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Topic: Chinese kit for beginner? (Read 556 times) previous topic - next topic

Nasedo

Hello everyone. As a part of my introduction, I must admit I never been interested about electronics, I was more in computers so far... anyway, I would like to try something (explain this later on) and I'm not sure what to choose.

Please, do not assume I'm trying to spam or advertise anything, just asking about your opinion.

I found an offer on Banggood: Geekcreit® Mega 2560 The Most Complete Ultimate Starter Kits For Arduino Mega2560 UNOR3 Nano  which costs £34.55
Comparing the price for any other kits it looks relatively cheap. All together with other offer: Geekcreit® UNO R3 Improved Version + 2.8TFT LCD Touch Screen + 2.4TFT Touch Screen Display Module Kit For Arduino which costs £13.62 I could have something to start with.

Price of those two sets will not be more than £50... but... is it worth?

What I want to achieve?

1. I want to try build something, maybe with little help, maybe independently (not sure yet), but something relatively simply, like clock displaying on text based display, maybe reminder. Maybe some kind of intrusion / motion detector?

2. Have some fun with blinking lights (programmable).

3. If I would decide to buy other screen, second option above - to create clock displaying more graphical data, like a background picture, actual time, date, maybe temperature and / or some basic information from (external memory card?).

I don't have any experience with: electronics, soldering. I never had any experience with Arduino / Raspberry etc.
I have experience with programming / game development / music (MIDI / DAW).

I would like to ask you:
1. Is this set I mentioned above violating any rules of this forum, could be considered as violation of any copyrights?
2. If I decide to buy something like this, will anyone in this forum will be able to help me, considering the fact is not from official channel of sale?
3. Is a good idea to buy something cheap, assuming it's something completely new for me and maybe I will not achieve anything at all and it will be just waste of money - and if it will be, in my opinion it's better to spend less than more for this.

Thank you in advance for most appreciated answers and help.

pert

1. Is this set I mentioned above violating any rules of this forum
No.

could be considered as violation of any copyrights?
From looking at the product listing, I don't see anything that could possibly be copyrighted. The only way there could be a copyright violation is if it came with a booklet that contained content copied from Arduino's starter kit book, which is under copyright. However, there is no indication that it comes with any sort of instructions at all.

It's more common for there to be trademark violations (though Arduino has gotten much more active in dealing with trademark violators in recent years, so it's less common now). The common trademark violation is people selling boards that have the Arduino trademark on them, even though they were not made by Arduino or someone with a license to use Arduino's trademark. That is a counterfeit product. From the picture of the board in the product listing, I don't see Arduino's trademark. However, I do see the silkscreen on the Mega derivative claims "MADE IN ITALY", which is an absolute lie. Everyone knows that board was made in China. That gives you an idea of the ethics of the people who made it.

2. If I decide to buy something like this, will anyone in this forum will be able to help me, considering the fact is not from official channel of sale?
Yeah, no problem. The kit is all the common modules and parts. It's actually more likely that forum members will have them on hand than that they'd have an official Arduino Starter Kit on hand. Of course, if you're hoping to get official support for that thing, good luck, whereas if you buy an official Arduino Starter Kit you will be welcome to contact Arduino Store Support with any questions or problems you have.

There are one or two forum members who will gripe if you ask questions about a clone Arduino board like that Mega, but the majority of us will help anyone.

Of course, it is very important to support Arduino. The IDE an many of the libraries you will be using with that kit are provided as free open source by Arduino. You will be regularly using the documentation written by Arduino to learn. Arduino pays a team of professional developers and technical writers to work full time on improving and expanding all of these resources. That is all dependent on people buying official Arduino products or making donations. Despite all this work being open source, which anyone can contribute to, I guarantee that Banggood will never do a single thing for the Arduino project, even though they greatly benefit from it.

3. Is a good idea to buy something cheap
I would go with the less expensive boards to get started with. The reason is that it's fairly certain that you're going to have a "magic smoke" incident along the way and destroy it. That's just an inevitable part of the learning process. If you do that with the Mega, then it's going to cost you more to replace. If you do it with the Uno, then it's less painful and you'll feel more free to take risks and experiment. The Mega does have a lot more pins and memory than the Uno, but you can do a lot with the Uno, then get a Mega once you have gone through the initial learning process and are doing a project that actually requires more pins or memory.

it's something completely new for me and maybe I will not achieve anything at all and it will be just waste of money - and if it will be, in my opinion it's better to spend less than more for this.
The thing is, compared to what it would have cost you to get into working with microcontrollers a couple of decades ago, this cost is nothing. The potential learning and fun you can get from an Arduino board is worth so much more than the cost of the board. That said, I definitely wouldn't recommend getting two starter kits. Just get one. That will give you plenty enough to keep you busy. My preference is to buy the specific parts I need for projects, rather than having a random selection of parts forced on me by a kit. When it comes to these Chinese modules, there isn't even any cost savings from buying a kit vs. just buying individual modules. That said, a kit might be a good thing for a beginner who doesn't really know what they want to do and just wants to play around with Arduino and learn things. For that purpose, an LED matrix is just as good as an LCD.

