XK05 - hardware

Using the XK05 hardware

 

All the info you need to use the hardware in your XK05 and your BBC micro:bit is outlined below or summarised in this 4-page how-to guide.

Introduction to XinaBox hardware

Thanks for taking the time to look at our kit, we hope you'll see how our range is perfectly suited for a classroom, maker-space or laboratory. We've even been into space and will be visiting the ISS in 2020.

Our name is pronounced "X in a Box" and we call each of our components an "xChip".

Some of the 80+ xChips in our range

xChips can easily be joined together using what we call an "xbus" connector:

 

A square xBus connector joining an IM01 to a CW01

It's really simple and easy to clip xChips together and when you get the hang of it you can build digital circuits in seconds.


Connecting xChips

There are a couple of rules that you need to follow when connecting xChips together.

RULE 1: When connecting xBus connectors to xChips ensure that they are pushed in all the way - you may need to apply a bit of force if your xChip or connector is new. And check that the connectors and the gaps in the xChip align before you push them in - they are assymetrical so some orientations do not fit.

 

RULE 2: ensure that all xChips ALWAYS face the same way. The 'face' of an xChip is the side that shows the ID:

There are 4 ways that you can connect the CW01 to the IM01, but one of these ways causes the CW01 to obstruct the micro:bit, preventing it from fitting in to the IM01.. 

Note: in some kit inserts the first image above (the one that won't work) is shown. Apologies for any confusion this causes.


Connecting the micro:bit

The micro:bit slides easily into the IM01:

  

Just make sure that it is facing the right way:

The orientation of the micro:bit shown in the image is the 'face'. xChips and your micro:bit must be facing the same way.


How to power the XK05 kit

Once you have flashed code onto your micro:bit (see XK05 - software) and you are ready to connect to the Cloud you need to power up the XK05 in a very particular way:

  • STEP 1: Connect the IM01 to the CW01. Do NOT connect the micro:bit.
  • STEP 2: Add power to the IM01 (do NOT power through the micro:bit). The location of the power input jack on the IM01 is shown below:

  • STEP 3: Once you've added power to the IM01 WAIT until there is a strong blue light showing on the CW01 (in the location indicated on the image above). It should take a few seconds at most.
  • STEP 4: Connect your micro:bit the IM01.

There are 2 reasons these steps are necessary:

  1. We add power via the IM01 because it can manage 1000mA, significantly more than the micro:bit (120mA). Wi-Fi is power-hungry.
  2. We power in sequence because the micro:bit and the CW01 are both programmable cores.  They can get a bit confused about who is supposed to be running the show and this process avoids any confusion. A weak green light will show on the CW01 if it thinks its supposed to be in control, in which case unplug the power then run through the 4 steps above again.

NOTE: flash code to your micro:bit as normal, by connecting a USB cable to your micro:bit. BUT - when you are powering up the XK05 to connect to the Cloud you will need to plug the USB cable into the IM01 and follow the steps above.


Notes and useful information

Once you know how to connect 2 xChips you can connect 3, then 4, then any number. In no time at all you can build complex digital instruments capable of some really cool functionality. 

The CW01 is a programmable core (with considerably more power than the micro:bit). It can be coded using a broad range of programming tools, including ArduinoIDE, Zerynth and Rasbian.

For more information about XinaBox and micro:bit: