It’s a cool open source gaming platform, the Adafruit PyGamer, which can be used with CircuitPython, MakeCode Arcade, or Arduino games. I remember getting a GameBoy and staying up late to beat various levels of Super Mario Land when I had a sleepover at a friend’s house. I may have to try making my own game for this device.
Similar to AdaBox 010, there isn’t much here in terms of assembly or physical experimentation using different parts, but the PyPortal is a really cool new device from Adafruit. It’s built for IoT projects, with:
3.2″ touchscreen to display info and interact with the device
ESP32 co-processor to handle Wi-Fi connections
Analog Devices ADT7410 temperature sensor
SAMD51 to handle all of the processing, compatible with CircuitPython, which makes it fun and easy to program
Laser cut acrylic enclosure/stand
They’ve also included a 1 year pass to adafruit.io. I’ll likely turn this into something that interfaces with my Home Assistant server to control different devices around my house.
I haven’t done much in terms of electronics, woodworking, or making in general for the last couple of months. I think I burned out a bit when I caught up on so many projects over November, December, and January. I’ll get back to making soon!
More catching up on electronics stuff that was piled on my desk. Here I unboxed AdaBoxes 8 and 10. Then I assembled 10, which is a sweet device, and loaded some of the code examples. Skip ahead to 17:23 if you only want to check out the demos.
In the past I mentioned I might cancel my AdaBox subscription, which I did after box #8. On social media and in their YouTube shows Adafruit has been pretty much telling you what’s in the next box, which has been nice. I knew #9, based on their HalloWing board, didn’t interest me. Then when I realized #10 was going to be the NeoTrellis and subscriptions were still open late in the quarter I jumped in. I plan to make a game-time decision each quarter from here on out.
I recently mentioned I was considering cancelling my subscription to HackerBoxes. Turns out the owner of the company made that decision much easier with the way he treats customers. Box #0030 is my last one.
The HB owner came up with some crazy conspiracy theory that all of his most active customers were trying to run him out of business. He started attacking us and censored us from helping other people in the community. You can see what the owner says in this deleted subreddit thread (also on the Internet Archive in case that page gets removed).
He also jumped into the comments on one of my unboxing videos and started making a bunch of incorrect assumptions about me and attacking me. It was so outrageous I thought it was a YouTube troll and I blocked the account soon after the 2nd comment came through so other HB customers to see the garbage this person was saying. Later that night I found out it was the owner! I wish I had saved those comments.
If you’re a HB subscriber or thinking to start you can decide for yourself if it’s a company you want to support. I won’t be giving my money to someone who treats customers like this. It’s disappointing because the concept is sound, I learned a lot, and there were some fun projects. If HB embraced and appreciated their community it could be an awesome way for people to learn about electronics.
The community has moved over HardWareFlare. Discord info is there as well, which is very active.
I’ve restarted my subscription to AdaBox and I suggest you check them out. Adafruit actually cares about people. Their next box (8) will be all about building robots. Another subscription electronics service I’m enjoying is Boldport Club, which comes once a month.
When Adafruit hinted that AdaBox #007 would have a spy theme I was excited. I did a time-lapse of the unboxing this time since they do their own unboxing (scheduled some time next week) which is much better than listening to me talk.
This box has more content than any other box so far.
Large Padlock & 9 Piece Lockpick Kit
Software Defined Radio USB Receiver with Antenna
Adafruit GEMMA M0
USB Cable – 6″ A/MicroB
AAA Battery Holder with On/Off Switch
3 AAA Batteries
Fast Vibration Sensor Switch
Panel Mount 10K Potentiometer + Knob
Invisible Ink Pen
5mm Purple UVA LED
IR (Infrared) Receiver Sensor
5mm Super-bright IR LED
0.1mm Magnet Wire
Digikey Digi-Keyer Puzzle
Digikey Web Cam Cover
EFF Multisticker Sheet
2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly
Boldport Club Cad Sticker
I’ve always wanted a lock pick set and the clear padlock seems like a cool way to learn. I’ll have to make some videos once I start learning how to pick locks.
