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3 microcontroller kits comparison (Arduino, SparkFun and CAROBOT)

Posted by Nobue S on

Many of you might have an interest in microcontrollers but may not own one,or already have one but haven’t started working on it yet. Learning what a microcontroller can do can be challenging if you’re not familiar with it.

Starter kit bundles everything you need to start off with a microcontroller. It comes with a board, parts and the instructions with projects you can do with the board.

We carry 3 different Arduino kits.

  1. CAROBOT Arduino Discovery Starter Kit (Lite) v3
  2. Arduino Starter Kit
  3. SparkFun Inventor's Kit (v4.1)

I'll take these three kits to compare and point out the advantages of each for those who wonder which kits are suitable for them.

What are the key factors to look for Arduino starter kit?

  1. Affordability
    You don't want to spend too much money on a kit to start off Arduino unless you know exactly what you're doing. It'll be great if you take a time and think what kind of projects you want to work on and determine which kit suits for it.
  2. Number of components/projects
    The more the kit comes with components, the more projects can be created with those components! If you have many ideas and wish to try as many projects as you can, then you should choose based on the number of components/projects.
  3. Arduino vs SparkFun RedBoard Qwuiic
    Both are almost the same but there are slight differences between them.
    If you are not sure which one you should get, don't worry. Both come with the well-made instructions and great community. You'll get your answer you need.

CAROBOT Arduino Discovery Starter Kit (Lite) v3

This kit is for those who are on budget or seek only fundamental projects.  

It covers all the fundamental projects such as lighting LED, working with a temperature sensor and spinning a motor. It has just the right amount of things you need to start off.


  1. Price: $63.99
  2. Number of items: 17
  3. Number of projects: 9
  4. Board: UNO R3

Kit includes:

  1. Arduino Uno Rev3 (x1)
  2. 400-Tie Breadboard (x1)
  3. Arduino & Breadboard Holder (x1)
  4. USB Cable A-to-B (x1)
  5. Premium Splittable Jumper Wire (40 Pins M/M 10cm)
  6. Green LED 5mm (x5)
  7. RGB LED 5mm (x1)
  8. Photo-resistor (x1)
  9. 330Ω Resistor (x5)
  10. 10kΩ Resistor (x5)
  11. 10kΩ Potentiometer [POT] (x1)
  12. Push Button / Tactile Switch (x2)
  13. Transistor PN2222 (x1)
  14. Temperature Sensor TMP36 (x1)
  15. Buzzer (x1)
  16. DC Motor (x1)
  17. Discovery Kit (Lite) Guide (x1)


Arduino Starter Kit

The Arduino Starter kit is still for beginners but it comes with 15 projects that cover fundamentals and some advanced ones.

  1. Price: $109.99
  2. Number of items: 40
  3. Number of projects: 15
  4. Board: UNO R3

The kit includes:

  1. Arduino Projects Book (170 pages) (x1)
  2. Arduino UNO board rev.3 (x1)
  3. USB cable (x1)
  4. Breadboard (x1)
  5. Easy-to-assemble wooden base (x1)
  6. 9v battery snap (x1)
  7. Solid core jumper wires (x70)
  8. Stranded jumper wires (x2)
  9. Photoresistor (x6)
  10. Potentiometer 10 kilohm (x3)
  11. Pushbuttons (x10)
  12. Temperatursensor (x1)
  13. Tilt sensor (x1)
  14. LCD alphanumeric (16x2 characters) (x1)
  15. LED (bright white) (x1)
  16. LED (RGB) (x1)
  17. LEDs (red) (x8)
  18. LEDs (green) (x8)
  19. LEDs (yellow) (x8)
  20. LEDs (blue) (x3)
  21. Small DC motor 6/9V (x1)
  22. Small servo motor (x1)
  23. Piezo capsule (x1)
  24. H-bridge motor driver (x1)
  25. Optocouplers (x2)
  26. Transistor (x5)
  27. Mosfet transistors (x2)
  28. Capacitors 100nF (x5)
  29. Capacitors 100uF (x3)
  30. 100pF capacitor (x5)
  31. Diodes (x5)
  32. Transparent gels (red, green, blue) (x3)
  33. Male pins strip (40x1) (x1)
  34. Resistors 220 ohm (x20)
  35. Resistors 560 ohm (x5)
  36. Resistors 1 kilohm (x5)
  37. 5 Resistors 4.7 kilohm (x5)
  38. Resistors 10 kilohm (x10)
  39. 5 Resistors 1 megohm (x5)
  40. Resistors 10 megohm (x5)

SparkFun Inventor's Kit (v4.1)

SparkFun inventor’s kit can be said to be a bit pricey compared to the other two kits. However, it comes with a little bit more advanced level project instructions so you can expand your curiosity and see how far you can go with this kit.


  1. Price: $133.99
  2. Number of items: 32
  3. Number of projects: 16
  4. Board: SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

The kit includes:

  1. SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic
  2. Arduino and Breadboard Holder
  3. SparkFun Inventor's Kit Guidebook
  4. White Solderless Breadboard
  5. Carrying Case
  6. SparkFun Mini Screwdriver
  7. 16x2 White-on-Black LCD (with headers)
  8. SparkFun Motor Driver (with Headers)
  9. Pair of Rubber Wheels
  10. Pair of Hobby Gearmotors
  11. Small Servo
  12. Ultrasonic Distance Sensor
  13. TMP36 Temp Sensor
  14. 6' USB micro-B Cable
  15. Jumper Wires
  16. Photocell
  17. Tricolor LED
  18. Red LEDs
  19. Blue LEDs
  20. Yellow LEDs
  21. Green LEDs
  22. Red Tactile Button
  23. Blue Tactile Button
  24. Yellow Tactile Button
  25. Green Tactile Button
  26. 10K Trimpot
  27. Mini Power Switch
  28. Piezo Speaker
  29. AA Battery Holder
  30. 330 and 10K Resistors
  31. Binder Clip
  32. Dual-Lock™ Fastener


What’s the difference between SparkFun RedBoard Qwuiic and Arduino Uno?

Key Differences:

  • USB connector:
    Arduino Uno uses a USB type B connector, whereas the Redboard uses the smaller mini-B connector.
  • USB-to-Serial Transceiver:
    Arduino Uno and RedBoard Qwuiic each require a different driver file. Arduino Uno uses an ATmega16U2 loaded with custom firmware to convert between USB and serial. RedBoard Qwuiic uses the FTDI FT231X. Hence, you need to install CH340C drivers on your computer before start coding. 
  • SMD and PTH: 
    The Arduino Uno deploys two versions, through-hole (PTH) or surface-mount (SMD). The RedBoard is only offered in SMD. Although the price of the board might not matter since it's a kit, SMD is best for mass producing, hence cheaper. And it also has a smoother surface while PTH assembled circuit boards might have some pointy soldered joints.

 

Arduino Starter Kit Comparison

 CAROBOT Arduino Discovery Starter Kit (Lite) v3
Arduino Starter Kit
SparkFun Inventor's Kit (v4.1)
Price
$63.99
$109.99 $133.99
Number of items 17 40 32
Number of projects 9 15 16
Board UNO R3 UNO R3 SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic

 

Hope it helps you to figure out which one you should get. Get yourself the best suitable kit for you and let’s start working on projects awaiting you!




 


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