On any given day you can find a miniature multimeter in my pocket. These devices are the equivalent of a Leatherman for electronic enthusiasts. (The Leatherman would be in my other pocket.) Most of the time, I want to check the voltage of a deep-cycle battery in my electric-vehicle or troubleshoot a problem with a solar photovoltaic system. But multimeters do things like current measuring, resistance and continuity, which make them handy for solving problems ranging from home wiring to electronics repair. (For more on what do do with one, check out Ladyada’s multimeter tutorial on adafruit.com). I’ve used a number of “portable” units over the years, and while many are anything but, one jumps out as my solid favorite. Here’s my take on a few popular units.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.