0

Inexpensive interface to makecode
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Inexpensive interface to makecode

by flounder on Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:16 am

We are moving along in our plans, and it is time to start budgeting. What is a good platform to interface to makecode and CPexp? One friend suggested ChromeBooks, but they weigh in at a few hundred dollars each. A Raspi, with keyboard, and mouse and screen, or a touchscreen, runs almost the same price. The school already has a ton of iPads, but we can’t use desktops without getting the IT people involved, and just getting the serial driver for Windows installed is viewed as a political battle no one wants to fight. The hope is to do a trial project starting in February. Goodwill resells computers, but I think that they are overpriced for what they are; at least $200 each, sometimes $300, and I don’t have time to volunteer support for a random mismatched collection of outdated computers, even if we run Linux on them. I have a friend who already is doing this and it is a nightmare (I help him read Windows crash dumps to try to figure out which driver is taking the machine down].

I am looking for a low-cost, low-TCO [C being primarily my time] solution. We are trying to sneak this into the school system, and so we’re trying to keep the first-deployment cost low, as we will probably seek outside funding. I’m going to donate CPexps, but I’m retired and don’t have as much disposable income as I once had.

We had hoped to do 12-15, but with $300 ChromeBooks we would be pushing the budget limits with 3.

Suggestions from those of you who have experience in doing this would be appreciated.
Joe

flounder
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:10 pm
Location: Pittsburgh PA

Re: Inexpensive interface to makecode

by kcl1s on Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:50 am

The school already has a ton of iPads, but we can’t use desktops without getting the IT people involved, and just getting the serial driver for Windows installed is viewed as a political battle no one wants to fight.

The great thing about MakeCode and CPx is I have not needed to install drivers or software on the school computers. The CPx just shows up as drive, same as a thumb drive does. I volunteer in our school district teaching Scratch for an after school program. I wanted to do Arduino also but got nowhere with the IT department. I was thrilled when MakeCode came along.
You may have a different experience using school desktops but it worked for me.

Fellow hobbyist
Keith

kcl1s
 
Posts: 1116
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:06 pm

Re: Inexpensive interface to makecode

by johnpark on Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 pm

May be worth looking into Chromebox machines, which are like a little Chrome mac mini. Sub $200, but you need to supply monitor, keyboard, mouse.

johnpark
 
Posts: 397
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:15 pm

Re: Inexpensive interface to makecode

by bwoollcombe on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:36 am

Used or refurb Chromebooks? The ease of management is fantastic. I also use random donated computers... some run Ubuntu. All you need is a browser.
The iPads work well with makecode and microbits (though I prefer wired over Bluetooth and iPads annoy me irrationally).

bwoollcombe
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:50 pm

Re: Inexpensive interface to makecode

by Cbuckner6 on Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:54 pm

A good place for refurbished hardware is a website called TechSoup.org. The only problem is that you have to be a non-profit organization.

Cbuckner6
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:47 pm

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.