Christmas shopping guide

Christmas is coming, and we’re all panicking because we haven’t bought all the presents yet. (My Dad’s difficult.) Waking up at 3am in a cold sweat because you don’t know what to buy the Raspberry Pi fan in your life? Sweat no longer: we’re here to help!

Raspberry Pi kits

If you want a Raspberry Pi on its own, you can buy it from one of our manufacturing distributors, from our Swag Store, and from many other vendors.

There are also some great kits available if you want to get all the extra bits and bobs you’ll need in one box. We sell a starter kit containing a lot of goodies: it’s £75.

Starter_Kit_grande

If all the extras in there make things a bit rich for your blood, check out The Pi Hut’s kit, which doesn’t have the shiny PiBow case, the special bag, the stickers or the keyboard or the mouse, but has everything else you’ll need. It’s £42.

Specialist starter kits for people wanting to use their Pi as a media centre, or focusing on using the camera board, are available from CPC in the UK, or MCM in the United States.

Books

There is now a terrifying number of books available on the Raspberry Pi – check out the electronics or computing section of your local bookshop. Some of our favourites are:

The Raspberry Pi User Guide – this book’s written by our very own Eben Upton and by Gareth Halfacree; it’s the canonical guide to the Raspberry Pi, from the person who created it. This link goes to the latest edition, which covers things we’ve done this year like the Model B+.

userguide

Sticking with the “books wot we wrote” theme, here’s Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi. Aimed at kids aged 11 and up (younger kids will still get a lot out of it, but we recommend Mum or Dad lends a hand), we think it’s the biggest seller of the Raspberry Pi books so far this year; and we highly recommend it.

adventures

If you’re an adult who doesn’t mind the branding, Raspberry Pi for Dummies is a superb guide to the device and what you can do with it. It’s good for beginners, but it’ll take you a long way – much further than you might guess from the title!

dummies

You can find many, many more Pi books at Amazon.

Add-on boards and fun

One of my favourite add-ons of the year was a late entrant: it only came out last week. Pimoroni’s Skywriter is a motion and distance sensor HAT for your Pi – and you can do this sort of thing with it (click the button to turn the sound on). It’s £16.

Pimoroni’s other add-on boards are among our very favourites: Pibrella is only £10, and offers you lots of inputs and outputs; we use it a lot in our own teaching sessions. It’s a fantastic way to get started with electronics: it’ll allow you to make noises, flash lights, drive motors and much more.

Pibrella_1_of_2_grande

The Unicorn HAT is just magic. And it’s £18. That’s all we have to say about it.

Babbage the Bear is our mascot, and he’s had a very busy couple of years, going to near-space, having a camera stuck up his bum and becoming an Internet of Things device, and being cuddled by lots of small children. You can buy him at our Swag Store. He’s £9.

babbage

Today, we’re launching a NEW accessory for Babbage: the Babbage Backpack Game Kit. For £8.10 you can buy a cute little backpack for Babbage, filled with everything you’ll need to make an electronic memory game and instructions (no soldering required) – a perfect stocking-filler and a really great little project for electronics beginners. Plus, it makes Babbage look super-chic.

Backpack_1024x1024

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Ryan Walmsley set up his own business to make and sell electronics more than a year ago, and he’s still only 18. The RyanTeck Budget Robotics Kit is fantastic – it’s affordable at only £24.49, and contains everything you need to get started with robotics – all you need to add is a Raspberry Pi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrokiagbvqM

Pi&Bash is another new offering, this time from Piventor. THIS BOARD REQUIRES SOME SOLDERING, so it’s not ideal for first-timers. But it’s really good fun if you do fancy getting the soldering iron out, with traffic light LEDs, push buttons, a little backlit LCD screen, a thermometer, and digital and analogue inputs and outputs. It’s only £23.

piandbash

 

The CamJam EduKit is the perfect stocking filler at only £5. It’s available from The Pi Hut, and it’s my absolute favourite learning kit of the year, coming bundled with worksheets to get you building electronics projects from scratch – or at least it was until the CamJam EduKit 2: Sensors came out last week, for a simply ridiculous £7. The Sensors kit contains everything you need to make a bedroom burglar alarm, a tea-temperature-tester, a device to test whether the light in your fridge really goes off when you shut the door, and much more, with worksheets. It’s a wonderful, wonderful, versatile little kit, and we think that the CamJam team and The Pi Hut have done an amazing job in getting it out for such an affordable price.

sensors

Finally, for those not worried to get a soldering iron out (soldering is easy – it’s really worth having a go), you can get an entire Christmas tree for your Pi for only £6. I saw several of these in action at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last weekend; great for a festive addition to your workbench. Here’s one on a Model B+.

treeMerry Christmas!

