An ESP32-based BBC Micro:bit clone – Meet Mbits

BBC Micro:bit clone ESP32 Mbits

A few years ago, we noted a BBC Micro:bit clone based on ESP32 WiSoC with Banana Pi ‘s BPI:bit board with an array of 25 RGB LEDs and WiFi & Bluetooth LE connectivity. There’s now another such clone with Elecrow Mbits designed in a way that resembles the BBC Micro:bit v2 board, but replacing the Nordic Semi nRF52833 2.4GHz/BLE SoC with the ESP32 dual-core wireless chip with support for both WiFi and BLE. The specifications between Elecrow Mbits and BBC Micro:bit v2 are close enough, although ESP32 is a more powerful processor, and the MBits board comes with more memory and storage. Power consumption of the BBC Micro:bit v2 should be much better, so if anything needs to run on battery for an extended period of time, it may be a better choice, or you’re gonna need a bigger battery.  The GPIO pinout looks different too, so not all Micro:bit […]

Crowbits Master Kit Review – Part 1: A first look at the ESP32 based education kit

Crowbits Master Kit Review

Crowbits STEM education kits comprised of magnetic modules launched on Kickstarter a couple of weeks ago. There are five kits increasing in difficulty with the Hello Kit just requiring the student to connect modules to get started, i.e. no programming required, to the Crowbits Master Kit based on a battery-powered ESP32 module suitable to create your own phone, portable game console, radar tower, etc… Elecrow sent me the latter for evaluation, and in the first part of the review, I’ll unbox the kit, see how modules mechanically fit together, and have a quick look at the user manual, before trying one or two projects from the manual in the second part. This is the second STEAM product from Elecrow that I review, as I reviewed CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop last year. Let’s open the package. We have a total of six modules with two joysticks, an ESP32 module with […]

Crowbits magnetic blocks for STEM Education work with Arduino, Micro:bit, ESP32, and Raspberry Pi (Crowdfunding)

Crowbits magnetic electronics blocks

Elecrow develops and manufactures electronics products for the maker market, and in recent years entered the STEM education market with products such as CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 education laptop that I reviewed last year. The laptop integrates plenty of electronics modules, and students can learn Scratch visual programming as well as Python programming with the educational software running on the laptop. The company has now launched Crowbits magnetic electronic blocks for STEM education, and compatible with Arduino, ESP32, Raspberry Pi, and Micro:bit boards. There are over 80 programmable electronic magnetic modules and Lego bricks, with three different sizes ( large, middle, and small modules) of different colors with blue used for power control and logic control, green for output, yellow for input, and orange for advanced programming. Out of the 80+ modules, around 30 can be used without programming at all. Elecrow provides 5 kits to let users learn basic […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Education Laptop Review

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi Laptop Review

I started my review of CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Learning Kit a while ago and at the time I showed content from the kit and its first boot. I’ve now spent more time with this very special Raspberry Pi 4 laptop and will focus this review on the education part, namely CrowPi2 software, but will also look at thermal cooling under stress with and without a fan, and try to install another Raspberry Pi compatible board inside the laptop shell. CrowPi2 Education Software It’s quite important to read the user manual before getting started as there are a few non-intuitive steps you may have to take. First I assume the wireless keyboard would just connect after pressing the power button, but it did not. The user manual explains the RF dongle is inside the mouse, and once you connect it you’ll be able to use the keyboard that has some […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Learning Kit Review – Part 1 – Unboxing and First Boot

CrowdPi2 Unboxing Review

Last month, we wrote about Elecrow introducing CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop and electronics learning kit for its launch on Kickstarter crowdfunding website. The company has now sent one of its kits to CNX Software for evaluation and review. I’ll start by checking out the content of the package, and boot it up, before publishing a more detailed review in a few weeks. The package is fairly big and highlights it’s made for kids over 8 years old with close to 100 course resources and over 20 electronics modules. The back of the package list the main features and package contents with for example a 11.6″ Full HD display, Raspberry Pi 4 4GB board running a customized (Linux) system or Retropie for game emulation, electronics components and modules like servos and motors, as well as some resources for gaming including two USB gamepads. The first things we get when opening […]

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop Doubles as Electronics Learning Kit (Crowdfunding)

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 Laptop with Detachable Keyboard

CrowPi portable learning kit for Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Pi Zero boards was launched in 2018. It comes with a 7″ display, several sensors, buttons, a breadboard, and more all packed in a small suitcase. Elecrow has now started a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the second generation portable electronics learning kit: CrowPi2 which looks much more like a laptop than a suitcase found in the first model thanks to a large display, and a detachable keyboard placed on top of the electronic prototyping/learning area. It’s also more powerful thanks to the latest Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. CrowPi2 specifications: Compatible Raspberry Pi boards – Raspberry Pi 3B/B+, Raspberry Pi 4 Display – 11.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS screen Camera – 2MP camera Audio – Built-in microphone and stereo speaker; 3.5mm audio jack Keyboard – 2.4GHz detachable wireless keyboard (QWERTY only) with touchpad Sensors and Modules under the keyboard: Displays […]