Tristan’s been wanting to learn about electronics for a while now, but I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I don’t have a clue when it comes to such things, I’m afraid to say. So the timing was perfect for us to partner up with Creation Crate, a subscription box for anyone who is interested in learning some electronics from the ground up.
I’m going to be honest; a few months back I purchased an electronics kit for Tristan from the internet. However, when it arrived there were some parts but absolutely no instructions, so it’s been sitting on the shelf ever since. Tristan (and I) was so disappointed. This isn’t the case with Creation Crate: everything you need is included – even the instruction book! Yeah!
Tristan didn’t know that a Crate was on the way as I didn’t want to disappoint him again. It arrived soon than expected from overseas (well – we’re overseas, if you’re in North America it won’t take as long).
Tristan was so surprised when he opened it and saw what was inside the first box! All the necessary components to build a mood lamp!
- An instruction book
- UNO R3 (Arduino-compatible)
- Chinese paper lantern
- USB cable
- Regular jumper wires
- U-shaped jumper wires
- Light dependent Resistor
- 3 LEDs
- 2 Stickers
Coincidentally enough, on this day Tristan was wearing a cape Nana had sent to him that was perfect for the project.
Tristan couldn’t wait to get started – he began to put the hardware together, following the diagrams in the instruction booklet (There’s a larger diagram available online if needed).
The next step was to download some free software to the laptop and start entering the code. This was Tristan’s first-ever time using code. The booklet was quite user-friendly as it explained the code as it went. Be sure to type it in exactly: it’s case sensitive and spaces also need to be exact or it won’t work, as Tristan discovered.
There’s a troubleshooting page to refer to if needed, and when you check your coding at the end, if you have made an error, the line will be highlighted and a hint to the error is shown on the bottom of the screen.
We did run into some trouble getting things working, but it turned out that it was linked to the permissions set on Phil’s laptop as when we tried it on mine, it worked just fine. Al three LID lights lit up at intervals. Tristan popped on the Chinese lantern and then it was time to sit back and watch the ‘mood’ change.
There are an additional four exercises at the back of the booklet to stretch the brain. By changing just a line of coding, you can change the way the mood lamp works. Tristan will give you a demonstration: