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NerdKits

NerdKitI noticed an Google Ad Sense advertisement on my site for NerdKits and decided to take a look. I don’t normally click on ads at my own site as that would get me in trouble with Google but the name “NerdKits” compelled me. What a great site this turned out to be.

NerdKits is selling a simple kit to get people started with microcontrollers but they do much more then just sell a simple kit. Their site has several great videos which help explain topics such as the binary number system and even how to make music with microcontrollers. I wish these two MIT engineers all the best I think they are off to a great start.

Posted in Electronics Links, Microcontroller, Review.


11 Responses

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  1. Daniel says

    I believe the correct aim is to either learn electronics or to learn microcontrollers. I dont see the need to learn both at once. If your going to learn electronics, build simple circuits. If your going to learn microcontrollers get a full on featured microcontroller/development board.

    I first learned on something like this:
    http://www.evbplus.com They have Dragon12-Plus’s right now but I learned on a dragon12. Its a full featured Motorola HC12, and its got everything and your mother to try out and learn and its a much friendlier environment, and you dont have to worry about if something is installed right or working.

    I know at 145 for a student, its not near cheap but, its of much better value, you get 10 times more hardware, and the quality is above par.

    Then move on to the other controllers, Intel, Microchip, Atmel, ARM, etc.

  2. Carl says

    Just thought i’d add my opinion on the nerdkit experience, to my own discredit, I didn’t read up on things properly before getting in to this, and up to this point have had trouble getting anything to work thanks to the wonders of windows vista.

    But I don’t accuse nerdkits of being anything less than helpful, and their product anything less than they presented it to be.

    they were quite prompt in helping me fix what problems could be, and even sent me a new LCD when I myself messed it up.

    It turned out vista’s virtual com ports were the problem and I didn’t have the money to down grade to XP, microsoft doesn’t care if they’re putting out a substandard OS you want their older version you’ll have to pay for it, I like the open source idea, but UBUNTU kept failing to write to my cd drive, the disc kept coming up short; I also am not so adept at migrating all my current vista content over to linux. it was a headache. but not nerdkit’s fault, microsoft was the greater culprit.

    I am now getting an older XP machine cleaned up and ready to do the final programming on.

    The reason I chose the Nerdkits experience is I didn’t want it to be easy, I wanted to learn the fundamentals as I went along, their tutorials do a good job of getting you started and then pointing you in the right direction for the information they don’t yet have documented.

    I did try other kits with the same problems but they had no support and their documentation was in thai, I’m a lot more likely to learn what’s actually happing in the code , on the board, from writing the code compiling it, programming the MCU, building the circuits. than some USB / GUI kludge job. I guess it comes down to whether you need others to do the important steps for you; or if given the necessary tools and support you can do it.

    just my experience,

    Carl

  3. dfowler says

    TomP,

    Ouch!

    I like to see sites like this and commend the two young engineers that are trying to make a go at the beginner kit business. I was especially impressed with their videos. I believe that they have a strong chance to succeed at biz and should be watched. They may be the next Parallax. Two smart, young, engineers can change the world LOL.

    I agree with all your points (except that I am doing a disservice LOL). I expect these engineers to learn and develop better options. I bet they read these comments and adapt to the criticism. I will be watching.

  4. Matt Baker says

    $80 is not too bad ! I bought a PicKit2 from MicroChip for UKP 25 then with postage and a handling charge then tax it cost UKP 56 ! That well over 100 bucks and the has a design flaws !

    Is this out fit offering support ? If they that is a hidden cost the advanced user does not need to worry about. BUT if you are an advanced user you have a programmer and some knowledge.

    If this encourages more people to dip their toe in the water then $80 is a small price to pay. (REMEMBER here in the UK everything electronic costs about twice asmuch as in the US !)
    Cheers

    Matt

  5. Brook K says

    I might consider these a little more if there was more available. However, I do agree that $80 is a little steep for what is being offered. I think most of us can scrounge the parts needed and maybe have to buy the microcontroller. If I only have to buy the microcontroller, then there is no way I am going to spend $80 on it.

    I am not even an intermediate yet, I still qualify for “starter” kits, but I think this has priced me out.

    I will look at the arduino starters you have mentioned though. I’ve been reading a lot about them and they seem to be the direction I want to head.

    Thanks for the link though. I love to explore all the electronics links I can find.

    Regards

  6. TomP says

    Didn’t mean to jump down your throat, but you presented this without putting it into any context – since you know Arduino, I don’t see how you can’t mention that project and compare it with what these guys are offering, especially since their kit is limited by being Windows-only and requiring a parallel port to communicate with the uC. Arduino communicates via USB and supports MacOSX and Linux, which is much friendlier. It also comes with a very convenient programming environment, is backed by a large community that has provided plenty of sample projects. Those are important features for the beginner electronics audience that the NerdKits are nominally aimed at, and (I think) not mentioning that does a disservice to your readers.

  7. dfowler says

    TomP and all,

    Everyone knows that I very much favor the Arduino. I beleive these guys have a nice kit though. Maybe it’s a bit too expensive, that would depend on how good the instruciton/workbook is though.

    Even if you dont like their kit, the videos are great for beginning hobbyist.

  8. TomP says

    The frog speaks for me, too. An Arduino is a better place to start if you’re interested in microcontrollers.

    Arduino home page
    http://www.arduino.cc/

    Lady Ada’s Arduino starter pack and tutorial
    http://ladyada.net/learn/arduino/

  9. featheredfrog says

    I considered the nerdkits, but $65 for a starter kit for the arduino from adafruit got my bucks.

  10. dfowler says

    DU,

    I know what you mean. Perhaps I should not be so honest but I really do not click on my own ads for obivous reasons. I should have just copied and pasted the URL or kept my mouth shut.

    I dont think their price is too high for what they give but yes it’s hard to spend $80 for your first kit.

    David

  11. DU says

    I saw these a couple months ago. Pretty awesome, though if the idea is to make it cheap and easy to experiment (with $130 being the OMGTOOMUCH example), $80 isn’t much of an improvement.

    Also, I would caution you against mentioning how you clicked on this. The Powers That Be are known the revoke without warning, explanation or appeal.