Apr 20, 2017
In this video we talk about an Arduino shield designed to teach you about shift registers, I2C, SPI, temperature sensors, real time clocks, analog to digital convertors and flash memory chips - all this on one awesome Arduino shield!
Electronics Concepts can be Intimidating
Like any industry or hobby, electronics has its fare share of acronyms.
A couple of the more common ones you might have come across are SPI, I2C, ADC, RTC and YOMAMA.
All these acronyms can be intimidating. It’s like this giant lion staring you down.
You can spend a lot of time reading about each of these concepts, buying a bunch of different parts and working up breadboards - this is a great way to learn – it’s kind of the common path many hobbyist and professionals have taken alike.
But if you want to grab the lion by the throat - I would like to introduce you to my new favorite Arduino shield. The Rheingold Heavy Education Shield.
It's an Arduino shield designed to teach you about the ins and outs of all these really common electronics concepts (like I2C and SPI) and applying that understanding to hardware (like analog to digital convertors and Flash RAM). It’s not just the shield that makes this an education board, it’s all of the really thorough documentation and tutorials that accompany the hardware on the Rheingold Heavy website.
If you are going to learn electronics, you might as well have fun doing it. That's one great thing about the Rheingold Heavy tutorials - they are fun - the author has a great sense of humor and keeps things real.
He does a great job at demystifying electronics concepts that on the outside seem extremely complex, but dissected piece by piece can be made elementary.
I would say my favorite part about the tutorials is the depth and detail they cover.
I think this line from one of the introductory tutorials captures the style of the author…
...I don’t like “just making it work” — I want to know why it works the way it does.
The real magic happens when you have the Education Shield and start working through the tutorials. The lessons on the Rheingold Heavy website are all designed step-by-step to walk you through understanding in detail the hardware on the shield.
The lessons are a good length, focus on just a couple concepts at a time and get into the nuts and bolts.
The Rheingold Heavy Education Shield itself is jam packed with components.
It's got a shift register hooked up to 8 surface mount LEDs for learning about shift registers, a real time clock, a temperature sensor, a 10 bit analog to digital convertor, and 8Mbytes of Flash RAM. All this hardware you learn to use with either I2C protocol or SPI!
It’s like an electronics learning laboratory on a single Arduino shield.
If you already have a handle on some of these concepts, and you don’t think you need the whole shield, you can purchase breakout boards for each separate component and all the documentation on the website works equally well for those.
I know I’ve said it once, but it deserves saying again - the tutorials are written in a fun and relaxing tone - with tons of diagrams, questions along the way to make sure you’re on track and Arduino code to help experiment with the shield and concepts.
The brainchild of this education shield is Dan Hienzsch. In 2014 he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that brought these shields to fruition. After successfully fulfilling all his Kickstarter backers (and on time!) he has set up shop and is now churning out these education shields all over the world.
I am just little biased towards this education shield - I know Dan - he's a great guy and very passionate about what he does.
After buying the shield and the breakout boards and working through the tutorials on the website I have learned a ton!
The best part is how much fun it has been to work through the material.
I love learning and if I can have a single “aha!” kind of moment everyday, then I sleep at night pretty good. My experience with the Rheingold Heavy Education Shield has brought me these moments left after right.
Needless to say I highly recommend this Arduino shield to any body who wants to get a solid and detailed grasp of concepts like SPI and I2C, or about using real time clocks, analog to digital convertors, temperature sensors, shift sensor and a whole lot more.
With all this education packed into Rheingold Heavy Education Shield, backed-up with really enjoyable tutorials, you can't go wrong.