Workshops/Arduino for beginners/Planning

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28th/29th of August


Jobs for Volunteers

A description of tasks that need to be done, and who will do them.

Task Volunteer
Lead workshop b3cft
Helping install the Arduino IDE, for Windows artag
Helping install the Arduino IDE, for Mac
Helping install the Arduino IDE, for Linux artag Solexious
Assisting users with non-working projects artag Solexious
Drawing up equipment purchase list Solexious
Planning Workshop tasks
Preparing kits / boards etc. artag

Who for ?

Who would attend these workshops, and therefore who are they aimed at ?

  • nontechnical people who think it's a general computer course
  • computer people with a desire to make hardware do something
  • makers/artists who want to add electronics to their interactive exhibit
  • musicians who want to make custom input devices for MAX/MSP etc.
  • ..

(these are suggestions of groups with differing requirements, I don't know what the correct answer is.)

Thoughts on a Lesson Overview

  • Start with a general overview of hacking with respect to art, home automation, circuit bending, etc, presented as a short lecture to introduce the arduino and similar
  • Go into a setup for people with helpers wandering around making sure the software is installed correctly (java and all that)
  • Pull up some more slides with setup for the basic programs; maybe go with the simple blinking light example
  • coffee break
  • Move into a more complicated example using output only
  • lunch
  • Lecture on basic electronic theory such as V=IR and similar. introduce buttons and other inputs
  • Go through an input example - e.g press a button to turn on or off a set of LEDS
  • Modify this example with perhaps a buzzer instead.
  • Mention briefly, processing and how to use a POT to create a nice interactive graph (this was the demo Tinker used)
  • Indication of how to extend arduino - optional shields, connecting relays, rs232 etc.
  • Once that demo is complete, depending on time, finish with a short lecture on where to get equipment, suppliers, advanced topics and cool things that have been made with Arduino.
  • Sell London Hackspace branded kits

How many?

10 places

How much?

  • How much will it cost per attendee for equipment, plus how much profit we would like?
  • How much will it cost for the parts / equipment?
  • thus, how much shall we charge?
    • I suggest £40-50 is a reasonable amount for an all day workshop -- Ciarán
      • 2 day workshops (first day for learning, second for making your own project with assistance) are around the £110 mark, not saying we should charge this much, but at £40-50 minus costs for parts is a bit low on profit for the spaces funds --Solexious
      • for previous beginner arduino courses in london see: [1] £140 with kit provided, or: [2] £65 with no kit included --Solexious

Kit to go with workshop

  • I feel a kit that is given to attendees with the workshop would be fab. I tried to beat the cost of EarthshineElectronics starter kit, but have been unable to, this is even at the regular price, rather than contacting for "Special rates for colleges, schools, universities and training centres." Can anyone do better?
    • That's a good price, but it's a VERY good kit. We could perhaps spend less and still provide a reasonable selection. Alternatively, bulk-buy from Earthshine. Note that to get a good selection of cheap parts we'll need to buy from ebay/china - so allow a couple of weeks for delivery, which is too long for the suggested date.
    • I would be put off if the kit cost a minimum of £40! A smaller kit would be preferable, do you think that Earthshine Electronics (or an alternative company) would put together a smaller kit? Seems that Earthshine sell just the Arduino for £16, If we could get the kit under £30, then charge £40-50 for an all day workshop. I think we could be in with a winner.
      • When talking to attendees of previous arduino workshops one thing that keeps coming up is that the kit they were given had lots of things to try out at at home, rather than just what they needed for the workshop, so i'm hesitant to lower the part count on the kit --Solexious
      • That will depend on the target market though - at Dorkbot, the attendees have been art/design students who want to solve a specific problem, and don't necessarily want to just experiment. They'd really prefer some help building a custom interface and a mixed bag is only ever going to be part-used --Artag 16:10, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
        • Do you think this would be the target market for this workshop? I could see this being well worth a separate event, rather than a basic course...--Solexious
  • There is an arduino clone developed by our Robotics Society which is incredibly cheap and easy to make. More info on our wiki. --Harry 18:26, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Is it worth buying equipment for more than one workshop, and have another similar workshop planned for 3 months time?
    • With courses with 20 places selling out I think we could run this monthly with 10 places each time (initially), bulk buying would depend on if we have the cash to do this, and if that would reduce the cost for kits significantly to justify the risk of over stock... --Solexious 12:33, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

-- 13:32, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Rather than offering a bag of bits, how about a shield with some bits already built on ? We could use stuff we've already got (e.g. I can donate some buttons, pots, light sensors, power transistors etc .. anything I've got a dozen of!) and it makes it more attractive to newbies who have no clue what to do with a bag of resistors.
    • Suggest what should be on such a board and I'll dig in and see what I've got ! --Artag 16:11, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
    • This would turn me off if I was learning for the first time, would using a shield limit the possible uses for my kit? (or at least give the impression it would?) --Solexious 18:05, 26 July 2010 (UTC)