If you are interested in learning more about IoT, a Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3 is a great way to go. Especially if you are already familiar with .NET development. It contains all of the components you need to build the following starter projects:
Once you master the basics, you should head over to hackster.io for more fun projects and ideas. So many ideas, so little time!
Unfortunately, if you live outside the US the cost of the IoT Pack plus shipping is rather expensive – in Australia, it is $165.70 without a Raspberry Pi or $218.02 with a Raspberry Pi! While you can also buy these packs from various suppliers in Australia the prices are still quite high.
Additionally, the pack may contain items that you don’t need. For example, many people already have a Raspberry Pi, case, power adapter, micro SD card, and so on. If you just need the electronics components, you will need to build your own pack. This is exactly what I did, and it turned out to be a great move.
The following table lists all of the electronic components you need to purchase.
|Adafruit BMP280 I2C Or SPI Barometric Pressure & Altitude Sensor||$16.95||1||$16.95|
|RGB Color Sensor With IR Filter And White LED – TCS34725||$13.50||1||$13.50|
|Photo Cell (CdS Photoresistor)||$1.50||1||$1.50|
|Diffused LED – Red 10mm||$0.68||2||$0.68|
|Diffused LED – Green 10mm||$0.68||2||$0.68|
|Diffused LED – Blue 10mm||$0.68||2||$0.68|
|Radial Capacitor – 1uF||$0.17||1||$0.17|
|Breadboard – Full-Size (Bare)||$8.93||1||$8.93|
|600 Pack Of 1/4 Watt 1% Resistors (30 Values, 20 Of Each)||$6.53||1||$6.53|
|Premium Male/Male Jumper Wires – 20 X 6 (150mm)||$3.50||1||$3.50|
|Momentary Push Button Switch – 12mm Square||$0.76||3||$2.28|
|Breadboard Trim Potentiometer – 10K||$1.95||2||$3.90|
|MCP3008 – 8-Channel 10-Bit ADC With SPI Interface||$6.50||1||$6.50|
The prices of these components are from Core Electronics (http://www.core-electronics.com.au), and you can see that they are relatively inexpensive and that by assembling your own pack you would save almost $90 (based on today’s prices). What if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi? No problem, grab a Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit from them as well. It will cost you $110 and you would still be around $30 ahead.
Please be aware that there is some soldering required for the following components:
- Adafruit BMP280 I2C Or SPI Barometric Pressure & Altitude Sensor
- RGB Color Sensor With IR Filter And White LED – TCS34725
If you have never soldered before this might seem like a daunting task. Rest assured, it is really very easy, just be sure to read this article first – Adafruit Guide To Excellent Soldering. It’s a quick read and teaches you about the right tools and techniques, and how to correct mistakes you might encounter.
If this all seems like too much effort, just grab a Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3 and start coding! Personally, I enjoyed building my own kit, and I learned twice as much for my efforts!
Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve found this useful. IoT is a lot of fun, and this is a great way to get started. Let me know if you have any questions.