspiration from electronic engineers . Pre-soldered Pico board. . We tested the kit and learned where it can be better and where it can be better.
The internal structure of the Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico starter kit
In a plastic box measuring 7.5 x 3.5 x 2 inches, there are an astonishing number of kits.
- Raspberry Pi Pico with pre-soldered connectors
- Large bread board
- 30 x jumper wires (10 x male to male, 10 x female to male, 10 x female to female)
- 5 buttons
- Micro USB cable with toggle power button
- Passive infrared sensor
- Active piezoelectric buzzer
- 1602 LCD module with I2C backpack
- Male header pin for SWD debugging (optional)
- 2 x 10K ohm potentiometer
- 10 x 330 ohm resistor
- 12 x diffuse LED (3 x red, 3 x yellow, 3 x green, 3 x blue)
- A short section of WS2812B NeoPixel RGB LED
With these components, we can complete all official chapters Start using MicroPython on Raspberry Pi Pico, You can download a digital copy of it for free from the Raspberry Pi website, or you can buy a printed version.
Using Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico Starter Kit
The Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico starter kit is designed for use with the official Pico guide, so we followed several chapters in the book, starting with the most basic test, which is the blinking LED. When trying to insert the pre-soldered Raspberry Pi Pico into the breadboard, we ran into a small obstacle because the pre-soldered plug pins were slightly inclined instead of at a 90 degree angle to the Pico PCB.
This means that we cannot put Pico on the breadboard unless we heat the head pins and (carefully) push them in alignment. We know how to solder, but the person who buys the kit may not, which may be a problem for them, unless it is a defect that only affects our equipment.
After correcting the pins, we quickly built the circuit using a fairly large breadboard, two jumper wires, a 330 ohm resistor, and an LED. Choosing diffuse LED is the most popular, it provides softer, more uniform, more pleasant light, if you look directly at it, it will not “dazzle”.Plug Pico into our computer, we see an empty drive, asking us to flash the latest version of MicroPython, and then Set up the Thonny editor available for use.
After writing a few lines of MicroPython code, we ran the code and saw the LED blinking, which is great. We pushed further and added a button to turn the LED on and off, and then changed our code to accommodate the addition.
We have encountered some problems with LCD screens, especially the guidance given in the official book is for different types of screens. In the kit, we get a HD44780 LCD screen, which has two lines with 16 characters each. In order to connect the screen to our Pico, we have an I2C backpack that reduces the number of wires required from 16 to 4. The attached leaflet shows how to connect the attached screen to Pico’s I2C pins.Then we followed the code instructions in the book and even used the Uctronics Github repository This also does not work properly.After searching for the problem on Google and contacting the Raspberry Pi community for a while, we managed to solve the problem and wrote a A guide showing how to use I2C LCD Use Raspberry Pi Pico.
In general, the kit covers every chapter of the official book, with some minor adjustments, especially the LCD display. We provide selected components for basic electronics, such as 330 ohm resistors, potentiometers and buzzers. PIR sensor LCD display and NeoPixels can meet more advanced projects. With all these components, we can make other projects of our own.
Use cases for Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico Starter Kit
Obviously, the kit was designed with the official Raspberry Pi Pico book in mind, so we have many items for us to deal with. But looking to the future, we have many components that can be used to make our own projects.
The LCD display and buttons can be used to create a user interface. Press the button to scroll through the options on the display. Select an option to turn on NeoPixels, use a buzzer to play a tune or trigger a PIR sensor to scan for intruders. Even if we complete the official book, this toolkit still has a lot of value.
The Uctronics Raspberry Pi Pico Starter Kit is a great way to introduce electronics and coding to young members of the family. The official book is a good reference guide, the kit covers all the chapters in the guide, only the LCD display and pin header position (we hope this is just our unit) cause problems.
As a gift to start the summer or vacation, eager minds will get a lot of benefits from the kit, and thanks to the carefully planned components, they will be able to confidently start their learning journey. You can purchase the components for yourself and do the soldering yourself, you might save a few dollars, but in terms of price, this is a reliable kit.