MicroBit Edge Connector Breakout Board

I like the Micro:Bit, its a nice little compact board with plenty of features with a couple of development options such as Python, C++ and block editors.

One of the problems though is by default not many of the IO pins come out to the edge connector, you can see this in the picture below. In fact only P0, P1 and P2 come out to the connector easily

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Luckily I found a UK company who have made a neat edge connector that fits nicely on to the Micro:Bit, this Edge Connector Breakout Board gives access to all of the important pins on the bottom edge of the BBC micro:bit. 21 pins are broken out in total; thus providing additional I/O lines, direct access to buttons A and B, the LED matrix outputs and the I2C bus. The SCL and SDA pins are separated at the edge of the board as well on top of this there is a prototyping area with 3V, 0V and unconnected rows that can be soldered to.

Here you can see my Micro:bit with the Edge Connector Breakout Board.

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This in my book enhances the Micro:bit and as you can now gain easier access to other I/O lines means the capailities of adding sensors, LCDs and other external components is far easier, this opens this board up more to the maker community

 

 

Link

https://www.kitronik.co.uk/5601b-edge-connector-breakout-board-for-bbc-microbit-pre-built.html

MicroBit overview

If you have no idea what a Micro:Bit is hen this will introduce you to this intriguing board

The Micro Bit measures 4 × 5 cm the device has an ARM Cortex-M0 processor, accelerometer and magnetometer sensors, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a display consisting of 25 LEDs, two programmable buttons, and can be powered by either USB or an external battery pack. The device inputs and outputs are through five ring connectors that are part of the 23-pin edge connector.

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Hardware

The size of the device is described as half the size of a credit card, measuring 43 x 52 mm and, as of the start of final manufacturing,[18] includes:

Nordic nRF51822 – 16 MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller, 256 KB flash memory, 16 KB static ram, 2.4 GHz Bluetooth low energy wireless networking. The ARM core has the capability to switch between 16 MHz or 32.768 kHz.
NXP/Freescale KL26Z – 48 MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ core microcontroller, that includes a full-speed USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) controller, used as a communication interface between USB and main Nordic microcontroller.
NXP/Freescale MMA8652 – 3-axis accelerometer sensor via I²C-bus.
NXP/Freescale MAG3110 – 3-axis magnetometer sensor via I²C-bus (to act as a compass and metal detector).
MicroUSB connector, battery connector, 23-pin edge connector.
Display consisting of 25 LEDs in a 5×5 array.
Three tactile pushbuttons (two for user, one for reset).

I/O includes three ring connectors (plus one power one ground) which accept crocodile clips or 4 mm banana plugs as well as a 23-pin edge connector with two or three PWM outputs, six to 17 GPIO pins (depending on configuration), six analog inputs, serial I/O, SPI, and I²C.

Unlike early prototypes, which had an integral battery, an external battery pack (AAA batteries) can be used to power the device as a standalone or wearable product.

 

Software

There are four official code editors in the BBC micro:bit web site:

CodeKingdoms, using JavaScript
Microsoft Block Editor, based on Blockly;
Microsoft TouchDevelop;
MicroPython.

The Python programming experience on the Micro Bit is provided by MicroPython. Users are able to write Python scripts in the Micro Bit web editor which are then combined with the MicroPython firmware and uploaded to the device. Users can also access the MicroPython REPL running directly on the device via the USB serial connection, and this allows to interact directly with the Micro Bit’s peripherals.

The Micro Bit was created using the ARM mbed development kits. The run-time system and programming interface utilize the mbed cloud compiler service to compile the user’s code. The compiled code is then flashed onto the device using USB or Bluetooth connections. The device will appear as a USB drive when connected to a computer and code can be flashed using drag and drop