zbit:connect Boards for BBC micro:bit
We’ve been having a bit of a tinker lately with some great little gizmos from zbit. zbit:connect is a range of add on boards for the BBC micro:bit. They allow users to easily interface the BBC micro:bit to other boards, sensors and other electronic components; including the Raspberry Pi.
The zbit:connect boards we’ve been looking at are the zbit:builder, the zbit:toolbelt, and the zbit:PiDapter.
All of these boards require a small amount of simple soldering in order to make use of the boards, so they are great for practicing basic soldering skills.
The zbit:builder board is a small prototyping board that provides a grid of holes for you to build your
own electronics for the micro:bit. The grid consists of a central area of 14×9 holes for soldering components, surrounded by holes that provide access to all of the micro:bit’s GPIO and power rails.
Although we’ve not actually done anything with this board (yet), we can see just how useful this might be for creating simple projects for the micro:bit.
The zbit:toolbelt is another small prototyping type board that provides a 40 pin connector into which you can plug a range of Sensors, LEDs and zbit:toolkit boards.
We used out zbit:toolbelt to construct a simple flashing name badge using the 3 LEDs that came with the toolbelt.
— PiMinister (@PiMinister) May 3, 2017
The zbit:PiDapter enables you to connect the micro:bit’s GPIO to the Raspberry Pi GPIO with the micro:bit plugged directly onto the 40 way GPIO Header of the Raspberry Pi. This allows you to control your Raspberry Pi from the micro:bit; for example by using the buttons, accelerometer or compass of the micro:bit to control a game on the Raspberry Pi.
In order for the Raspberry Pi to access the accelerometer or compass on the micro:bit, it is necessary to enable the I2C interface between the Pi and the micro:bit. This is done by creating a solder bridge between the pairs of solder pads labelled 19 and 20 on the PiDapter, as shown in the image below (solder pads 19 and 20 are between the screw heads to the right of the image).