Hey all, Jeff Sturges was asked to do a review of the new Arduino Starter Kit, but was tight on time so he asked me to do it.
A little background if you care: I have my BSEE and work at a little engineering company in Southfield, MI called MAXITROL COMPANY. I also teach soldering, electronics and Arduino classes at TechShop in Allen Park. I’ve been using the Arduino platform for the past few years for projects.
In fact, I did the electronics for a project for the Grand Rapids art competition ArtPrize using an Arduino Mega, MIDI Shield, and six JeeNode’s and we won our category for best time based piece. The people who I worked with were Wes Taylor, Carlos L05, Invincible, and Wajeed. The project was called Three Phases by Complex Movements.
Anyways, enough about me, let’s have a look at the kit.
Overall, I was think the kit is really well thought out. All the instructions are clear and have good illustrations to go along with them.
Everything you need to complete the projects is in the kit, which normally goes with out saying, but I know some kits can be lacking things. WHen I say everything, I mean not just the electronics components, but also the other things you need to make it work. Either printed on nice cardstock in the case of the motorized pinwheel, or laser cut in the case of the gel holders that I used in the color wheel project.
I can’t say enough good things about the book that comes with it. While you go through the code it explains what you are doing and why in a way that is easy to understand, which can be really difficult to do when you are talking programming.
There were only two things that I thought could be improved upon with the kit. The first is the jumpers, I prefer the stranded jumpers with the solid metal piece on the end. I think they are easier to work with. Second was that all the projects in the book show three band resistors, but there are three and four band resistors included in the kit. This could be confusing to some people at first; but with smartphone apps, websites, and the googlebox, it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds for someone to figure out the four band equivalent.
The kit I had was from RS components who is a big EU distributor. I know that the kits are going to be available through some US distro too. I saw that on the Adafruit website, they were taking preorders, so I’m sure the rest of the DIY and Maker sites will too.
I just breezed the project really quick, and didn’t go in depth, but if you want more detailed tutorials, check out the tutorials on the RS Components YouTube Channel.
Thanks for watching, and Happy Hacking!