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Showing 1-10 of 519 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 536 reviews
on January 9, 2016
Many of the reviews on Amazon seem to be outdated (including some marked as most useful). It appears the manufacturer has made some improvements over time. For example, many reviews said that there was no printed booklet. The kit did in fact have a printed booklet and all parts were as advertised and worked perfectly. There is no longer a CD, which is actually a good thing. The sun founder website is great and has the code easy to copy and paste along with forums to post questions and Sunfounder appears to actively respond to posts. Much better than having to deal with a CD. The instructions are limited to the projects and do not include things like downloading the Arduino software or troubleshooting the Arduino board itself (such as how to manually install drivers if needed). Some reviews seemed upset by this. I don't think it is a big deal since there are many videos online and a simple search on how to set up Arduino gives you tons of info. But you should be aware that it assumes you have set up the Arduino already and know how to set up the software and the Arduino board, as well as how to compile and load a program (all explained on the Arduino website). The extent of my programming knowledge was one class 20 years ago, so I am basically a beginner. I was able to do all of the projects and had a lot of fun figuring out how to modify each of the projects (both the electrical and programming). This is a MUST if you want to learn anything. Just following the pattern and doing a copy and paste on the programming won't get you very far. As stated, this does NOT include the Arduino itself, so make sure you buy one separate.
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on August 7, 2016
Since this seems to be designed to be an introductory product that is designed to be educational and a beginners first foray into the world of electrical engineering and hacking around it is both a good product and somewhat lacking.

I would imagine that if you're the sort of person that wants to buy an Arduino or clone that you'd be the kind of person that doesn't mind trial and error and figuring things out. That's good because you'll need to a little bit with one of these (it's kind of the whole point). For instance, when I plugged my board in and tried to upload my first sketch I couldn't, but with only about 2 minutes on Google I found my problem and was good to go.

So here's my review:

1. The product works as advertised. It is a solid Arduino Mega 2560 clone that does what an Arduino Mega 2560 is supposed to do, and that's cool. It really is cool what it can do, and I find myself sitting around thinking of cool stuff to make it do.

2. The kit has a nice supply of interesting input and outputs. Switches and LEDs and such. However, it's basic toy stuff and just designed to show you how these things work. After only a few days I've exhausted the possibilities and am ready to move on to cooler things that will cost me more money.

3. The tutorial is sorely lacking. It's not really that bad, but there should be a lot more of "why." For instance, Lesson 13 is about the NE555 timer. It shows you how to wire the circuit, gives you the code, and shows you what the desired outcome should be. I dutifully copied it all and got the desired outcome. Yet, I have no idea still exactly what was happening. There's a resistor and 2 capacitors in the circuit - the tutorial doesn't explain why or what they are doing. The tutorial never really explains what the 555 timer chip is doing. It's a really really poor tutorial and you'll not learn a much at all about the 555 chip, electrical engineering, or the Arduino platform from it.

The more basic tutorials were easy to figure out. In fact, I quickly took what was in them and then hacked them to make my own versions. to do my own things. Perhaps they made the tutorials bad so you'd leave the tutorial behind and get to hacking, since that's what it's all for anyway.

The product came with a nice blue storage box, the box could have been slightly larger, but I can't really complain. It also came with a small board that you could mount your Mega to, but I don't think I will. Interestingly, it came with a resister band color code sticker. I already lost the tutorial book because I found the webpage tutorials to be more useful: [...]
Oh, and don't try to take the propeller off of the motor, once it's on it won't come off without breaking, I broke mine on day one. Fortunately I don't care, but a kid might be sad.

All in all I am very happy with this product, and I would have probably bought it again.
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on May 26, 2014
There are some nice little components included in this kit!

***Pros***
1.) Great Jumper cables (you can never have enough of these right?)
2.) love the breadboard. Crucial for any electronics enthusiast
3.) Includes a USB cable, and a good one at that. Those of you familiar with Arduino will know they are notoriously known to hardly ever include a USB cable with the device. So its nice to get one in such an inexpensive kit.
4.) The Dot matrix is great, realistically worth about half of the kit's entire price!
5.) The L293D is included and is a nice chip to have for any part's bin
6.) Nice variety of resistors, transistors, switches, a couple potentiometers, diodes, capacitors, decent number of LEDs, a motor and a few others things.
7.) No electronics workshop is complete without a 555 timer (I actually received 2 of them), an optocoupler and a shift register (2 are indeed included).
8.) Great LCD screen included! Easily an 8 dollar screen.
9.) And now for the Pièce de résistance of the entire set: ***THE ACCELEROMETER!!*** Just plug it in and you're ready to go. Good quality and responsive. Considering that an accelerometer at RadioShack is 38 dollars, the fact that you're able to get this chip for 2 dollars (once you figure out the cost of everything in the kit) is astonishing. It's seriously worth it to buy the kit for this part alone.

