An open-hardware Python microcontroller for LEGO®

May 14, 2020

Project update 9 of 11

First Batch

by Keith P

Snekboards have arrived! Yesterday, I received a box full of circuit boards with lovely surface mounted parts. Here’s what they look like straight from the assembly facility:

Today, I’ve spent a bit of time getting the firmware ready to load so that the boards can be tested. I’m testing the neopixels and motor controllers to make sure everything works as designed. So far, all of the boards have passed with flying colors (well, colors anyway, the neopixels are bright).

I’m flashing these with version 3.9.0 of the adafruit UF2 bootloader and snek version 1.4.

After flashing and testing, I loaded the through-hole components, including the motor connectors, GPIO header, power switch and battery connector. Finished, snekboards look like this:

I’ve also tested CircuitPython for snekboard version 5.3.0 and it works great; you can easily swap between snek and CircuitPython using the bootloader.

I was hoping to get help from some friends to finish all of the assembly work, but that’s not possible at this point. That means I’ll be doing the work myself, which may take a bit more time than I’d hoped. I’m also waiting for a few final components to arrive, at which point I can finish the cable and sensor kits. Once they’re all ready, I’ll take them over to Crowd Supply and they’ll get them boxed and shipped to everyone.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors; I hope you’ll all have a lot of fun playing with LEGO and Python!

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