Espruino - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Espruino

Author: reinouddelange

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Arduino Uno

What were the biggest problems encountered?: None! Also, when I ran into a little problem Gordon Williams (espruino) is very helpful and responds very quickly!

Detailed Review:

First of all: thanks for selecting me for this roadtest. Me and my son enjoyed it very much using this board.

 

Hardware

It's a very tiny board, especially when you compare it with an Arduino. It is also a little less robust as an Arduino and mounting this board to your project or fitting it in a box requires a little more creativity. There are some solutions, these are my favourite: https://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/11/21/new-product-board-edge-mounting-kit-pack-of-4-raspberry_pi/ and: Espruino - Mini Prototyping Plate | phenoptix | Open Source Electronics Kits and Components in the UK Maybe element 14 has a similar solution? Also the connections are a bit fragile... I have spent quite some time to find the correct battery connector, you cant buy them on element 14 in NL without making some costs. It would be great if they were added to the board by default (it doesn't cost much). The possibilities however are much more comprehensive because the espruino has a lot of inputs and outputs!

 

WEB IDE

The main reason that I applied for this roadtest is that you can use this board with a chromebook. And that really works very well! I just plugged it in and it worked! No installion of drivers, just out of the box. I like the IDE very much, you can easily switch from the graphical inteface (blockly https://code.google.com/p/blockly/) to the textual interface (javascript). It will also notify you if there is new firmware (did a few upgrades) and upgrading is very easy.

Another very nice aspect of this interface is that you can enter a command in the terminal interface and this command will be executed immediately. In this way you can test a command easily and when satisfied continue with your coding.

 

Test

In order to test it together with my son we came up with a little project: a useless machine.

When I received the espruino we were soon to leave on a holiday. So the project we did had to be simple due to limited time. We did all the hardware related stuff at home and then took off to Italy. When we were in Italy I realized it was kind of appropriate to test the espruino in Italy, the country of Arduino and espresso.

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We first discussed the aspects of the projects; the pull-down resistor for the switch, the pulse to drive the servo and the building blocks of the program. After this my son started coding and it worked! This proves my suspicion that the espruino is great for kid to do projects and teach them coding. We will surely think up some more projects, probably involving lego technics.

 

To read more on the project see my blog: The Raspuino Files: Espruino roadtest - the (not so) useless machine

 

My sons review

It worked!

The idea was to create a machine that turns itself off when you turn it on.

It’s called: the useless machine.

 

We started making the wooden board with the switch and the servo.

My father made the Espruino and connections on the PCB board ready.

Many wires though

 

My father also had a nice booklet with the idea and some further explanation.

We took everything to Italy and then continued there.

In Italy, my father had created a trial programming.

After that I programmed the espruino myself.

The progamming I liked the most.

 

What I think about the Espruino (the board):

It's a nice board with many different connections.

There are a lot of inputs and / or outputs.

I think there are so many possibilities.

 

What do I think of the programming IDE:

The IDE looked very nice.

Programming was very nice.

To lock the blocks to each other was the most fun

Fortunately, I have been in school two years of English, so I understand the language a bit.

But in Dutch it would be a lot easier to use the IDE.

Maybe it could be translated once...

 

What I think you can do with an Espruino and what I would do with it:

I'd like to control a lego technics car with an espruino and continuous servo.

I think you can also (with some luck) control a lawnmower with it!

 

Conclusion

The espruino is a very good alternative to an Arduino, especially when you want to teach kid electronics and programming. The hardware could be a little less fragile and have a nice case. It is easy to quickly realize a project and I definitely want to do some more projects with it!

Anonymous