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Ultra Low Cost Electronics Kit

A $10 Wi-Fi kit for getting started in electronics

Great for workshops or classrooms!

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The Ultra Low Cost Electronics Kit is a small kit that you can put together yourself or for others to get started in learning electronics. The total cost of assembling one kit is $10 with shipping.

The kit is project-based and teaches the basics to hardware, electronics, programming, and Arduino as you assemble the parts to make a functioning night-light. You can also go further to have it connect to the internet to obtain the time and weather. This kit is easily extensible and fully compatible with the Arduino environment.

The landing page is at www.ulcek.com

Who is this for? Educators, students, anyone who is looking to get started in electronics.

Currently available at Tindie for $14.95!

https://www.tindie.com/products/ulcek/ultra-low-cost-electronics-kit/

Do note that it costs $10 to build one kit yourself. The pr

I remember the first time opening my electronics starter kit to find that it was just a collection of parts with no specific aim.

I put it away after thirty minutes of blinking some LEDs. It simply wasn't fun.

My next foray into electronics was actually a project to build a Drawdio, and I realised that learning from a kit with a project is way more interesting and engaging. Plus to top it off I wanted it to be as low-cost as possible to lower the barrier to entry. This kit is useful either for the lone hobbyist or the educator looking to teach a class.

A full description of the project outline can be seen in my website.

I have also written a series of tutorials to go with this kit.


The tutorial series for the first project with this kit is Lightbeans. This project assumes that the reader does not have any knowledge of electronics and hardware. It provides all the guidance and code necessary to get started, along with a few challenges if the reader is feeling adventurous.

I am currently writing a second tutorial series titled Webroots in which we will build a plant monitoring system with additional parts. This is a slightly more complex project that has OTA updating, OLED screen displays, and posting information to the Internet so that you can view the state of your plant at any time.


All components can be bought off Aliexpress. With the E-packet shipping option it should take about 2 to 3 weeks to assemble the parts. Cheaper options for more generic parts can be shipped from Digikey, Mouser, or Arrow.

The benefit of this project is that all components are off-the-shelf, allowing you to build your own kits or replace/add parts as necessary. It provides a guided experience from the start to the end of a DIY electronics kit with a project that pulls in all the necessary skills required for beginner in hardware. The information is collated in one place to allow easy access and helps to filter out the extraneous information that might put off newcomers.

  • 1 × WeMos D1 Mini
  • 1 × 5050 RGB LED, W2812b driver PCB or Ring
  • 1 × RGB LED, Common Cathode
  • 1 × Ambient Photodiode
  • 1 × IR Photodiode

View all 21 components

  • 1st Classroom Test!

    Lim Han Yang04/28/2017 at 20:17 2 comments

    On 28 April 2017 I conducted the first test of the ULCEKit. It was a class of 20 university students and lasted about 2 hours.

    Most of the class did not have any electronics knowledge and there were some challenges in setting up because the CH340G drivers are not compatible with MacOS. With this in mind, the next set of devices will instead target the CP2104 drivers which are better supported and used by Adafruit and Sparkfun.

    After the lesson, a quick survey was conducted:

    Fun: 4.8/5

    Too expensive: $21

    Too cheap: $3

    Starting to get expensive: $15

    Bargain price: $8

    So it seems like the right price would be in the low tens range, which is close to the cost point of developing the goods.

    Total soldering time was about 5 hours, and packing took about 2 hours.

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1
    1. Buy everything from the materials list from Aliexpress. Try to group your purchases under one supplier as this will lower shipping costs.
    2. Get a case that is at least 9 x 7 x 3 cm, this is just large enough for the half size breadboard.
    3. Store all components in a ziplock bag.
    4. Solder headers onto the WeMos Mini and the 5050 LED
    5. Insert the WeMos Mini into the breadboard
  • 2
    Step 2

    Please visit https://westsideelectronics.com/lightbeans-part-1/ for the instructions on how to install Arduino and what drivers to obtain.

    The series will provide you with all the instructions and code you need for this project.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Using a diffuser for the LEDs makes a nice glow effect. You can use a thin sheet of plastic from a craft store or paper and fold it.

    Ensure that you have enough space to put the LED inside the diffuser.

    I used the following guide to building my night light diffuser as seen in the gallery.

View all 3 instructions

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Discussions

esot.eric wrote 03/24/2017 at 04:00 point

digging the light-globe

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lim Han Yang wrote 03/24/2017 at 14:11 point

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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