rsvbod
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Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:36 am

Good morning. I am in the process of researching expansion boards for the Pi. I am looking at the Gertboard and the Arduino kit. I am an IT teacher so I am looking at introducing it to my primary programming class. The Arduino kit appears to come with most of the components that you could possibly need. Or am I mistaken? What else would I need?

This is my first foray dealing with electronics so I need something easy to use and set up. Also, I am looking at the breadboards too to attach the components. Am I on the right track or am I missing something?

Any help or advice would be greatly received!

Thanks

Bod

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joan
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:51 am

Have a look through http://www.themagpi.com/

That should show examples of usage of the various add-ons.

"Arduino kit" covers a multitude of sins.

rsvbod
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:10 am

Hi thanks for the reply. I have read all the articles, and I know there are a number of projects documented. However, I want to get something that will cover most bases. My understanding of the expansion boards is that they protect the Pi from short circuits or the like. This is a must as kids will be using this and therefore needs to be robust. I did find something is the Pibrella which looks fantastic for Primary kids so that one is being purchased. As for anything else, I'm still unsure :(

rsvbod
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:42 am

I've just reviewed the Arduino kit and it has almost everything that I would want I suppose. I didn't look at the contents full lol! Has anyone used the Arduino?

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joan
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:52 am

rsvbod wrote:I've just reviewed the Arduino kit and it has almost everything that I would want I suppose. I didn't look at the contents full lol! Has anyone used the Arduino?
To what "Arduino kit" are you referring?

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pluggy
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:03 am

The Arduino has more kits and addons than the Pi, its been around a lot longer though.
Don't judge Linux by the Pi.......
I must not tread on too many sacred cows......

rsvbod
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:30 pm

It's the 79 quid kit from marlin or rs components.

Tarcas
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:58 am

rsvbod wrote:It's the 79 quid kit from marlin or rs components.
...and what does it contain?

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pluggy
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:26 am

Educated guess :
http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/arduino-starter-kit-n08nu

The big difference is that the Gertboard is specifically a Pi addon, The Arduino starter kit isn't. They both have Arduino at their heart.

Whether or not all the electronics in the Arduino Starter Kit is useful depends on exactly what you're hoping to achieve. You can buy a 'knockoff' Arduino clone on Ebay for around a Tenner, and £70 will buy a lot of electronics.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Arduino-compa ... 258b23e3bf

The Leonardo is a later Arduino than the Uno in the kit, although the Uno is still available. The Leonardo is cheaper and arguably more flexible. For kids making simple stuff, they are functionally the same. Assuming your school is in the same cash-strapped state as the majority of UK education, buying a few Arduinos without the rest of the Kit and then a box of electronics the kids can dip into would probably be cheaper. You can do quite a bit with a bare Arduino and a few LEDS and resistors. Although at primary level, the extra complication of interfacing it to a Pi is probably overkill. I've been around Arduinos for around 6 years, about 4 year longer than the Pi has. In my opinion the Kids will learn a lot with just an Arduino, its programmming albeit on a much simpler machine and using an IDE and C++ rather than the very trendy Python.

Probably heresy on a Pi forum, but I'd be looking at just using Arduino to teach kids the basics of programming for the real world. The Arduino runs at a newbie friendly 5 volts rather than the trickier 3.3 volts of the Pi, so is simpler to get stuff working. You can connect an Arduino to any PC, it would work fine on the old XP desktops you're under pressure to update. (I've worked in Education for a lot of years too, I know how it works ;) )
Don't judge Linux by the Pi.......
I must not tread on too many sacred cows......

rsvbod
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:19 pm

Hi Pluggy. Yep that's the kit. I never though about buying things separately and buying a range of electronics separately. May workout cheaper also. Its interesting to read your thoughts on the electronics side of things and primary education. I never realised that the Arduino required C++ knowledge.

Being in education you know that progression is important. My current school (I'm an international teacher) teaches scratch to year 7. So my thinking behind it is that they can grasp the basics with hands on electronics and become familiar with the programme.

I have some knowledge of Python and scratch so learning c++ would be an additional thing to study. I have recently found the Pibrella which looks an interesting device, limited yet maybe enough for young minds.

Now the gertboards you said are made for the pi? Does this use a language too? Looking at the gertboard it appears that maybe it would be suitable for ks3/4 kids. My major concern is that if we use a number of breadboards with a few pi's is the kids will/can short circuit them. Or am I being over precautious. What have you found, are you a teacher also?

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mikronauts
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:41 pm

rsvbod,

It would be useful to know exactly what you propose to teach, and to what grade students. Your quote, to my Canadian eyes, implies grade 1 to grade 7?

For grades 1-3 I'd be tempted to use a simple all-in-one robot like the Parallax Scribbler 2 to teach flowchart based programming.

Using inexpensive arduino compatible boards for teaching simple introductory electronics, using a Pi to run the Arduino environment, has the advantage of limiting the potential damage to the cost of a replacement arduino clone.

Put one of the small prototyping / breadboard shields on top, and you are ready for simple circuits.

Personally, I would not risk frying a $35+ Model B, when I can risk a <$10 arduino clone :)

Best Regards,

Bill
rsvbod wrote:Being in education you know that progression is important. My current school (I'm an international teacher) teaches scratch to year 7. So my thinking behind it is that they can grasp the basics with hands on electronics and become familiar with the programme.
http://Mikronauts.com - home of EZasPi, RoboPi, Pi Rtc Dio and Pi Jumper @Mikronauts on Twitter
Advanced Robotics, I/O expansion and prototyping boards for the Raspberry Pi

rsvbod
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:31 pm

Hi. I'm looking at using this with 9-11 year olds.

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pluggy
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Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:05 pm

The Gertboard is an expansion board for the Pi, it does buffering and protection for the GPIO and a load of LEDs, buttons and other stuff, but it has the heart of the Arduino (An Atmel Atmega 328) built into as well, which you program in C++ via the Arduino IDE and Gertboard from the Pi. But you could use the Gertboard with a Pi without involving the Arduino part of it.

I shouldn't worry too much about C++, its a variant of C and almost all modern languages have their roots in C. Theres a reference for the language on the Arduino website : http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/HomePage. Once you've programmed the Arduino it will happily run standalone just being supplied with power.

It is depressingly easy to destroy micro controllers and small computers when you're hooking them up to external circuits, The Pi especially, it has 5v connections on the GPIO and a whole load of 3.3v connections that are not 5v tolerant. All the connections on the Arduino are 5 volt tolerant because the whole thing is 5v. Randomly connecting one pin of the Arduino to another is unlikely to do any damage, not the case on the Pi. There are plenty of posts on here to testify to that.
Don't judge Linux by the Pi.......
I must not tread on too many sacred cows......

rsvbod
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 8:20 am

Re: Gertboard vs Arduino

Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:38 pm

Well, I have finally taken the plunge! I bought the aduino board, the pibrela, and the pi lite with a number of components to start off with. I purchased the stuff from ModMyPi and Pimoroni and what a fantastic service they provided me! Thanks for all your advice guys!

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