While not specifically a Raspberry Pi product or project, the MonkMakesDuino LCD Kit is a great educational tool for coding, in a similar vein to the MonkMakes Pi kits that we’ve looked at in the past. In fact, with our feature from issue 61 about using the Pi to interact with Arduino, you can probably connect the two together.
Unlike the Raspberry Pi, which is a full computer, Arduino boards like the MonkMakesDuino are microcontrollers. You write code on another computer, which you then upload to the board for it to run. This has various advantages and disadvantages depending on how you use the board (for example, a microcontroller uses less power, but isn’t as powerful). For this kit, it’s just a different way to learn about coding and using electronics.
It’s called the LCD Kit, as the main component it comes with is just that: a simple LCD screen. It’s not a full-colour display, but a two-line text display with 16 characters on each line, allowing you to print simple messages such as a live temperature reading.
Being a MonkMakes kit, it also comes with much more than the board and LCD screen. Included is a selection of LEDs, buttons, sensors, and jumper wires, along with a breadboard, so you can try out different setups and projects. The quality of the included projects is fantastic, with easy-to-understand tutorials on how to create cool effects with the LEDs, and make a countdown timer on the LCD. There’s a great online repository of code examples as well, so you don’t have to type out everything by hand.
Thanks to the array of components, this kit will definitely be useful once you’ve finished with the instruction book – buttons and LCD screens are useful for many projects.
A great kit that will teach you another aspect of coding – while also having lasting use beyond the tutorials in the book, thanks to its great array of electronics components.