Arcade console with 3.7 volt expansion board/LED video


I saw this marketing image and wondered: “How is it possible that a game console for Arcade can control an ultrasonic sensor?” Or is it in MakeCode Arcade at all ? The expansion board which the blue Meowbit sits on I now have in hand. Yes, it runs on a 3.7 volt 18650 battery and looks to be able to control 4 motors, via Arcade. We are now studying this. Here’s our first video: https://youtu.be/cbw4-2_o67s
We will soon try the Ultrasonic sensor on a robot car with MakeCode Arcade and game console.

I suspect you know about this but the first thing I would highlight is voltage compatibility. A lot of the “low/no brand” ultrasonic sensors sold as HC-SR04 are designed to be powered by 5V and don’t work or don’t work properly on lower voltages.

The other question which is more Arcade specific is whether it has the same features as the micro:bit version to communicate with the ultrasonic sensor. The “classic” version of these sensors has a trigger pulse which initiates measurement and an echo response which is a pulse whose width is proportional to the distance. I see the edge-connector extension has a pulse in (us) pin P1 pulsed high block and appears to be there to support a micro:bit style edge connector.

I had a look at the using the humble HC-SR04 in MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express in Adafruit Learn: Distance Measurement with Ultrasound. There is also a 3.3V compatible version of the sensor board, the Ultrasonic Distance Sensor - 3V or 5V - HC-SR04 compatible - RCWL-1601. There’s one more variant which also supports a serial protocol, the US-100 Ultrasonic Distance Sensor - 3V or 5V Logic.

In the attached video, @kjw you can see a white strip below and forward of the Arcade Meowbit, that is Velcro and a short time ago I had a 70 tie hole breadboard cut in half with an ultrasonic proximity sensor attached and wired into the Yahboom Super:bit powered expansion board running a Micro:bit. It worked with the Croco:kit extension by Yahboom. Here we have switched out to the Kittenbot brand expansion board hosting the Mewobit and wired to all 4 DC motors. I would hope to add a proximity sensor to this in addition to other possible sensors. It’s a pity that Mewobit does not yet have IR, Radio, WiFi , Bluetooth or some other remote control. Our purpose is to show manufacturers that this all might work together if they would expand the utility of Arcade boards with edge connectors.
https://youtu.be/Zz4QMt_nj3k

An interesting video. I hadn’t realised there were different versions of the Meowbit, the description mentions 1.1 and 1.3.

I can see an HC-SR04 in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCbyED554ro . I think that’s being powered from 5V. That means the echo output will be at 5V and the micro:bit isn’t 5V tolerant. Are you reducing the 5V to around 3.3V or the micro:bit’s supply voltage? You can see that being done in my example and on others like https://www.teachwithict.com/hcsr045v.html

New device: Kitronik ARCADE mentions a bluetooth addition for the Meowbit in SD card form.

@kjw, you are bringing up many interesting ideas and a lot of new information to me. I bought a GHI Brainpad over a year ago and found that it supported this strange new MakeCode game Arcade on a tiny-tiny screen. That was before BrainPad Arcade. I found the word “sprite” and jumping man game which I could install and it befuddled me, how to score points; I never learned computer games in the 1970’s. . Now, all these months later, our kids–most being home schooled in very, very rural southern Missouri Ozarks, are coding away at our library and a coffee shop using all these Arcade consoles, we have most of them. Thank you for updates about microSD card slot and possible Bluetooth. If we could write an Arcade program on mobile device and download to Arcade board, that would be a great leap in progress. If we could control a bot car via Meowbit-Bluetooth from Micro:bit, WOW ! We have Robotbit with Arcade console running a TT motor Mecanum wheel chassis as of today. More videos coming tomorrow. Cordially , Frank Schmidt . And ps, I have a photo of Meowbit V1.2, from Zagreb, Croatia; a good friend has that one…Have no idea if it works to drive robot cars. I gave a girl locally the V 1.1 and it fails every time for this purpose. Only V 1.3 works for us.

Continuing with “ultrasonic proximity sensor” using Arcade. It is still a mystery @kjw, the Robotbit extension for Meowbit does include Ultrasonic but it appears to be a single pin in the tool box. I looked it up and those sensors with only 3 pins look to be quite expensive; as compared to 4 pin (Trig,Echo) types. Research into this really depends on having the hardware to test code.