Circuit Playground Express for Learning Motor Control and Making a Robot

December 16, 2018 by Paul Shepard

This AdaBox008 from Digi-Key Corp. is based around CRICKIT a Creative Robotics and Interactive Creations tool KIT. When paired with motors, servos, a Circuit Playground Express, and your own creativity, you'll be able to craft your very own robot.

This AdaBox is a pretty special one. Having an AdaBox dedicated to robotics (not just a single robot rover like in AdaBox002) is a bit of a change. There are fun projects that you can build 'out of the box' but it can present you with more than just parts and tutorials. This AdaBox is meant to be a source of inspiration.

This ADABOX is based around CRICKIT a Creative Robotics and Interactive Creations tool KIT. When paired with motors, servos, a Circuit Playground Express and your own creativity, you'll be able to craft your very own Robot Friend.

Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit add-on to the popular Circuit Playground Express that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode, or Arduino.

Bolt on your Circuit Playground using the included stand-off bolts and start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output.

It complements & extends the Circuit Playground so you can still use all the goodies on the CPX, but now you have a robotics playground as well.

Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. Because you can program the same board in 3 different ways -- CircuitPython, MakeCode, & Arduino – the Express has great value and re-usability. From beginners to experts, Circuit Playground Express has something for everyone.

Here's just some of what's baked into this board: NeoPixels, motion sensor, temperature sensor, light sensor, sound sensor, speaker, IR transmitter/receiver, buttons, slide switch, and alligator clip friendly pads. It also includes a battery holder and 3 AA batteries.

It includes a tiny 1" diameter speaker cone is the perfect addition to any small audio project where you need an 8 Ω impedance and will be using 0.5W or less of power. The speaker cone is very simple and its metal body is extremely lightweight. Plugs right into the amplified Speaker output terminal blocks on the Crickit!

Perhaps you've been assembling a new robot friend, adding a computer for a brain and other fun personality touches. Now the time has come to let it leave the nest and fly on its own wings– err, wheels. These durable (but affordable!) plastic gearbox motors (also known as 'TT' motors) are an easy, low-cost way to get your projects moving. This is a TT DC Gearbox Motor with a gear ratio of 1:48, and it comes with 2 x 200mm wires with breadboard-friendly 0.1" male connectors. Perfect for plugging into a breadboard or terminal blocks.

The Orange & Clear TT Motor Wheels are equipped with nice, thick silicone treads and press-fit design to make connecting super quick and easy. Make cute robots today with a couple of these orange wheels.

Mechanical transmission for the win, this simple plastic pulley can attach to your TT motor to transmit rotation from the motor axle to...somewhere else. This is a very useful part when you require more than wheels for your robotics project. A belt and pulley solution can be light-weight and very efficient.

This TT Motor Pulley has a slot for fitting onto the DC gearbox motors and even comes with a mounting screw for secure attachment. A belt is not included, you could use a rubber band, twine, yarn or any other strong and flexible material with a 2mm diameter.

These paddle wheels in small, medium, and large are excellent for attaching all sorts of things to your motors, such as popsicle sticks, flailing weighted yarn dangly bits, or ???

Also included is a pair of high-torque standard servo and tiny micro servo can each rotate approximately 180 degrees (90 in each direction). Code them to do your rotational bidding in CircuitPython, MakeCode, or Arduino running on the Circuit Playground Express -- the Crickit board has four dedicated PWM Servo outputs. Plug them in and go!

Instead of slapping on tape or waiting for your hot glue to warm up, you can use these Large Plastic Rivets! So easy to install. Just poke them through the cardboard and fasten with the back piece. This will ensure clean, movable joints and attachments. You can even remove them with some effort (but they'll hold as long as you don't pry them apart)