Elegoo UNO R3 Starter Kit
The gadget in moving pictures with audio
How open is this Gadget?
The gadget in detailFigure 1:
I received this UNO R3 starter kit from the company Elegoo. This is intended for people who want to enter the fascinating world of microcontroller programming. Included is a CD with example programs and a very detailed tutorial, because without good documentation all of this would sooner rather than later be nothing more than electronic waste. Yeees, CDs are somehow outdated, putting the documentation on an USB stick would be more practical, but the package is also available as download from the manufacturer's website.
All the parts you need are well organized in a practical transport box. In addition to the microcontroller board, there are many sensors and actuators included that can be controlled with that tiny computing device. Your imagination sets the limit on how all these parts can be connected and programmed.
Package contentFigure 2:
Any libraries that may be required are saved in the example program folders as a zip file - how to implement these in your code is also described in the documentation. The software fits perfectly with the hardware in the UNO R3 kit - if you would buy the components individually, you would spend several hours searching for the needed libraries. The Elegoo Set saves you all this time as well as the possible frustration if you cannot find a working library for your sensor or display.
Circuits of the tutorialsFigure 3:
"Physical Computing" traditionally begins with a blinking LED and the starter set is no exception from that rule. Not only is the example program included and shown how to connect an LED to the GPIO of a microcontroller - the theory behind resistors, pulse width signals and color theory is also addressed. These detailed descriptions run through all chapters so that beginners can not just follow stupid instructions, but actually understand what is being done here.
A small downside: the breadboards used to build the circuits are not of high quality. With more complicated circuits, you may have to "wiggle" the components to make contact.
My conclusionIf you are thinking about learning a programming language in order to control machines and thus influence your environment, the Elegoo UNO R3 Starter Kit is definitely a good choice. The associated documentation is excellently written and the included sensors and actuators work "out of the box". You get a lot of knowledge for relatively little money.