Playing with 4Tronix's Micro:bit Playground

As much as I like the simplicity and flexibility of Crocodile Clips connecting components to a Micro:Bit, it can get a bit of a rat's nest of wires (especially if you are as messy as I am!). 4Tronix's have released their Micro:Bit PlayGround ( is a board that has 3.5mm jack plugs to connect to a range of Gizmos (their phrase not mine) to which the Micro:Bit is screwed into. The battery pack is integrated onto the board on its back (see image below)

The Micro:Bit screws into the PlayGround via five screws which also for the connection between the PlayGround and the 'bit'. 

Below via the three cables connecting 3.5mm plugs, I have attached a 'Dial' (a potentiometer ) and two Flames (neopixels) to change the LED/neopixel's colours by rotating the Dial. Pin 0 has the 'Dial' attached and Pin 1 has the two Flames (neopixels) attached the out from the first goes in as input of the second via one the cables. 

Essentially vary the 'Dial' varies the R,G,B values going to the two Flames/neopixels and so varying their colours. The code used is shown below.

from microbit import *
import neopixel

# Setup the Neopixel strip on pin0 with a length of 2 pixels

np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin1, 2)

while True:

    np[0] = (255, s1, 255-s1)
    np[1] = (s1,255, 255-s1)

Video of it in action

I like the idea that the cable doing both the power and control for the Gizmos, it does simplify building a little, more importantly it does produce less clutter (not so many wires). The whole unit with the batteries installed is a little weighty but that does give it at the same a sense of sturdiness which is a positive feature for just playing around  - you wouldn't use it for wearables. Not using croc clips also avoids issues with the clips slipping off with rough handling. 

Nice little arrangement which I am enjoying playing - is for everyone? Probably not, but does provide a sturdy system to experiment with some standardised units.

Related Links
Micro:Bit Playground - Starter Kit
Traffic lights - Microbit, GlowBugs and micropython

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

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