There is a new micro:bit in town and we couldn't be more excited! We head to the workbench to compare the differences between micro:bit V1 and microbit V2. We take a look at both the features and also the technical specifications.
The original microbit has so much going for it in terms of features --that you will now be able to do more with it makes it an exciting proposition for the classroom. Let's find out more;
The User Features of micro:bit V1 and micro:bit V2:
The good news is that all of the original micro:bit features are also present in version 2. Additionally, the blocks in the MakeCode editor for the old features are exactly the same. Any learning curve that V2 has is only about the new features.
The table below lists all of the features for both boards for much easier comparison, new or improved features are highlighted in green. Check it out.
|Previous (v1.5)||Feature||Latest (v2).|
|25 Programmable LEDs in a 5 x 5 grid||LED Matrix||25 Programmable LEDs in a 5 x 5 grid|
|3-axis motion sensing||Accelerometer||3-axis motion sensing|
|On-board magnetometer||Compass||On-board magnetometer|
|On-board temperature sensor||Temperature sensing||On-board temperature sensor|
|On-board light level sensing||Light level sensing||On-board light level sensing|
|2 x programmable buttons, A & B||User Buttons||2 x programmable buttons, A & B|
|BLE Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth||BLE Bluetooth 5.0|
|2.4Ghz Micro:bit Radio||Radio||2.4Ghz Micro:bit Radio|
|Rear-mounted push button||Reset Button||Rear-mounted push button|
|N/A||On/Off switch||Power off (push and hold power button)|
|25 pins||Edge Connector||25 pins|
|N/A||Microphone||MEMS microphone and LED indicator|
|N/A||Logo touch||Touch-sensitive logo pin|
|N/A||Power indicator||LED power indicator|
|C++, MakeCode, Python, Scratch||Software||C++, MakeCode, Python, Scratch|
It's important to also point out that the board also features a number of usability enhancements, they are;
- Notched edge connector. To make it easier to connect things like crocodile clips and also conductive thread.
- Power LED indicator. In addition to the USB activity indicator.
- Gold plated antenna. To easily identify the radio and Bluetooth component.
The new micro:bit speaker works the same as it does when you currently connect a speaker to the micro:bit and the sound output will be on both the speaker and the edge connector. The new microphone blocks in the MakeCode editor will allow you to write code that reacts to sound.
The Tech' Spec's of micro:bit V1 and microbit V2:
Much of the onboard tech has also been enhanced. The processor and memory has been upgraded which has also allowed upgrades to other on-board technologies.
The table below lists key technical specifications for both boards for much easier comparison, new or improved features are highlighted in green. Check it out.
|Current (v1.5)||Feature||Latest (v2).|
|Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822||Processor||Nordic Semiconductor nRF52833|
|256kB Flash 16kB RAM||Memory||512kB Flash, 128kB RAM|
|NXP KL26Z, 16kB RAM||Interface||NXP KL27Z, 32kB RAM|
|25 pins. 3 dedicated GPIO, PWM, i2c, SPI and ext. power. 3 ring pins for connecting crocodile clips/banana plugs.||Edge Connector||25 pins. 4 dedicated GPIO, PWM, i2c, SPI and ext. power. 3 ring pins for connecting crocodile clips/banana plugs. Notched for easier connection|
|Shared I2C Bus||I2C||Dedicated I2C bus for peripherals|
|2.4Ghz Micro:bit Radio/BLE Bluetooth 4.0||Wireless||2.4Ghz Micro:bit Radio/BLE Bluetooth 5.0|
|5V via Micro USB port, 3V via edge connector or battery pack.||Power||5V via Micro USB port, 3V via edge connector or battery pack, LED power indicator, Power off (push and hold power button)|
|90mA available for accessories||Current available||200mA available for accessories|
|ST LSM 303||Motion sensor||ST LSM 303|
|5cm(w) x 4cm(h)||Size||5cm(w) x 4cm(h)|
Kitronik Accessory Boards For micro:bit Compatibility:
We have now been through our complete complement of micro:bit accessories, testing which work with which micro:bit version. All accessories have now been clearly labelled via the main image for each, so you can tell at a glance what works with what. We have also redesigned many of these so that they work for both. See the link below;
- Our range of micro:bit accessories.
Coding and MakeCode Compatibility:
To ensure the greatest degree of continuity for teachers, users will not need to select which version of the device they have before using MakeCode or the Python Editor. Instead, the editors will support a new format called “universal hex” which can run on both micro:bit V1 and micro:bit V2 (more below). New MakeCode blocks have been added to the editor for the touch logo and microphone, these can be found in the Input section.
This means that you can use MakeCode or the online Python Editor as you always have, to use all of the features that are common to both version of the BBC micro:bit: Display, buttons, motion sensing, gestures like shake, light sensing, and even the Music blocks.
Every program that could run on a micro:bit version 1 can be re-built to run on microbit V2. The editors will support both versions simultaneously for features common to both boards. To convert an old HEX file into a universal HEX file, drag it into the editor it was created in and then export it back to your computer where it can be dragged and dropped onto the micro:bit. If you attempt to use an old .Hex file without updating it, the micro:bit will display a compatibility error.
We think you'll agree that this is quite the upgrade, in terms of both features and technical spec's. As well as all of the new features, there are a ton of enhancements to existing features. That's without mentioning the upgrade to many of the underlying technologies. Despite all of these changes, you code the new microbit and use it in exactly the same way. Which means you don't have to learn it all over again, just get to grips with the new features and you are good to go.
If you are juggling a school budget, not having to also source speaker and microphone solutions will free up valuable cash/time resources for other things.
Find out more:
If you want to learn more about micro:bit v2 and micro:bit in general, then check out the links below.
- micro:bit V2 product page.
- How to convert V1 hex files to V2 Universal hex files.
- The micro:bit Foundation website.
- Kitronik University micro:bit resources and guides.
- micro:bit accessories by Kitronik.
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