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New guy feeling lost
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:18 am

I just purchased a Circuit Playground Express and I'm drowning in a sea of tutorials. I need to find one that starts with "Plug A into B" and continues thru software loading.

To make my situation worse, I connected the CPE to a USB my computer (Windows 10) and I saw that it appeared as a new drive. I opened that drive and saw a .TXT file, but I could not open that file or any of the three (I think) that I saw there.

Somewhere in the process of trying to open one of the files, I pressed the reset button on the CPE without any improvement (perhaps the drive disappeared from Explorer, then reappeared, and the light pattern on the CPE changed, I don't recall the details because when I double-clicked the CPE Reset button my computer speakers emitted a LOUD buzz for about 1 second, THEN THE COMPUTER CRASHED. Not a blue screen, but a total instantaneous black screen power-off. I disconnected the CPE, said every prayer I know, and pressed the power-on button. I was greeted by a warning screen saying something like the computer had shut down in an unexpected manner, and offering to attempt a normal restart or some kind of lifeboat mode. I chose a normal restart, and I'm infinitely relieved that there appears to be no damage to the computer's hardware or software.

Nonetheless, I'm very reluctant to connect this CPE to my computer again until I have a better understanding of the process.

In my search for startup instructions I've found a tutorial that addresses the classic Circuit Playground, but I can see that there are differences for the CPE. One of the tutorials speaks at length about reloading the boot program for Mac, Linux, and Windows, but then goes on to say that it should not be necessary for Windows 10, but here's how you do it. Again, this is for the classic, not for the CPE.

If somebody could ease my concerns about connecting this CPE to my computer again AND point me to a tutorial that starts with Step #0, I'd really appreciate it.

I understand that the CPE can be programmed in multiple languages, and starting with the simplest, I'd like to explore them all. In a prior life I programmed in Fortran (!), Pascal, and "C", as well as Z-80 assembly language, but like I said, that was a prior life. My point is that I don't learn programming concepts, but on the other hand perhaps simplest programming method is the best way to start learning about the CPE.

Nikola1945
 
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Re: New guy feeling lost

by dastels on Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:11 pm

The would be the starting-out tutorial: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-circuit-playground-express.

It sounds like you got into bootloader mode (the CPLAYBOOT drive). That's just the place you can copy new UF2 files (e.g. CircuitPython).

No idea why your computer would crash. Messing up on a USB port will usually just shut down that port.

Yes, the Express board is completely different than the Classic, other than it's round with holes around the edge and a bunch of sensors on it.

You have 3 main options for programming the CircuitPlayground Express: C++ (aka Arduino), CircuitPython, and MakeCode.

Dave

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Re: New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:00 pm

Thank you for the fast response Dave.

The tutorial you provided the link to is the very tutorial that I had seen and that I find so confusing.

That aside, I opened MakeCode and created a simple uf2 file, downloaded it to my computer, and attempted to copy it to the CPLAYBOOT drive. The copy never starts, Windows just sits there until I take the CPE out of bootloader mode.

By the way, I'm still unable to read the txt file on the CPLAYBOOT drive. I can see it, but when I double-click on the txt file nothing happens. If I right-click I get the Windows "wait" icon. The same thing happens with the .HTM file.

It seems that Windows can see the drive and the files IF THE CPE IS IN BOOTLOADER MODE, but Windows cannot read or write to the files on drive. Do I need to be an administrator for this all to work?

Nikola1945
 
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Re: New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:16 pm

(addenda to prior message)

I should note that I did not update any bootloader or driver files before attempting to use MakeCode.

Nikola1945
 
Posts: 6
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Re: New guy feeling lost

by dastels on Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:17 pm

You should be able to copy an appropriate UF2 file to the CPLAYBOOT drive. CPLAYBOOT/INFO_UF2.TXT should be openable though and contain something like:
Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
 Bootloader v1.23.0 SFHR
Model: Trinket M0
Board-ID: SAMD21E18A-Trinket-v0

The INDEX.HTM file should open in a browser and redirect you to the Adafruit.com page for the board.

I don't know anything about Windows, but it seems to sometimes need a driver to work with the boards: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-circuit-playground-express/adafruit2-windows-driver-installation.

Dave

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Re: New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:25 pm

I will try the new Windows driver.

Nikola1945
 
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Re: New guy feeling lost

by dastels on Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:41 pm

Do you have any anti-virus software running? I've heard that can cause problems.

Dave

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Re: New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:14 pm

OK, I installed the new drivers and the results are the same.

I now notice that when I double-click on either the TXT or the HTM file, Windows reports "F: is not responding". F: is the CPE drive.

Please pass this case on to someone who does know about Windows.

Is it possible that I have a defective CPE?

Nikola1945
 
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:25 am

Re: New guy feeling lost

by Nikola1945 on Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:15 pm

Yes, I'm running Kaspersky anti-virus. I'll try disabling it temporarily.

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Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:25 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.