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Arduino

Arduino Student Kit for Arduino Step by Step Getting Started 

 October 14, 2022

By  Peter

Arduino Step by Step Getting Started is ( IMHO ) the best way for beginners to enter the world of programmable electronics. At the moment I am writing this post, we are finishing the September 2022 update of the course, resulting in an even better course.

A regular suggestion I have received from students is to include a hardware kit with the course, so that they would not need to purchase each component separately.

I was always sceptical of kits for three reasons.

First, I feel that students should be able to locate the hardware they need on the Internet, do the necessary research, compare against similar products, find the best retail source, and purchase.

Second, I have not been able to find a kit that I can recommend that contains high-quality components, covers at least 90% of the experiments in the course, and does not go out of stock within months or weeks of making the selection (never to be produced again). I have been in this situation more than once.

Third, while I could research my local Australian market and North America, I found it very difficult to keep track of suitable kits across different global markets.

So, I left this idea alone until recently. I returned to this problem and found that there are kits that fulfil criteria two and three and that I can feel comfortable recommending to students who may not yet feel comfortable enough to research and purchase individual hardware components.

Kits such as the Arduino Student Kit, DFRobot Beginner Kit for Arduino and SunFounder Starter Kit for Arduino are excellent choices, from reputable vendors, with all the necessary hardware to cover at least 90% of the Arduino Step by Step Getting Started experiments.

The Arduino Student Kit

In this post, I will show you what’s inside the Arduino Student Kit box, highlight any extras (like additional educational content), and mark what’s missing in the context of the course.

If you prefer to watch it, here’s the video.

The kit contains a genuine, latest-generation Arduino Uno, a plastic protective base, and a USB cable.

The kit contains a genuine Arduino Uno R3.

Prototyping tools

Unlike the other kits I have looked at, the Arduino Student Kit also contains a digital multimeter. Although you can get a multimeter on eBay for as little as $10, having one in this kit for beginners is a definite plus. In Arduino Step by Step Getting Started, I have a section on prototyping where I show the student how to use the multimeter to do common measurements, like the voltage, resistance and current, and also check for continuity and LED polarity. All of those are possible with the multimeter that you will find in this kit.

This digital multimeter comes with the Arduino Student Kit.

Apart from the multimeter, the kit contains these prototyping tools:

  • A 9V battery snap, plus a 9V battery.
  • A 400-point breadboard (a.k.a. “mini breadboard”).
  • Solid core jumper wires.
  • Jumper wires.
  • Nuts and bolts.
The prototyping tools in the Arduino Student kit.

Electronics components

Let’s look at the electronic components that come with the kit. Here’s the list:

  • 20 LEDs (5 red, 5 green, 5 yellow & 5 blue). Use these LED to create circuits with visual feedback.
  • Resistors (5 x 560 Ω, 5 x 220 Ω, 1 x 1kΩ, 1 x 10kΩ, 2 x 4.7kΩ). Use these resistors in virtually every circuit.
  • 1 small servo motor (for precision movement).
  • 2 potentiometers 10kΩ (simple variable resistors).
  • 2 knob potentiometers (they attach to the potentiometers in the kit).
  • 2 capacitors 100uF (great for storing energy).
  • 5 pushbuttons that are breadboard-friendly.
  • 1 phototransistor (for detecting light).
  • 1 TMP36 temperature sensor (for temperature measurements).
  • 1 piezo buzzer (for making simple sounds).
The electronic components in the Arduino Student kit.

In the kit, you will also find a very “handy” plastic container where you can keep the small components, as seen in the photograph above.

Other kit perks

The Arduino Student Kit comes with a coupon code that gives you access to educational content on the Arduino Cloud. You will find the code in the kit cover card.

The Arduino Student Kit gives you access to an online course.

The content in the course is an excellent resource for the new Arduino maker, almost as excellent as Arduino Step by Step Getting Started :-]

It contains 10 lessons that cover the basics of electricity and then take the student through several fun projects that gradually teach simple circuits and programming principles.

The Arduino Student Kit online course.

Kit contents and course experiments

The Arduino Student Kit contains many useful hardware components and is an excellent option for Arduino Step by Step Getting Started students who want to reduce the hassle of purchasing individual components.

Nevertheless, this kit does not contain everything. In the list below, you will find what’s missing. You can see the complete list of hardware for Arduino Step by Step Getting Started on the hardware page.

Arduino SBS Getting Started
components
Included in the Arduino Student Kit?
Arduino Uno genuine board
LEDs
Resistors
Potentiometers
Capacitors
Pushbuttons
TMP36 Temperature sensor
Piezo buzzer
UV sensor
RGB color sensor
RGB LED
Photoresistor
DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor
MCP9808 High Accuracy I2C Temperature Sensor
Thermistor temperature sensor
BMP180 or MBP280 environment sensor
ADXL335 accelerometer
Passive Infrared Motion sensor
Ultrasonic distance sensor
Analog sound sensor
2×16 characters LCD screen
2×16 characters LCD screen with I2C backpack adaptor
LCD Shield Kit w/ 16×2 Character Display with buttons
Mini breadboard
Jumper wires
Multimeter

As you can see in the table above, the components you will not find in the Arduino Student kit are typically the more advanced sensors, like the MCP9808, or large in size, like the LCD screen. You can go through the first seven sections of the course using components from the Arduino Student Kit only (with the addition of an RGB LED).

Value versus price

So, should you purchase this kit if you are a beginner in programmable electronics?

My personal opinion is yes (I would not have written this article if I had thought otherwise).

Here are my top three reasons why:

  1. That the value of this kit exceeds its price. At the time I write this, the Arduino Student kit costs US$76.20. With the 20% discount coupon (which you will get once you enrol on Arduino Step by Step Getting Started), the price drops to US$60.96. Consider that an Arduino Uno genuine board costs US$27.60, a cheap digital multimeter is around US$10, and the various components (like the servo motor, potentiometers, LED etc.) would add up to at least another US$30. You also get the Arduino online course.
  2. Arduino-branded hardware is top-quality. Their boards, software tools and libraries just work. Their online courses and educational materials are excellent and set the standard. This kit captures all that in a nice package.
  3. In the context of Arduino Step by Step Getting Started, the components in the kit are sufficient to help you get through approximately the first half of the course. This is the most important half because it is where you learn the foundational knowledge you will need later. While you are learning the basics, it is important that your hardware works. Trivial things like a loose connection in the breadboard or an Arduino header pin can cause much confusion and slow progress. Invest in good hardware, software and learning resources to improve the quality of learning.

In summary, I still believe that if you are interested in electronics as a maker, you will need to develop the confidence to research a wide range of areas, including shopping for electronic components.

However, when you are a beginner, the sheer volume of learning can be overwhelming. If the burden of starting can be eased with a kit, then I’m all for it. And the Arduino Student Kit is an excellent option.

What is your opinion on kits for beginners? Do you have a favourite?


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