Getting Started with the micro:bit

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Contributors: D___Run___
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Hardware Overview

The micro:bit has a lot to offer when it comes to onboard inputs and outputs. In fact, there are so many things packed onto this little board that you would be hard pressed to really need anything else if you were looking at just exploring the basics of programming and hardware.

Front

On the front of the board there are a number of components that are pretty visible right off the bat!

LED Array

The micro:bit has a 5x5 LED array that you can use as a tiny screen to draw on and display words, numbers and other information.

LED Array

A/B Buttons

Two buttons in all of their clicky glory: A is on the left, B is on the right, and both are prime for controlling a game of your design.

On Board Buttons

Edge "Pins"

The gold tabs at the bottom of the board are for hooking up external components. The tabs with larger holes can be easily used with alligator clips to prototype things quickly!

Edge Pins

Light Sensor

A bit of a hidden gem. The LED array doubles as a light sensor!

LED Array as Light Sensor

Back

The back is where a lot of the magic happens. Check it out...

Microcontroller

The brains of the outfit. The micro:bit is powered by a 16MHz ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller with 256KB Flash and 16KB RAM.

Microcontroller

Accelerometer/Compass

The micro:bit has an onboard accelerometer that measures gravitational force, as well as a compass (a.k.a. a magnetometer) that can detect its orientation using Earth's magnetic field. Depending on the version that you have, the accelerometer and compass can be on separate ICs or combined into a single IC.

v1.0 w/ Accelerometer and Magnetometer v1.5 w/ Combined Accelerometer and Magnetometer
v1.0 w/ Accelerometer and Magnetometer v1.5 w/ Combined Accelerometer and Magnetometer

Bluetooth/Radio

Communication is huge with the micro:bit. You can communicate with your phone or tablet using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or between two or more micro:bits using the standard "radio".

Bluetooth / Radio Antenna

Temperature Sensor

No, the drawing is not highlighted incorrectly! The microcontroller doubles as a temperature sensor!

Microcontroller as Temperature Sensor

USB Port

Used to upload code to your micro:bit or power from your computer or laptop.

USB Port

Reset Button

A button to reset your micro:bit and start your code over from the beginning.

Reset Button

JST Battery Connector

A connector to hook up an external battery pack to your micro:bit.

JST PH Connector for Remote Power

Phew! That is a lot of bells and whistles...a true Swiss army knife!