SparkFun Tinker Kit

The SparkFun Tinker Kit (STK) is a great way to get started with programming and hardware interaction with the Arduino programming language. The STK is our newest version of the former SparkFun Mini Inventor's Kit, blended with elements of our educator MESA kit. Each SparkFun Tinker Kit includes everything you need to complete 11 circuits that will teach you how to blink an LED, read sensors, drive servos, and more. You don't need any previous programming or electronics experience to use this kit.

The online STK Experiment Guide (in the Documents section below) contains step-by-step instructions of how to connect each circuit with the included parts. Full example code is provided and explained, and even includes troubleshooting tips in case something goes wrong.

The kit does not require any soldering and is recommended for beginners ages 10 and up. This miniature version of the SIK will help prove that anyone can (and should) play around with cutting-edge electronics in a fun and playful way while not breaking the bank.

  • Circuit 1: Blinking an LED
  • Circuit 2: Reading a Potentiometer
  • Circuit 3: Driving an RGB LED
  • Circuit 4: Driving Multiple LEDs
  • Circuit 5: Reading a Button Press
  • Circuit 6: Reading a Photoresistor
  • Circuit 7: Reading a Temperature Sensor
  • Circuit 8: Using a Servo Motor
  • Circuit 9: Driving a Motor with an H-Bridge
  • Circuit 10: Controlling a Motor with Inputs
  • Circuit 11: Reading Serial Data

SparkFun Tinker Kit Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Robotics

This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.

1 Robotics

Skill Level: Noob - You will be required to put together a robotics kit. Necessary parts are included and steps will be easy to follow. You also might encounter basic robotics components like bearings, mounts, or other hardware and need a general idea of how it goes together.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Programming

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.

2 Programming

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.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

2 Electrical Prototyping

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.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5

Based on 17 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

2 of 2 found this helpful:

Gateway drug to the arduino world.

First i bought this kit, tinkered for a while. the projects helped me get familiar with arduino, and the basics of programming. after a while it became less and less difficult to complete projects with the provided materials, so i had to come up with new projects to get that same enjoyment... well a few weeks later my workbench is covered in parts, my solder spool is running low, and im dreaming of project ideas.

Its good.

Fun but hard to tell what plugs into what

I had fun but had a hard time telling what plugged into what from the diagram. Even making it larger. Might be a good idea on the temperature on to make sure people know which way is correct. I had it backwards. I still have a blister from a week ago. At the bottom for troubleshooting it does tell you that if it gets hot, pull wires, etc. Too late for me. Still loved getting everything working.

Quite a fun toy.

Had to remove the old file to insert the new one. Then it was a question as to which port which turned out to be 7. These are a lot simpler and more reliable than the wire spring clip boards.

Great introduction to Arduino

Spark fun provided an excellent kit for introductory Addition devices. Their website has lots of tutorials and links to other websites. Great experience!

Excellent for Introducing Kids to Programming

I wanted to introduce my kids to programming and this is perfect and far more effective than anything. Having a physical manifestation of code (e.g. blinking LED, starting engine, pushing buttons) has enough critical mass to make my kids stay glued to it for hours trying all kinds of fun stuff. Worths every cent ! I'll get one for myself because it is fun for geek dads too :).

Make that best computer thing and here's why. It gives an introduction to reading code which is what ties everything in computers together. Even the differences with Arduino are interesting problems.

I like to build everything. Susan, age 5

Susan and I build circuits together and she has a lot of fun. Good learning kit for electronics. The blend of hardware and software is great.

Just getting into this with students and

so far so good! I think these will be the start of many great inventions!

Great product for beginners

Contains enough components to start learning and playing with. It could maybe have been better with other common stuffs like transistors and condensators, but still worth it.

Fun Stuff

Spark Fun

All your stuff is GOOD. Your RedBoard is a Perfect place to start any ideas for the Arduino Uno. The Leds and your Jumper wires are so beautiful as to start creating new ideas with anyone. You and everyone else needs to really have beginner stuff about basic electronics and programming on the mini-Bread Boards. I live on my little mini-Bread Boards. I can write a bunch of stuff like that.

I got your Maker Shield kit for your RedBoard because when I got the Make starter Arduino kit, it came with one. I live on those to. The Maker Shield has an Led, Button and a 5k pot brought out onto a female header on the back of the shield. This is more than enough parts to do the first chapter in the “Getting Started with Arduino” book. Then it gets too advanced with no more basics.

I also saw one of the classic mistakes in hooking up Leds on your shield. Ground is connected to Resistors connected Cathode of the Leds. The Led Anode is connected to the jumper wire connection. ALL of the current goes through the Led NOT the resistors. I have seen this on many kits, articles and videos. And, most people do not like to be corrected. I like your stuff. I took out the resistors, cut the traces and installed 470 resistors to the board. I also connected the Led Cathodes to Ground. I also added a 220 resistor to the 10k and then to the port for the user button. Make did not have this either. I burned out my Uno with an Unprotected button. That cost me 3 weeks to get a new Arduino Uno 28 pin with the boot-loader installed in it. Not fun.

Steve a West Hollywood Geek

Just what the doctor ordered!

I did all the lessons in the tutorial--great intro to the RedBoard and its possibilities. I added a DTMF decoder shield for my project, looking forward to learning more and more. (and buying more and more!) --DS, retired dentist, obsessed tinkerer.

Great educational tool

I bought a set of 12 of these for my school and using the student's computers and the lessons already on the website we have moving robots. The students have been really engaged and although they found it challenging they get really excited when their programs work

Great gift

These kits are a gift for my nephew. I like how they are packaged and I'm sure he'll have a great time using them!

Great concept and the tutorials are excellent

Most of the components worked perfectly and the experiment guide was informative, easy to follow, and really helpful in getting started with Arduino, circuits, etc. Having a variety of different parts was great for getting a better idea of some of the many things possible with an Arduino, too.

The one frustrating thing was that the leads on the resistors are too small in diameter for the included breadboard. I had to bend the wires in half to get them to connect properly. Considering the breadboard and resistors are sold as a package that was a bit irritating, hence 4 stars instead of 5.

Love Tinkering

One of the best projects kits I've ever owned. Thorough and it WORKS! I'm into experiment #3 and headed to #4. Cant wait till we get to the motors.

Great starting kit

Haven't used everything but what I have used works well. It was very easy to get started. Got the first circuit running pretty quickly. Great price too!