***Con***
1.) Just one: There are absolutely no paper instructions included with this kit. There's a parts list, a resistor color chart, and that's it. If you're tech savvy and knowledgeable in the field then this is non-concern. If you're a novice then go to the linked website in the product description. I do electronics as a hobby and am by no means an expert, so believe me, I went to that website more than once (o:

Anyway, if you're thinking of buying this. DO IT! You'll love it!
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on February 9, 2015
I'm very happy with this kit. The quality of the UNO board is very good (I also bought the case to keep it safe and sound). The example projects are pretty straight forward and clear. The include CD has all of the schematics and free viewing application (which is useful as the booklet is in small print).
Note for beginners: The LCD (in the kit I received) required some soldering to attach the pins. Two of the mounting ties that attach the LCD to the board needed to be engaged to get the top row to display.

The accelerometer project was a little confusing so I'm including my function to help others with this project:

void readAccel(){
int x = analogRead(A5);
int y = analogRead(A4);
int z = analogRead(A3);

float mVPerStep = (float)5000 / (float)1024;
float zero_g_value = 1650 / mVPerStep; //ADC is 0~1023 with range of 0V-5V. The range of the ADXL335 is 0V-3.3V. The zero g output is equal to Vs/2 = 1.65V.
float mVPerG = (float)330; //ADXL335 Sensitivity is 330mv/g
float scale = mVPerStep / mVPerG;

Serial.print((((float)x - zero_g_value)) * scale); //print x value on serial monitor
Serial.print("\t");
Serial.print((((float)y - zero_g_value)) * scale); //print y value on serial monitor
Serial.print("\t");
Serial.print((((float)z - zero_g_value)) * scale); //print z value on serial monitor
Serial.print("\n");

Serial.println("");
}
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on March 17, 2016
The included components have more or less been as advertised. Ran into a few of the male-to-female wire connectors that didn't have a proper female end on them, but there are so many provided with the kit that it wasn't an issue. I do like the component case that came with the kit. It has removable dividers so the compartments can be adjusted however you like.

Particularly annoying for me, though, was the guide information and tutorials to practice using the kit. For each project, the manual provides a picture of the setup and a wiring diagram. Unfortunately, the pictures are rather low quality, and there is no table or diagram to confirm which elements are connecting to which pins on this or that. Additionally, some of the components shown in the pictures are not quite the same as what is provided in the kit. For example, the LCD screen is shown in the pictures to have pre-soldered wires on it, while the actual device does not have these wires. It makes the device a little difficult to use because, though it provides holes, they are not the same pinching style as the breadboard, so the wires that are provided cannot easily be secured. Additionally, the tutorial code to be used does not include much in the way of comments of explanation of what's being done. It does have some information, but doesn't seem particularly comprehensive.

The components are great to tinker with, but for being listed as a "starter kit" I feel like there could have maybe been a little more hand-holding.
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on January 12, 2016
I was about to post a low-star review about the "lessons" / "projects" booklet being totally worthless for a beginner -- which it is -- but I'm not sure if that would be fair. After writing it out I decided to attempt working out the first lesson again, and it worked. As the components then do work, instead I am going to make a post explaining why the booklet is not quite suitable for a beginner, and why you shouldn't buy this if you are counting on understanding arduino from the booklet. Photos are attached.

- it comes with two types of jumper wires -- why doesn't it specify which to use in the instructions? Perhaps this is trivial when you know about arduino, but a moderately-priced starter kit should at least add that extra qualifying prefix when it's explicitly targeted as a "beginner starter kit". Or is it a super starter kit because I am expected to be a super beginner (re: not a beginner)?

- The circuit diagram isn't very clear on where to place everything, and the schematic diagram is only mildly helpful. I am a beginner, the target audience of your booklet, I don't intuitively know that the the GND input on the left side of your schematic diagram corresponds to the right hand GND input on the circuit photo-diagram. In fact, I still don't know if it does, I'm just making an inference from why you would have omitted it.

