What micro:bit / robotics equipment should I buy?

Are you interested in the BBC micro:bit but not sure what equipment to buy? Here's some recommendations!

The micro:bit

You can order individual/small quantities from approved resellers. Check the shipping policies to see if they ship to your country.

In Australia, some approved resellers include:

Robotics with the micro:bit

Hardware Link to recommended reseller Comments
Bit:bot https://shop.4tronix.co.uk/products/bit-bot-robot-for-bbc-micro-bit-bitbot-for-microbit?variant=38072164545
If they are out of stock at this link, they are often available from local resellers in Australia, see list of resellers above.
An almost ready-assembled robot (requires nothing more than a screwdriver to complete it). Programmable with the micro:bit. These work quite well out-of-the-box. 
Grove Zero micro:car https://www.littlebirdelectronics.com.au/grove-zero-bit-kit-micro-car Designed as a stand-alone robot, or can be integrated with the Grove Zero sensors. 
This is a new product! We haven't tried it here at Grok but we've heard that it's pretty resilient and has enough features to keep the students engaged – so does the BitBot, of course.

Other micro:bit hardware

Hardware Link to recommended reseller Comments
Ultrasonic Distance Sensor for Bit:Bot  https://shop.4tronix.co.uk/collections/bit-bot/products/ultrasonic-distance-sensor-for-bit-bot-bitbot Recommended if you purchase a Bitbot. Allows you to read the distance to an obstacle, then program your Bit:Bot to avoid it.
AngleBit for MicroBit https://shop.4tronix.co.uk/collections/bit-bot/products/anglebit-turn-your-bbc-micro-bit-by-90-degrees Recommended if you purchase the distance sensor above, to allow access to the micro:bit even when the sensor is plugged in. This adaptor lets you change the orientation of your BBC micro:bit from horizontal to vertical, and you can insert the micro:bit either way round. 
Multi-coloured LEDs

AdaFruit (or resellers in Australia like Little Bird, Core Electronics, Tronix Labs, etc) sell the "DotStar" and "NeoPixel" branded strips. 

Or buy the "micro:pixel" or "micro:pixel edge" from Proto-PIC (https://www.proto-pic.co.uk/micropixel-4x8-ws2812b-board-for-bbc-microbit.html and https://www.proto-pic.co.uk/micropixel-edge-for-microbit.html)

They commonly come in pre-made strips (often on self-adhesive backing). These are super cool because you just power them and chain them together send serial data to the first one - only one pin for WS2812B (asynchronous serial) and two pins for APA102C (synchronous serial / SPI) for up to hundreds of LEDs.

The micro:bit MicroPython firmware has built-in support for WS2812B (via `import neopixel`).

Can be used with the Bit:bot. 

Note: the WS2812B are designed to run on 5V, but the micro:bit is 3.3V, so in our personal experience they can be a little bit unreliable. 

Soil Moisture Sensor https://www.littlebirdelectronics.com.au/sparkfun-soil-moisture-sensor-with-screw-terminals

Soil sensors for gardening: these are one of the simplest sensors because they're just a variable resistor, so will work on several (but not all) of the micro:bit pins.

To attach the Sparkfun sensor you can cut some alligator cables in half, and screw them onto that and use the alligator end to connect to the micro:bit.

Also check out the micro:bit ideas from Kitronik - lots more to choose from! 

Have you tried any of the above equipment? Do you have suggestions, comments, or additional information to add? Get in touch and email support@groklearning.com, we love hearing from you!

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