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CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE
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CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by dsvinis on Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:12 am

I would like to use Circuit Playground Express and MakeCode with Chromebooks this year with my students. It looks like the Express board is not yet available for student use (says expressly in the description). When will this be available? If I purchase the Developer model will it be significantly different from a student version? I have funding that expires if I do not use it before a September date.

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by pbgemoore on Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:30 am

Have you found an answer to your question? I, too, am trying to decide on buying the Circuit Playground to use with MakeCode in my classroom but can't find when the student-ready CP will be available. I also wanted to get an "educator copy" to test vs. the Micro:bit but they wouldn't provide one. Has anyone else been able to get a tester?

Thanks!

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by dsvinis on Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:03 pm

Yours is the only post I have received. I will be looking into this issue more in the next few days as time presents itself. If you find out anything I would appreciate if you would post, and I will do the same. We're getting down to having to make a decision prior to school starting.

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:00 pm

hiya, you can buy and use it with makecode right now - the thing that is unstable is the arduino support (there was a little bit of a bug and we have to wait till IDE 1.8.4 to come out to fix it, and there's no ETA) but with makecode it works just fine :)

we removed the qty restriction, pick them up at https://www.adafruit.com/product/3333 we have a couple hundred in stock right now and getting more made in the next few weeks :)

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by pbgemoore on Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:26 pm

Thanks for the response -- if we purchase them now, can we use the same hardware in the future with other languages (CircuitPython and Arduino) once you fix those problems? Or would there need to be changes to the hardware so we would have to purchase new ones if we wanted to use those languages as well?

Thanks!

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:34 pm

its a purely software support. the hardware is 'done' and finalized

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by JonathanDM on Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:42 pm

I am a teacher working on developing some projects for my students using the Circuit Playground Express. I can get light projects and sound projects to run. However, I am trying to run the MakeCode thermometer program listed in the Circuit Express Documentation and can't get it to work. Is the thermistor supported yet or do you have any ideas why it won't work? TIA
Attachments
thermistor.jpeg
thermistor.jpeg (18.4 KiB) Viewed 189 times

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:32 pm

hiya! not sure but i've asked the PXT team here
https://github.com/Microsoft/pxt-adafruit/issues/320

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by Sheamus on Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:49 pm

Hey - so I picked up the playground express for use with high schoolers. I'm really loving makecode, the ability to switch between blockly and JavaScript, the playground express' support for servos etc and all the sensors.
As a teacher I think the sensors and the leds really add an element of excitement and curiosity without too much prep work on my end.

I'm using the playground express as in an intro to programming class and also in a beginners robotics class.

If anyone wants to chat ideas about how to structure assignments and puzzles/challenges with makecode and the playground express, let me know; I've got tons of ideas and would love to hear others'.

I do have a question I'm not sure anyone can answer -- I'm trying to figure out what the pinout voltage/current is for both analog and digital blocks. I thought I would be able to run a vibration motor off of one of the pins, but clearly cannot. also I couldnt get a simple relay to switch using the pins either, so I'm wondering what I need in order to make that work. Any help would be appreciated.

S

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:34 pm

sheamus, big speakers, motors and relays are really powerful, so you cant drive them directly from the pins! :)

check out
http://www.rason.org/Projects/transwit/transwit.htm
(and any other webpage that comes up with a search on "transistor motor" or "transistor relay")

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by wminarik on Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:20 pm

The CPX thermistor still seems to be buggy in MakeCode (14Oct17); code using it works find in the simulator, but is confused on the board itself. I tracked down a Windows 10 machine to try the 'MakeCode for Adafruit' app; there seems to be no substantive added functionality. On MIcrosoft's GItHub Repo for ptx-adafruit, they appeared to assign someone to ladyada's issue (#320) but there's no further activity on it since mid-September.

The thermistor feature works well in CircuitPython 2.0; but it has a very slow response (it's well connected to a hefty thermal mass board), so be patient. The plot below shows a CPX first in ambient air, then placed in a warm chamber for five minutes, before being removed and allowed to cool in air. Even after five minutes, the resistance of the thermistor was still changing.

CircuitPlayground_Thermistor_Response.png
CIrcuit Playground Express thermistor response reported by CircuitPython
CircuitPlayground_Thermistor_Response.png (46.39 KiB) Viewed 71 times

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:54 pm

the thermistor is measureing the temp of the PCB, which has some appreciable thermal mass. an external temperature sensor would give you more instant feedback!

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by wminarik on Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:50 pm

If you make a robust board, it will have thermal inertia, and the laws of physics will be obeyed...
For comparison, here's the the response of the MCP9808 breakout compared with the Circuit Playground Express thermistor.
CPX_Thermistor_MCP9808.png
CPX THermistor MCP9808 comparison
CPX_Thermistor_MCP9808.png (57.58 KiB) Viewed 48 times

After five minutes the CPX thermistor-based temperature is still rising, while the MCP9808 breakout has hit the maximum and started to record slow cooling. The boards have air gaps; if they were in direct contact with a thermal conductor, they'd respond faster. The thermistor hasn't been calibrated -there's a ~3.5 degree offset.

If anyone's interested, here's the setup:
CPX_MCP9808.jpg
CPX_MCP9808.jpg (86.23 KiB) Viewed 48 times
I
I have alligator clips on the CPX side, and header sockets on the other to connect to the MCP9808 breakout (shown without the shrouds on the alligator clips).

Hot things are sometimes difficult in a classroom setting but hot water is usually available in the bathroom. To make my 'thermal chamber' I soaked two ceramic plates in hot water, then dried them off and encapsulated the sensors and Circuit Playground inside. The serial stream of temperatures from CircuitPython is then captured and plotted...
Thermal_Chamber.jpg
Thermal_Chamber.jpg (69.3 KiB) Viewed 48 times

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Re: CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS AND MAKECODE

by adafruit2 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:31 am

that's cool! er, hot!

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.