Nasedo

Thank you so much for all your answers, I really appreciate it.
As I admit, I have completely no experience and I have no idea what is possible to achieve it. I saw in Banggood cheaper version of this kit, but it lacks some of components may be necessary.
For example, I have no idea if it could be powered my USB cable using universal (phone?) charger. This more expensive kit, called "mega" has at least some kind of charger.
For example, I found a kit called "Geekcreit® UNOR3 Basic Learning Starter Kits Upgrade Version For Arduino" and it has no power unit, just a battery + battery connector. Of course it costs less than "mega", because the price is just £16.45
For me, as the one has no idea what could be achieved, probably it could be sufficient... but buying a simple wall charger could cost £10 or more. I'm not really sure if this saving is good idea... or maybe is a good idea?

I'm aware of some of information given by sellers like those will be fake, as you mentioned "Made in Italy", and I don't really believe in it. I do understand it's not an original product but some sort of clone.
Once more, I must admit to my lack of knowledge, and it's clearly to early for me to ask a question "Why original product is better?" - I understand, could be older version, having older components or being slower than recent original parts / boards.

I will briefly explain, why I'm considering kit instead of separate modules. Reason is simple - lack of knowledge and ideas. Having a kit, I could be in some way directed, like "Ok, I have IR module, so I can build detector or meter, to check a distance from obstacle". Having NFC board and key, I could understand how locks like this works. When I have a set of LED I can create a flashing night lamp etc.

I know, I should answer myself first: "Do I really need it?" - but I don't know an answer. For example, I never liked programming at all, and as an adult person first time I started and independently created a game without any help. Maybe electronics is not for me or maybe if I will achieve something will be much worse than anyone before me achieved in better way. This is something I can't answer myself.

I haven't made my decision yet and this is a reason I came here, asking for help, and finally trying to better understand what I can achieve.

As I mentioned, it's too early to ask for a specific help, as I'm not even sure, what is possible.
For example, using this "mega" kit, I want to build a watch (without a case).
I would like to display (using included matrix display - three lines) some information, like time, date or maybe some sort of simple reminder: "buy a bread today!"
And maybe... maybe... if it could be possible - I want to use some other components, like LED flashing. If I still have some unfinished task (for today) red LED will be flashing and when the task will be completed, I will have to push button or touch NFC controller with key and red LED will stop and green LED will flash, informing me I have no tasks for this day.
It's just an example what I may want and I have no idea if it's achievable.
So could you please tell me, if my idea is realistic or maybe is stupid and on my level is completely out of my (or anyone range)?

pert

For example, I have no idea if it could be powered my USB cable using universal (phone?) charger. This more expensive kit, called "mega" has at least some kind of charger.
For example, I found a kit called "Geekcreit® UNOR3 Basic Learning Starter Kits Upgrade Version For Arduino" and it has no power unit, just a battery + battery connector. Of course it costs less than "mega", because the price is just £16.45
For me, as the one has no idea what could be achieved, probably it could be sufficient... but buying a simple wall charger could cost £10 or more. I'm not really sure if this saving is good idea... or maybe is a good idea?
Keep in mind that when you have the board plugged into your computer with the USB cable, it will be powered from your computer. You only need a power supply if you want to run the project without a connection to your computer. If you have one of those power supplies (battery pack or wall plug) with a USB jack on it, you can just plug the board into that to power it.

In your position, I would get the cheaper kit to start with.

"Why original product is better?" - I understand, could be older version, having older components or being slower than recent original parts / boards.
No, that's not it. They might be counterfeit components, but they aren't older or slower. The main reasons are to support Arduino and likely get better customer support in the event of a problem.

Maybe electronics is not for me or maybe if I will achieve something will be much worse than anyone before me achieved in better way. This is something I can't answer myself.
That's why it's so worth buying an Arduino board and seeing what happens. 7 years ago, I stumbled across the Arduino boards while I was shopping for something else and bought one on an impulse. I didn't even know what a microcontroller was at that time and didn't have any significant experience in electronics. It really drew me in. Now I'm employed full time working in this field and also playing around with it and volunteering in my spare time. That Arduino board changed my life.

So could you please tell me, if my idea is realistic or maybe is stupid and on my level is completely out of my (or anyone range)?
It's absolutely out of your range to do as soon as you get your kit. You need to start by learning the basics like how to blink an LED and then work your way up to being able to do the more advanced things. If you try to jump right into a project like that, you'll just end up having a lot of frustration and it will actually take you way longer to get a working project (if you ever even get there) than if you had taken the time to learn the basics first. Luckily, Arduino makes it very fast and easy to learn the basics and, at least for me, even something so simple as blinking an LED is super fun and interesting.

Nasedo

Thank you so much once more... I will have to think about this for a moment. I really appreciate your effort and willingness for help.

pert

You're welcome. I'm glad if I was able to be of assistance. I hope you will have a wonderful journey with Arduino!
Per

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