Getting Started with CrowBot BOLT smart robot car

Elecrow CrowBot BOLT & Game Controller Assembled

CrowBot BOLT is a smart robot car based on an ESP32 wireless microcontroller and designed for the education market with the ability to program the robot with visual programming, Arduino, or MicroPython. Elecrow sent me a sample of the CrowBot BOLT kit for evaluation so I’ll have a look at the hardware, show how to assemble it, showcase the features of the built-in firmware, and demonstrate how to program the robot with visual programming, Arduino, and MicroPython using some of the provided code samples. CrowBot BOLT unboxing The package lists some of the highlights with 16 teaching courses, support for multiple programming platforms, scalability with Grove connectors, and the inclusion of the Joystick that’s also programmable. The CrowBot BOLT comes as a kit so there will need to be some work to do to assemble the robot, but no soldering is required (in normal cases, more on that later). The […]

CrowPi L Review – Part 2: Learn programming and electronics with a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop

CrowPi L review learn programming electronics

In the first part of our review of CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop for education, we checked the hardware and accessories such as the CrowTail starter kit with various sensors and other electronics modules, and showed how to install or remove the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC from the laptop shell. I’ve now had more time to play with the educational software, so I’ll report my experience with the laptop when learning game design and hardware control with Letscode visual programming IDE, as well as the Python lessons for more advanced students. Reinstalling CrowPi OS image It’s the rainy season here in Thailand meaning it’s both hot and humid, and even though I’m not entirely sure it’s related, I recently had to reinstall Raspberry Pi OS on one of my Raspberry Pi with a corrupted SD card. It happened again with the CrowPi L after I left it in its […]

CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop review – Part 1: Unboxing and teardown

CrowPi L Raspberry Pi Education Laptop Review

Elecrow CrowPi L is an 11.6-inch laptop shell based on Raspberry Pi 4 designed for STEM education with optional electronics modules and tutorials. That’s an evolution of the CrowPi 2 laptop I reviewed in 2020 with a thinner design and more flexible since the electronics modules are optional, so it can serve the market of people just wanting a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop. The company has sent me a full “CrowPi L Advanced Kit” for review with the CrowPi L laptop fitted with a Raspberry Pi 4, as well as the Crowtail Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi. CrowPi L Advanced Kit Unboxing Let’s check out the laptop package first. Since in this design, the laptop comes with a battery, and mine already had a Raspberry Pi 4 installed, I could just turn it on immediately. Accessories include a wireless mouse, a 12V/2A power supply (with USB Type-C plug… this should […]

CrowPi L is a $200 laptop shell for Raspberry Pi 4

CrowPi L Laptop Shell Raspberry Pi 4

Two years ago, we reviewed CrowPi 2 Raspberry Pi 4 laptop designed for STEM education with embedded electronics modules and Letscode software with step-by-step tutorials to learn Scratch and Python programming. I found it quite good, but many people were mostly interested in having a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop, and the price tag was a bit high at the time. That’s probably why Elecrow has now designed for CrowPi L laptop shell for Raspberry Pi 4 based on the CrowPi 2 but without all the electronics modules, and with a built-in battery to operate more like an actual laptop. CrowPi L laptop shell specifications: Compatible SBC’s – Raspberry Pi 4 Model B only Storage – Full-size SD card slot Display – 11.6-inch 1366×768 IPS screen (CrowPi 2 was 1920×1080) Video Output – HDMI output for external monitor Camera – 2MP camera Audio – Built-in microphone and stereo speaker; 3.5mm audio […]

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 […]