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MicroPython Hardware

00:00 MicroPython Hardware. If you’re now interested in giving MicroPython a try, then that’s great news. You need some compatible hardware to install MicroPython onto. Fortunately, there are many options ranging from affordable to premium products.

00:17 There’s something for every wallet and use case, so take some time to choose the solution that’s right for you.

00:24 First up, built for Python. The Kickstarter that kicked off MicroPython also launched associated hardware. The MicroPython Pyboard is now up to version 1.1 and is one of the most well-specified boards.

00:37 It’s based on the STM32 and has lots of General Purpose Input/Output pins. There’s also an SD slot, an accelerometer, and a Real Time Clock, and the system runs at up to 168 megahertz.

00:52 If you can find it in stock, then it will cost you around $40 USD, or your local equivalent. The Lite version of the board is shown here and has a lower-power microcontroller and no accelerometer, but is a cheaper way into the platform.

01:08 Next, the ESP family. Espressif’s ESP family has the older ESP8266, and the newer big brother, the ESP32. These chips have been taken on board by many manufacturers, and there is an enormous range of development boards available using them.

01:26 They can be programmed in multiple languages, including MicroPython. ESP8266 boards only have one analog input, and there aren’t as many pins as the Pyboard. However, they do have WiFi capability.

01:40 You can find them in breadboard-friendly boards for $10 or less.

01:45 The ESP32 is a newer member of the ESP family, increasing power and capabilities. It adds Bluetooth to the feature set for only a small additional cost. The M5Stack family comprises of a range of boards with different features and price points, such as the M5StickC, which is pictured here, and that you’ll see in action later on.

02:06 It comes complete with a small battery onboard, allowing independent use for a short time. The top of the range M5Stack comes complete with a peizo speaker, a battery, a card reader, and a larger color screen.

02:20 The BBC Micro:Bit is a compact board based around a Nordic microcontroller. It has built-in Bluetooth LE and temperature sensing, an accelerometer, a compass, a couple of action buttons, and a 5x5 LED grid.

02:35 If you’re in the UK, then you might already have one of these boards. They were distributed to school children in the hopes of inspiring a new generation of coders.

02:44 Lots of boards inspired by the Micro:Bit are beginning to appear, so it’s bound to increase in popularity!

02:51 Adafruit and CircuitPython-Powered Boards. Soon after MicroPython started picking up the pace, Adafruit produced a fork that they call CircuitPython. However, there are a few main differences between the two.

03:05 One is that CircuitPython offers support for the Adafruit range of hardware. Another difference is the fact that most Adafruit implementations feature the board appearing as a USB-connected drive. In these cases, adding your code is as simple as dragging it to the disk.

03:21 The most feature-rich board of the Adafruit premium line-up is the CircuitPlayground Express, with an optional Crickit add-on. When you combine these two boards, you will have pins, sensors, motor drivers, RGB LEDs, and more.

03:35 If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, then this is definitely one to check out. Unfortunately, Adafruit has dropped compatibility with the ESP8266, even for their own Feather board. Instead, they’ve chosen to go with the ESP32 purely as a WiFi co-processor in future releases.

03:55 Coming up next, you’ll see the different methods of interacting with the hardware you’ve just been introduced to.

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