The SparkFun gator:bit v2.0 is an all-in-one “carrier” board for your micro:bit that provides you with a fully functional development and prototyping platform. Almost every pin on the micro:bit is broken out to pads that alligator (or crocodile, if you prefer) clips connect to so you can get the most out of it! Whether it is data visualization using the five on-board addressable LEDs or creating musical works of art using the built-in speaker, we’ve got it covered with the with the SparkFun gator:bit!
The major benefit of gator:bit that we have provided is safe access to as many GPIO as possible from the micro:bit. Not only are pins 0, 1, 2, 8, 16, 5 (Button A), and 11 (Button B) broken out, but they are also protected against over voltage and over current/short circuit. Pins 0, 1, and 2 are ADC pins; while pins 8, 16, 5, and 11 are digital pins capable of read and write. Additionally, pins 13 (SPI), 14(SPI), 15(SPI), 19 (I2C), and 20 (I2C) can be used to read and write whatever digital signals you could want. We go into much more detail about each pin and other attributes (like supplying voltage out, light, and sound) in the SparkFun gator:bit Guide found below. Make sure to check that out!
Each SparkFun gator:bit can be powered from 2.7V - 9V giving you quite a range of powering options. There are three ways of powering your gator:bit, from the barrel jack, through the alligator clip pads labeled “VIN,” or through the micro:bit. Any voltage input between 2.7V and 9V will be regulated to 3.3V to power the micro:bit, the speaker, and for use by any of the alligator clip pins.
Even without any external hardware, the gator:bit is still an exploratory development board for micro:bit allowing the easiest access to it for educators, beginners, and pro-makers alike.
The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that lets you get creative with digital technology. Between the micro:bit and our shield-like bit boards you can do almost anything while coding, customizing and controlling your micro:bit from almost anywhere! You can use your micro:bit for all sorts of unique creations, from robots to musical instruments and more. At half the size of a credit card, this versatile board has vast potential!
Note: The SparkFun gator:bit does NOT include a micro:bit board. The micro:bit will need to be purchased separately.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
I bought this to power a simple thermometer I made from the Gator:bit temperature probe and the Microbit. Unfortunately, when I powered it up using the this carrier board the temperature read 11 degrees too high. I double check, and yes I was using the 3.3 V output to power the temperature probe. In the end, I powered the Microbit with the battery pack and collected accurate data.
We ordered a set of Gator:bits to use in our high school physics classroom. We used these once in our class but I needed to order 3 more to have enough for all groups. Of the three “new boards” that arrived, all three had parts that had already come off, in their baggies. The three boards had only been supported in the box by a piece of butcher paper, so it’s possible they did a lot of sliding on their route from Niwot to Broomfield, but I actually think they had some crappy solder or attachment to begin with. As soon as I saw that the three new boards were broken, I contacted customer service. They immediately sent replacements. After checking these, the replacement boards seem to be ok. Unfortunately, after discovering the issue with the “new” boards, I then went back to check our “original” boards and discovered that, after just a single use, one of them was already missing a microphone. My students had not been treating these roughly (in fact, they had been extra careful with them because they were nervous), so I’m inclined to think this may have come off in the bag, but the students may not have realized it when they were opening the packaging. It is pretty disappointing to spend the money for a class set and then have this many issues—and have broken equipment from the start. I generally expect SparkFun products to be pretty great quality and durable enough to be used with students, but these definitely do not meet my expectations.