Even with this box being one of the better ones, I think I’m going to cancel because I have built up quite a collection of Adafruit microcontrollers and other components. I need to start building projects that I actually use around the house instead of just tinkering and taking everything apart after I learn. I like the subscription, but they’ve left me wanting more because it really is focused on the beginner. Not saying I’m an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have so many of the things included in most of the boxes now.
I can’t help myself and have already subscribed to a different monthly electronics kit. More on that in a few days.
The last AdaBox of the year was delivered yesterday. I was able to avoid spoilers so I did a quick unboxing video.
I’ve been wanting to try the AdaFruit M0 boards like the Circuit Playground Express, but figured they’d be including one soon in an AdaBox. Pays to wait, especially when I have a backlog of projects. This is a really neat microcontroller with a lot to explore. It works with the MakeCode block editor, which will be fun to hack around with.
The box came with a set of Hammer Headers, which I’ve been skeptical about since I first saw. I have no issues soldering, actually enjoy the task, and prefer it so I have solid connections to the pins. I figured I’d give the headers a try though. Plus it was good excuse to try out the garage sale hammer I bought. Take a look at the 8x speed time-lapse…
I appreciate the idea and can see that hammer headers would be a good option in schools where they can’t have soldering irons, but I’ll never use them again. It took me 6 minutes and I felt like I was destroying the Pi Zero.
The Adafruit Joy Bonnet is a cute little add-on for the Pi. The first thing I noticed when holding it was how cheap the thumbstick feels and sounds. I wouldn’t expect much out of such a small controller that’s only $15 and snaps on to a Raspberry Pi though.
When I get my 3D printer later this year I’ll make a case for this 7″ screen I bought a couple of years ago, maybe even with a way to clip in the Pi Zero. Or better yet, a Pi 3B, which is better suited for a retro gaming device.
This is now my 8th Raspberry Pi. The 7th was named grasshopper, but what type of pie should I use for the letter H? Comment with your suggestions because the Wikipedia list I usually reference has two “H” pies I’ve never heard of.
I received the latest Adafruit AdaBox last Thursday and made this unboxing video.
As you may have guessed, AdaBox004 has a music theme. I’m excited because I’ll be using several of these parts in my current project. I need to finish it before the weekend so I guess I better get my ass in gear.
When you lay it out, this one seemed a light compared to the first 3 AdaBoxes, so I added up prices from the Adafruit store. It came to $73 without factoring in the empty white box for making a custom project enclosure, collectible “Boomy” pin, SD card, Make volume 57 signed by LadyAda, and free shipping. Probably about a $90 value for $60 as a subscriber, which is worth it. The $25 Music Maker FeatherWing with the $20 Feather HUZZAH really drove up the price, limiting what else could be included.
If you enjoyed the music in the video, it was released by Adafruit’s in-house musician to go along with this box. Check out “ADABOX004” on SoundCloud. BartleBeats also has a full album I’ve been listening to a lot while working at my hobby desk. “Frequency” is available on SoundCloud or via iTunes.
Next up… this morning I received the tracking info for HackerBox #0020. Note that AdaBox uses a 3 digit identification system, while the HackerBox uses 4 digits. The difference between a quarterly and a monthly subscription I guess.
MicroUSB port for programming and debugging with Arduino IDE
USB port can act like serial port, keyboard, mouse, joystick or MIDI
10 x mini NeoPixels, each one can display any color
1 x Motion sensor (LIS3DH triple-axis accelerometer with tap detection, free-fall detection)
1 x Temperature sensor (thermistor)
1 x Light sensor (phototransistor)
1 x Sound sensor (MEMS microphone)
1 x Mini speaker (magnetic buzzer)
2 x Push buttons, left and right
1 x Slide switch
8 x alligator-clip friendly input/output pins
Includes I2C, UART, and 4 pins that can do analog inputs/PWM output
All 8 pads can act as capacitive touch inputs
Green “ON” LED so you know its powered
Red “#13” LED for basic blinking
With so many features, Circuit Playground is a perfect board for someone learning to program. There are endless possibilities for fun projects. I ordered one to support the program. I’m hoping they’ll get some of the new Circuit Playground Express boards in stock and extend this promotion to those because I’ve been tempted to get my hands on one. If they do, I’ll gladly place another order.