2 months ago

Jam HAT review

ModMyPi’s board for adding lights, buttons, and a buzzer to the Raspberry Pi is a great solution for newcomers.

Many Raspberry Pi starter projects involve LED lights, buttons, and buzzers. ModMyPi’s Jam HAT brings these components together into a single, simple board that slots neatly on top of the Raspberry Pi.

This article first appeared in The MagPi 81 and was written by Lucy Hattersley

On the board you’ll find six LEDs (two red, amber, and green), two ‘push to make’ buttons, and a single buzzer. These components lend themselves to many starter projects, and enable newcomers to explore the concepts of input (buttons) and output (LEDs). For instance, you can build a traffic light system with a button crossing.

Utilising Raspberry Pi’s HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) framework means all you need to do for setup is slot the Jam HAT on top of a Raspberry Pi. Four metal standoffs are used to secure the JAM HAT to the Pi, making for a secure teaching device for the classroom. ModMyPi has a guide to getting started, walking you through the assembly and setup process.

Code base

The JAM HAT works with Python or Scratch. In Python, it makes use of the new GPIO Zero 1.5 library, which makes it easier to connect buttons and LEDs together in Python. ModMyPi worked with the GPIO Zero code team to put together sample projects – you can find this selection of sample code on ModMyPi’s GitHub.

Users at home might get more from wiring LEDs, buttons, and the buzzer directly to the GPIO pins via a breadboard. However, we think Jam HAT will be ideal for teachers looking for a neat classroom solution. It even has a passthrough GPIO header, so doesn’t restrict students from attaching further components.

Verdict

9/10

It’s a neat solution to adding buttons, LEDs, and a buzzer to a Raspberry Pi. You lose some of the fun of wiring everything up manually, but it’ll be great for classroom environments.