I was lucky enough to meet Alan O’Donohoe, the TeknoTeacher, this weekend at a Code Club Pro training event (more on that in another post!). A nicer chap you couldn’t hope to meet. Alan is a leading light behind the Raspberry Jam movement and encouraging computing science in schools. And as a bonus he gave me this really cool little present. It’s a little circuit board that drops over the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi and gives you some LEDs you can turn on and off without any fuss or soldering. Super neat stuff that I’ll try and use in my Code Clubs next term.
I don’t know if these boards are available any more but if you’ve got a hankering to control some physical devices with your Pi and you don’t want to go mad with soldering and bread boards there are some good cheap options out there so I thought I’d highlight a couple.
First up is the delightfully simple PiGlow by Pimoroni. It fits right over the GPIO pins of a Pi model A or B (not B+) and has a spiral of LEDs that can be made to light up in very pretty patterns using Python or Scratch, Node.js, Perl and Golang. The PiGlow is £9 and available from Pimoroni.
An even cheaper option, though not quite so pretty is the Ciseco Pi-LITEr at only £3. It’s got 8 white LEDs in a line and is also available in the Pimoroni store. Or for the daddy of them all at £25 check out the Ciseco Pi-Lite. This is the big daddy of the Pi-LITEr and it has a 14 x 9 grid of LEDs perfect for scrolling messages or making patterns.
If you fancy doing a little more than just LEDs then you might want to consider a Pibrella which is £10 but is currently out of stock. It has 3 LEDs but it’s also got a buzzer, a button and connectors you can use to drive motors, relays or solenoids. Looks like a superbly flexible option and as soon as they’re in stock I’ll be ordering one!