25 comments

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Is that Christmas magic? the A+ under the Christmas Tree has magically turned into a B+. Unless your A+ at Pi Towers is endowed with extra USB ports and an Ethernet socket :)

Seasons Greetings to all at Pi Towers, may the Pi Magic continue into 2015 and beyond.

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So it has. Now corrected. Top of the season to you too!

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you could also go for a MyPiFi LED Board £6 with some pi shops selling them for as low as a fiver.

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[quote]Here’s one on a Model A+.[/quote]
a small correction:
Christmass tree is shown width model B+
Merry Christmas!

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Thanks for the spot; I was getting quite bleary towards the end of the day today!

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£6 for a Xmas tree is OK but at least £2 for the postage & packing to mail it to me is a crime.

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You’ve obviously not visited a post office in a while ! :)

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That’s…maybe a little strong, Dougie.

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please help me sir/madam i am eningineering student and make project please help me coding

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I don’t think £2 is that excessive, considering Royal Fail want 53p for a 2nd class stamp thesedays…and that’s for a letter. I’ve lost track of all the new fangled permutations for weights/sizes/moon phase, so no idea what they want for a small PCB in a jiffy bag.

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£2 for postage is actually great! They post to me in Ireland for this (unlike some other people I would like to buy from) and the only problem is that the Royal Mail thinks it is perfectly OK to take a week to get a package from Cambridge to Dublin. When I was young (a little while ago) you could rely on this happening overnight!

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Only had a Pi for a few weeks (now I have 2 B+ and A+, plus Unicorn and Skywriter HATs) and already I can’t help myself wanting to get all this stuff and learn learn learn (I’m 43 btw).

Off out to buy a soldering iron today – then 2x Pi and Bash for me and my son to build together…

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Don’t touch the hot end. And never be on fire. :-)

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To hear that you have gone out to get a soldering iron to build the Pi&Bash>_ has absolutely made my day! I hope you and your son get as much enjoyment out of using it as I did from creating it!

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How can I get that little Christmas tree from Germany? The Pi Hur doesn’t deliver to good old Germanistan. :-(

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Great! Got the 2nd last one.
Thank you!

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I got the last one :)

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Hope this doesn’t subversively undermine some of these ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT packages (it’s too late for Christmas really) but it’s possible to get a really cracking add-on board with 8 anaologue and 14 i/o, a vast amount of ready-made open source software, that doesn’t use any GPIO space and costs about the same as the postage quoted above! i.e. a 3V3 arduino nano clone
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191257218511

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I am keen to learn how to program the Pi but need advice for which Pi Model to get as a starter and especially a very comprehensive book/books for learning the language.
Can you recommend how best to get started please.

Fred

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You’ll want a B+ and Eben and Gareth’s User Guide.

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Or, how about a Data Acquisition and Control board from
Pi-Plates.com that is compatible with all versions of the RPI?

7 Open Collector Outputs
8 Analog Inputs
2 Analog Outputs
8 Digital Inputs
8 General Purpose LEDs
1 Auxiliary Power Input
1 Configurable Switch which can be set to shut down your RPI

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Thank you for including ‘Raspberry Pi For Dummies’ in your list! I thought I’d let you know there’s an updated version just published, which is available here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Raspberry-For-Dummies-Sean-McManus/dp/1118904915/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

(I couldn’t see how to add your Amazon code in the link)

There should be a copy of it on its way to Pi Towers right now!

Wishing everyone a happy and Pi-filled Christmas! :-)

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Thanks Sean! I’ve updated the link in the post.

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Thank you! :-)

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