Electronics - PICAXE

PICAXE is a brand name that sells electronic bits. As far as I can tell they work a lot with the education system within the UK.

That and the fact that they seem to make interesting looking stuff is all I really know about them so far, but I think they might be the people to help me along, far as getting started on this understanding electronics "thing".

They make programmable chips, and stuff like temperature sensors, robot motors, remote control stuff, battery holders, and what looks to the novice to be just about everything someone like me could want.

As far as I can see, you get hold of an experimenter board, designing your project temporarily on it, then program your chip by plugging the board into your computer. Then once it's all tested and ready to go, you solder it all in place on a circuit board to make a permanent version.  Next, you install it into your lawnmower, ask the newly installed robot arm on your fridge to pour you a drink, and watch your lawn mow itself.

That's my plan anyway.

Actually my plan is to make something that will open the glasshouse door if it gets too hot inside.

I've tried to understand electronics before, but I think I need a practical way to study rather than by reading books. I borrowed a few books from my library about a year ago when I wanted to blackout proof my aquaponics pump, but stuff like this just doesn't stick in my head unless I do something with it in the real world. My current understanding is a general idea about how stuff might work. I could make a torch, but I couldn't make it turn itself on in the dark.

Generally speaking, I've avoided mentioning brand names on this blog, but this time I think I'm going to have to. Each of the different companies make their own versions of these kinds of things, and as far as I can tell, their components are not necessarily compatible with each other.

Around 25% of the readers of this blog find their way here by search engines looking for a particular bit of information, so by mentioning the brand name, it makes it possible for the reader to know if I'm talking about the same stuff that's sitting on their desk.

I'm not getting advertising or any free stuff from them, although I would gladly accept it (if ever anything like that happens I'll let you know). I found their product through google adverts like the ones on my page, so there is a chance their ads will appear on this page because adverts are topic dependant. So if someone was to click on one of their ads, I would gain a small amount of money from them, but I wouldn't know it was from them and not a different advertiser.

What I'm trying to say is that I am not endorsing the product and I'm not knowingly being paid by them or anything. But I will let you know what I think of their product as I become familiar with it..

Other than opting out of adult content ads, I have no control over which ads Google displays on these pages.

I know nothing about this brand and have no opinion on the PICAXE quality or business practices.

No doubt that will change soon, because I'm about to buy some of their stuff!


  1. I haven't used the PICAXE stuff before, but they all seem fairly comparable. I personally like the simplicity and cross platform ease of the Arduino system. There are a number of different vendors selling compatible boards and for the USB versions like the official board, there is no special programming hardware required apart from a standard USB cable. There is a bootloader preinstalled on the microcontroller (mcu), which handles the uploading of your programs. I have an official board and a number of the "Really Bare Bones Boards" (from moderndevice.com). The RBBBs need an FTDI usb cable because they lack the onboard FTDI chip, but are quite cheap, fully compatible and are awesome on a breadboard for prototyping.

  2. Bonj, If you would be willing to talk to me about Arduino, and answer a few questions, could you email this address...

    temp_address_for_bonj (at) hotmail.com

    Thanks in anticipation/sorry to bother you if you don't feel like it :)


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