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10 June 2022

Datalogging with the micro:bit - stuff to plug in and connect

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Stuart Ball | Chief Content Editor - Computing at School

These posts have looked at using a micro:bit straight out of the box as a data-logger, and if that is all you have in your class then you have a perfectly adequate device to deliver data-logging across the curriculum. I am hoping that the learning achieved by doing this will persuade your SLT to release some budget. After all, this is science, maths, and computing, your in effect saving them money.

(the recommendations made in this post are my own personal ones and are not those of CAS or the BCS)

All of these accessories can be used in conjunction with the functionality previously mentioned in these posts, such as remote logging with V2, real-time logging and radio connectivity making the micro:bit a powerful data logging tool.

Whilst the sensors on the micro:bit work really well, connecting an additional sensor board adds greater functionality. 

Monks Makes has some great add-on boards and books for the micro:bit . The MonkMakes Sensor Board for micro:bit can be used to measure sound levels (which is great if you only have V1s), temperature and light.

Pimoroni make the enviro:bit! It's loaded with sensors for air and weather, colour, which is something I have not seen in sensors before, light, and sound.

This post showed we can get a visual represention of the data on the LEDs and on a computer through the USB connection. Adding a screen to the micro:bit is easy and cheap to do and they really add another dimension to the data collection for pupils.

Kitronik makes two great the screen add-ons , the Kitronik :VIEW Graphics128 OLED display, here I am using the display with micro:bit V2 (this screen only works with a V2). The sound data is being plotted on the screen. It is also being visualised on the LEDs , recorded and saved in a file, and has the ability to send the data to a computer for plotting. It has elements from each of the previous blogs combined.

The :VIEW Text32 is a character LCD shows 32 characters (2 lines of 16 characters). The :VIEW Text32 like the OLED board also breaks out the BBC micro:bit pins. This means you can additional sensor boards as well. In my example, I have the Pimoroni Environ:bit connected and the screen displaying the information provided by data from these sensors.

The Kitronik Air Quality Board provides a complete air monitoring and display solution for the BBC micro:bit. It adds a range of sensors that measure temperature, pressure, humidity, air quality index, and eCO2. I recently used this with a Teacher colleague to monitor the air quality of their classroom during the pandemic restrictions. It also provides an OLED screen that will work with V1 micro:bits

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Finally, not an add-on as such but a great book from Simon Monk - 'Micro:bit for mad scientists' has a load of ideas and information on how to use the micro:bit sensors in science. It's well worth getting a copy.

If you have any suggestions for great micro:bit add-ons please share in the online discussion.

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