10 kits for teaching yourself about computers
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Discover Electronics Kit
If you’re looking for hands-ons ways to learn more about building computers, or wanting a refresher, here are 10 kits to get you started.
This kit comes with common electrical components so that users of varying experience levels can create their own projects. It also has diagrams to help get beginners started. Online resources are also available. The kit costs $49.95.
SparkFun Inventor's Kit
SparkFun ELectronics has tons of kits, projects, and more. The Inventor’s kit is $99 and aimed at folks who want to learn about programming, as well as hardware. It uses Arduino, comes with a guidebook, and comes with things like LEDS lights, buttons, a DC motor and gear, sensors, wires, a speaker, and a lot more.
Jimmy the Robot
Spark’s Photon is a “hackable wi-fi module for interacting with physical things” that can be hooked up to a standard 0.1″ breadboard, according to the site. Spark says all it needs is a sensor to get up and running. There are several features, including Tinker, which allows users to control Photon with their smartphone, without having to code anything. The pre-order is $19.
The Thing Box
The Thing Box has a particular eye for the non-technical crowd. Users can download a file for a Raspberry Pi. That graphical interface can be used to connect with, well, connected objects. Also, it’s free.
WeevilEye Beginner Soldering Kit
If you’re really wanting to dig into electronics, soldering will come up at some point. SparkFun’s WeevilEye is a beginner’s through-hole soldering kit. If completed correctly, the Weevil’s eyes light up. The kit costs $9.95.
Pi-Top is a kit that lets users build a 13.3″ laptop using a Raspberry Pi. It comes with a laptop casing and everything needed to put it together, without any soldering. After construction, users can dig in to the free gamified lesson plans. The kit pre-order costs $299.99.
If you don’t want to commit to soldering just yet, check out Circuit Stickers. They’re circuits on a flexible polyimide substrate with anisotropic tape and can be attached to surfaces like plastic, paper, or fabric. Really, it’s a way to learn a bit about circuits and combine them with craft projects since the stickers can be connected to each other with things like copper tape, pencil graphite, conductive thread and carbon paint, to name a few. There’s also a guidebook, if circuitry is totally new to you.