- Does it matter what numbers I place the conductors in? From googling it seems I do, but the circuit diagram doesn't specify where to put what. It's hard to make out what number to place the prongs, and because I am a beginner I have no idea if I'm supposed to just place the pins through the hole or do some other sort of magic with them to get it working.

- Why am I shown two completely different diagrams on page 11 and 12 for the same project? The jumper seems to be at 28, but in the last one it seemed to be on 36 horizontal to the LED. When I put it where it's placed on the other photo, it doesn't even work! Why!? Why do this, for the love of God?

- It doesn't explain how to use the breadboard, it doesn't explain what kind of wires to use when, it doesn't even attempt to explain any of the code, it directs to a webpage that you can only find via google-fu, and it's certainly not adequate for a beginner as advertised. Maybe your product rocks except for this, but this was quite annoying, man.
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on August 18, 2015
Works great as advertised. All components were there and working so far. I can see how pins for some people might be bent as not every component is individually stored. However, most important ICs and components arrived plugged into the breadboard already to prevent them from bending. This board is compatible with Arduino IDE. USB Cable is quite short. Jumper cables work with Raspberry PI as well.

I wanted to knock a star off for the reasons below but as everything is working and I do love the kit overall I don't feel they deserve it. Perhaps they lose a half a star for bad documentation/book writing but it doesn't seem English is their primary language so I really can't hold it against them for trying and expecting everyone to be on their level of knowledge with these components.

The book in this kit is very difficult to use. Badly photocopied means so much unreadable text/indiscernible colors and connections. Rapid elevation of difficulty in the projects with very little documentation as to what is actually going on. You'll feel "connect these 30 wires and load this pre-written software and _____ will happen" often. If you are interested enough to seek out more information on each IC and even the layout of the simple buttons/potentiometer/optocoupler's that they give you, then this may be for you, because they do not even go into what each pin on those mean enough. They give you a very basic grasp of each project allowing you to do it in a short timeframe but much of your time will be spent with this kit searching online for either programming tutorials or basic electronics information (whichever your shortfall is in).
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on December 20, 2014
Its pretty good value for a starter kit. You get a lot of interesting hardware. Many interesting projects. The project manual however is incorrect in many or most cases. You basically have to debug the manual where it fails to give you the correct information. For instance the 7 segment display example will not work as described. Its clearly wrong. One wire out of place on the shift register. Correct that and it works like a champ. But, if you are new to this ... that could be awfully frustrating.

Debugging their failures is actually helpful in understanding what is going on. I found that Adafruit and sparkfun has far more accurate information. Doing it over again I might consider their starter kits as they may have just put a little more thought and effort into the product. What I received hardware was a good value.
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on February 16, 2015
Got everything in perfect condition. The kit even came with a project booklet that explains everything and a CD with the codes, circuit diagrams, and videos of the projects. For beginners its great but watch out on the dot matrix project and make sure you know if you have an anode or cathode display. If you turn it on and its all lit up and nothing happens (This happened to me when I perfectly copied the circuit diagram) switch the power and ground cables plugged into the shift registers.
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on January 12, 2017
This is a great kit for beginners at electronics and/or programming (Sketch SDK). I was looking for a way to get my 9 year old introduced to electronics and programming concepts and this is perfect. The instructions are somewhat brief, so a basic knowledge of electronics and software programming are helpful, but even if you don't Google will be your savior with this kit. I work as a software developer and have electronics training from school and an previous job, so it wasn't too bad of a hurdle.

SunFounder has the lessons online with the exact code for each lesson, so make sure to check out their site and lesson instructions... this will be important as the book provided lacks details and is very small. Also, there is some soldering you will need to perform, so plan to get a fine tip iron if you don't already have one. This would be an awesome school class lab for a semester as it combines component build out and programming. This really gets the imagination running with the potential uses aside from the provided lab lessons; the sky's the limit with the age we are in now.

My 9 year old loves the lessons and is eager to jump to the next one. She still is at an age where the programming and electronics concepts are a bit nebulous, but familiarity breeds comfort. My hope is that as she gets older she won't hesitate to jump into a computer science or electronics class.

A star was reduced for the provided Lesson Manual (small and short on specific details) and the soldering requirement.
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