RoadTest: Binary Bots: DIMM + micro:bit
Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
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?:
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Connecting it up and binarybot website issues.
Received the parcel and hadnt told my eldest that it was coming, so he was really excited when he opened it.
The box itself looks really impressive, packaged very well and shows exactly whats inside.
First job was to build the robot itself, wasn't sure what to expect here as I knew it was cardboard.
The first thing you see on opening the box is the micro:bit
My son got all the pieces out of the box and the instructions out, and we went through the instruction first to ensure all the pieces were present, and then to work out which piece was which.
He then got to folding the cardboard to the correct shapes, this was quite straight forward and the way the parts are designed they lock into themselves, making the parts quite stable.
We were both really impressed with how the robot looked and structuraly safe it seemed. One thing we did keep doing was knocking its head off, but this comes away for ease of access to the board and pins, also my son did accidentally push one of the corcodile clip hands through its arm, which then meant dismantling the arm section to put it back, shame there isnt a more stable way of holding the clips in place?
OK, next stage as he is all built now, battery clip hidden inside the head and all wired up.
Connecting it up
We had some fun here, we initially tried to connect it to my sons tablet, following the instructions we couldnt seem to get it to connect, now this tablet is a couple of years old, so maybe it was a compatibility problem with the BLE, but it could see it on the scan, just wouldnt authenticate.
Next tried my mobile Xiaomi mobile, fired up the app, again no luck in connecting through the app wouldnt authenticate, so off to forums it is and found a possible solution straight away, pair the device without using the app first as sometimes pairing within the app doesnt work very well. Did this on my mobile and finally we had a connecion to DIMM, all beit not ideal, as my mobile screen is large, but not really ideal for the scratch style interface.
We went back to trying his tablet again, but still no luck, wouldnt pair at all even though it could see it.
The microbit has a micro usb port so we plugged it into his desktop pc, instantly came up with the removable drive
Next head to the BinaryBots Website and pick a project, he decided on the Burglar alarm for his room. He clicked the link to follow the guide and it wasnt good, all the actual pictures were missing from the page see below(used my mobile to get the image as it was easier this way):-
This meant he needed a little help from myself where as with the pictures I could have left him to it.
He managed to generate the program with a little help, stepping through the online guide.
He decided on his own image for the face when an intruder was detected, we selected download, and then 'Save As', we saved it straight to the microbit removable drive and instantly the microbit started flashing away loading the code, then a smily face appeared which is what he had created for no intruder.
At this point he had to add the PIR sensor:-
He Followed the guide to wire up the sensor, plugged it all in and it worked brilliantly,
The speaker wasnt as loud as he would of liked for an alarm but it served its purpose.
Next my son selected the scared of the dark project using the light sensor.
again he went through the websites guide on how to setup the program (the images for this project where working)
Again this was really easy to upload the code DIMM, I would definetly say plugging it in via USB to a device is the best and most easiest way to go.
After writing the code and wiring the sensor to the board all worked as expected
Ok, what do we both think of the set, it was ups and downs really, in that initially he really enjoyed the building of he robot itself and connecting it all up.
Tryng to connect to it though was a bit of a pain.
Connecting it to the PC was by far the easiest way of uploading the code.
The kit itself came with all the sensors required in the examples, so nothing extra to purchase, I also believe there is a version now that sells without the Microbit if you already have one.
The projects are really good and 'Where they are working' are very easy to follow for my son.
Alls said and done, I would still consider buying this as there is lots of support from the forums if needed and my son really enjoyed building and programming DIMM.
I mailed BinaryBots and they apologised and said they would get the site sorted, one of thier staff was currently updating certain parts of the website.