Getting Started with BeagleBone Black

So many development boards out there. What’s this “new” one, the BeagleBone Black? Well, as David Scheltema, Assistant Technical Editor for MAKE explains, BeagleBoard has been around for about five years, though the smaller BeagleBone Black is pretty new.

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At Maker Faire NYC, David provided an nice introduction to the BeagleBone Black, and explained how it has been used to make projects like OpenROV’s underwater rover or Hoboken Makerbar’s Orbital Rendersphere.

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For about $45, you get a single board 1GHz computer capable of running a Linux distribution. The BeagleBone Black has USB, Ethernet and video (HDMI) interfaces, and header pins for expansion. Expansion boards are called “capes”, and include all sorts of functionality for video, memory, sensors and controls.

(David presented this talk a few times during Maker Faire weekend. I selected the version of the video I felt best represented his content.)


Getting Started with Breadboarding

Using a solderless breadboard is an important skill for hobby electronics. Nick Raymond explained the ins and outs of breadboards and how to use them at several sessions at Maker Faire NYC.

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“What’s the point of breadboarding?” people ask. As Nick explains, even if you’ve learned to solder, it’s easy to make a mistake. Breadboarding lets you work out the bugs while you are developing your circuit.

Nick speaks from experience. Four years ago, his mechanical engineering background didn’t prepare him for working with electronics. Since joining MAKE, he’s had to learn. He assembled his own CNC machine, along with an electronics kit necessary to control the motors.

“Breadboarding is essential for me,” says Nick.

In this presentation, Nick explores common questions about breadboarding:

  • Why use a breadboard at all?
  • How does it work?
  • What types of breadboards should I use for my project?
  • Why won’t my circuit work?
  • What do I do next?

Breadboards aren’t very expensive, and they’ll save you time and avoid frustration in the long run. So check it out, and get yourself started on a basic skill that will serve you well for years to come.

(Nick presented this talk a few times during Maker Faire weekend. I selected the version of the video I felt best represented his content.)


Getting Started with Raspberry Pi

Craving some Raspberry Pi, but don’t know where to start? Let Matt Richardson, MAKE Contributing Editor, ITP Resident Research Fellow and co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi help you get started.

At Maker Faire NYC, Matt explained to an interested crowd what a Raspberry Pi is and what you need to get started. He describes one of his own projects, a bicycle headlight that projects speed or other information onto the road ahead of the rider. That’s just one of many ideas people have used the Raspberry Pi for.

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An inexpensive single board computer, the Raspberry Pi includes integrated USB ports, Ethernet for getting online, video outputs, and input/output pins for interacting with your project. Retailing for less than $40, the Raspberry Pi lets you tinker with a computer without risking a more expensive computer or laptop.

(This is one of four times Matt presented this talk during Maker Faire weekend, thus ‘Raspberry Pi III’ on the video title. I felt this version of the video captured his content best.)