The guys at Oomlout kindly sent me one of their Arduino Starter Kits to have a look at.
As per most starter kits it’s based around the Arduino Uno. The Uno is simplest Arduino to get started with so is the obvious choice for a kit like this. It’s not the most powerful of the range but it has plenty enough space for even quite sophisticated projects.
The kit comes in a big multi-compartment storage box and also has a USB cable, a full sized breadboard and a wide range of electronics components to get started with.
One of the key advantages of the Arduino over other single board computers is the ability to interface with the real world with minimal extra hardware. The kit takes this into account with a load of LEDs, a buzzer, motor, relay and servo. On the input side there are switches, a light sensor and temperature sensor. Arduino clips to the provided project board with some plastic rivets. You don’t even need wire strippers as the kit come with a big selection of premade jumper wires.
The instructions that come with the kit are first class too with a detailed getting started section and a range of experiments you can try out. There is also a introduction to the C programming language used on the Arduino. One thing that I’ve not see before is the breadboard sheets that you can cut out and put over your breadboard. You then simply copy the pictures by placing real wires and components onto the board to match the diagrams. You can download and print out more sheets if yours get lost or worn out from overuse.
The kit does what it claims and is good value for money.
I did not have an immediate use for this kit so I’m sending it off to local code club.