The Five Minute microbit Guide

The five minute microbit guide is for you if you can answer yes to the following two questions. Firstly, do you have at least five minutes to learn something new? Second, do you want to learn how to use a microbit? The Five Minute microbit Guide intro pic If you scored any number of yeses then we're good to go. This guide contains all you need to get started with the micro:bit. First of all, we cover the essential topics required to get you up and running. And finally, there are a couple of links at the end to point you to more free guides to help you develop as a coder.  


The Five Minute microbit Guide:


You Will Need:

  • An Internet connection.
  • A type-A to micro-B USB cable (The same type of cable that is used to connect most smartphones and Tablets to a PC/Power Supply).
  • A PC/Mac (Min Specs: Windows 7/OS X 10.6).
  • A BBC micro:bit.

Connecting The microbit To A Computer:

  • Connect one end of the USB cable to your microbit and the other to a spare USB port on your computer.
  • The microbit should now show up on your computer as a removable drive. (Under Devices on a Mac/under Devices and Drives on Windows).

Powering The microbit:

  • When connected to a computer via USB, the microbit will be supplied with the power it needs by its USB connection.
  • Provide portable power with a Battery Cage and AAA Batteries.
  • Go portable in style with the MI:power board for the BBC micro:bit. Power the microbit with a coin cell battery, the board fits to the microbit and features an onboard sounder on/off switch.
  • It can also be powered via it's edge connector.  The 3V and GND pins are marked and can be connected to with Crocodile Clips.

Choose A Coding Editor:

We would recommend the first option as being a good starting point if you are new to coding. It offers an intuitive way of getting to grips with writing code. Having said that, many people learn to code with languages such as Python & Javascript. Pick the option that suits your needs best.
  • MakeCode blocks editor. Find the blocks you need from the menu and drag them into the workspace and slot them together.
  • MakeCode Javascript editor. You can switch between blocks and javascript using the button at the top of the editor. Code will automatically be converted when switching.
  • The micro:bit Python Editor.  This editor is perfect for those that wish to push their coding skills further.
  • The MU Editor for Python. It works on Windows, OSX, Linux and Raspberry Pi.

Block Coding Quick Tips:

  • To avoid overwriting your last program click on the microbit logo (top left) and start a new project. Then name your new project.
  • Find the block you require in the menus and drag it and drop it into the workspace.
  • Only blocks that are supposed to go together will be able to be slotted together in the workspace.
  • To delete an unwanted block either; right click and select Delete Block, or pick up the block and drag it to the menu and drop it in the bin that appears.
  • To duplicate a block, right click and select Duplicate Block.

Write Some Code; Hello World:

If this is your first go at coding then the MakeCode blocks editor is a good place to start. Look through the menus and recreate the following code snippet.

 Transferring A Program To The microbit:

  • Click the download button in the editor.
  • The file will be downloaded to your default downloads folder. Use either Explorer or Finder to locate the file.
  • Ensure your microbit is connected to your computer.
  • In Finder/Explorer drag your file and drop it onto the microbit removable drive.
  • As your code transfers to the microbit the orange power LED on the rear of the board will begin to flash, Once it stops flashing the transfer is finished and your program is ready.
  • Finally, test your program by pressing the A button, then the B button, and then both buttons together. 

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