Arduino Sensors Kit by Seeed Studio

 About 8 months ago, I've received, and write a review, about Grove Beginner Kit for Arduino.

Recently I've received an Arduino Sensors Kit from the same company, Seeed Studio. At first sight, there is no much difference between the two of them, but there are differences. 

1. First, this kit is designed as a standard Arduino shield, which means that this piece of hardware comes without Seeeduino Lotus(ATMega328p chip), with a bit greater price (23USD vs 20USD).  At first, you may think that is a bad deal, but it is not. 

Any Arduino developer, either beginner or not, before diving into Arduino word, order for yourself many Arduino Uno boards, either original from the official Arduino store or from many online stores with dozen quality clones manufactured by many companies all around the world. Arduino Sensors Kit as shield gives you much more flexibility in order to test integrated sensors with Arduino Uno boards you already have in your stocks, and if something is not working with one, you can easily test the same code with another board and get some conclusions about errors you have during project development.


2. The LED module in the Grove Beginner Kit is connected to the D4 pin of Arduino, which doesn't support PWM function, so users can't use PWM to control the brightness of the LED. In the Arduino Sensor Kit,  pins of the LED module and the button module are exchanged. The LED is connected to the D6 pin, which supports PWM.
This is a great thing, helped me a lot with the Arduino Control Center software development.  

3. In the Grove Beginner Kit, the Light Sensor is connected to the A6 pin. However, since there are no pin A6 on the Arduino UNO and many Arduino UNO clones(I don't have a single Uno board with A6 pin), the Light Sensor is connected to the pin A3 in the Arduino Sensor Kit, which is awesome.

Arduino Sensors Kit  and Arduino Control Center

Again, examples with Arduino UNO and Arduino Sensors Kit won't be a subject of this topic. There is no need to explain something which is already very well documented. I will focus here on how this Arduino Sensors Kit can be programmed and visualized with Arduino Control Center.

For this purpose, I've created a UNO_SEED_SENSOR_GROOVE_KIT.hex file which already has support for sensors, switches,  and PWM outputs included in the kit. 
One remark, the buzzer can be set as output but it cannot produce any sound because none of the tone libraries are supported yet, but it is planned in near future. Also, as Arduino Control Center is designed for visualization data in the desktop and web interface, OLED also is not supported, but it may be in the future.

First, download the Arduino Control Center demo version from this link, and install it or unpack the zipped file and start ArduinoControlCenterDemo.exe(Windows) file.  The program will create at the beginning new database with all required tables.

We assumed that you have attached an Arduino Sensors Kit shield on the Arduino UNO board and you already have installed USB drivers for this Arduino board.

On Arduino Control Center startup first window

Select UNO_SEED_SENSOR_GROOVE_KIT



Select the port and Upload Firmware(compiled code with libraries)


Uploaded firmware with messages



Connect to Arduino board


Leave default ID1000(click OLD ID:1000)




Click Finish in order to add a device






The device is added to the new tab



Rename new device


Set name for the device



Select Image as background


Image with defined pins for sensors, double click on D6 in the pins list


Set D6 as PWM Output and Upload to Arduino



New PWM component with the slider which controls LED diode


There you are, the first component is added to the project. Then you can add the rest of the components (without OLED) and see the full power of the Arduino Control Center. When you add a component BMP280 and upload the configuration to the Arduino board, the returned results will be weird at first:


Right-click on the component and set the I2C address to 119.


Repeat the steps in order to set up all components (except OLED)





Now you can play with the software, set potentiometer as a control for the LED diode, view sensors statuses in the web browser in both PC and smartphone, set the switch to control led, connect more devices like Relay board, and control them from the application,  web browser or smartphone. 
The software allows you to connect 5,10 Arduino boards with this or other shields and control all of them from a single application.

Conclusion

 I will continue to use this shield in my further Arduino Control Center development.  Regardless of the missing Seeeduino Lotus board, this is a step forward in terms of flexibility for the user. The kit itself comes in a quality plastic box, so you can be sure that this little piece of hardware will arrive in the good shape. The sound sensor I didn't test with success neither in my application or example compiled in Arduino IDE. The values are very unstable and I am not sure why. I've tested the buzzer with the libraries which will be included in future Arduino Control Center releases and it works perfectly.
This board is officially supported by Arduino company, and with the reasonable price of 23USD + shipping is a good reason to order this kit and start to learn Arduino programming, but also Arduino Control Center programming logic.

About Seeed Studio

Seeed is the IoT hardware enabler providing services over 10 years that empower makers to realize their projects and products. Seeed offers a wide array of hardware platforms and sensor modules ready to be integrated with existing IoT platforms and one-stop PCB fabrication and PCB assembly service. Seeed Studio provides a wide selection of electronic parts including Arduino  Raspberry Pi and many different development board platforms  Especially the Grove System helps engineers and makers to avoid jumper wires problems. Seeed Studio has developed more than 280 Grove modules covering a wide range of applications that can fulfill a variety of needs.


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