#AdafruitLearningSystem Weekly Update: DNT Edition

This week was a mix of new guides, guide updates, and new product guides (9 total). The new guides this week show you how to make a DIY customizable TFT control pad, how to upgrade ESP32 firmware, and a quickstart guide on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 with BLE and CircuitPython.

Do Not Track

While browsing the Adafruit Learning System, many of you may notice that embedded videos don’t load, and instead you get a warning message like the one above. This is because your browser has the Do Not Track (DNT) feature enabled. While a novel idea, most websites simply ignore the DNT settings in your browser. At Adafruit, we take privacy seriously, and fully follow the DNT guidelines. Learn more about Adafruit’s privacy policy here.

Black Lives Matter

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We just published a new guide for the Black Lives Matter Education & Workshop Kit

The Black Lives Matter Education & Workshop Kit is an open-source design the Adafruit team published during the peaceful demonstrations for social justice in the summer of 2020 (https://github.com/adafruit/BLM-Badge-PCB).

As a company and culture we came together to make our voices heard, share the pain we all had, the anger, and then work together for equality and justice in our communities (https://www.adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter). We listened to each other, we marched, we donated our time, resources, we distributed PPE at community events, we came together.

The kit is a snapshot in time, a time capsule of what we did together, and what we can build together going forward. The kit can be used for learn-to-code events remotely or in person when gatherings are safe post-COVID. We wanted to make something that would continue to emphasize the moment, is a movement.

NOTE: The kits will never be for sale from Adafruit, they will be donated to learning-to-code organizations, social justice groups, and events.

Favorite New Guide

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This week’s favorite new guide shows you how to create LED animations with CircuitPython

One of the first things many people do with CircuitPython is blink an LED. We even consider it our version of “Hello, world!” It’s fairly simple code with the little red LED – set the LED to True, wait for the desired on period, and set it to False for the desired off period. It gets a little more complicated with NeoPixels or DotStars – you have to set the LED to a color, wait, and then set the color to 0 to turn it off. Regardless, blinking is pretty easy. But what if you want to do more?

Creating a beautiful animated display on RGB LEDs, like NeoPixels and DotStars, is simple using the Adafruit CircuitPython LED Animations helper library. This library enables you to display a number of animations including comet, theatre chase, pulse, blink, color cycle, rainbow, sparkle and more.

ALS Deep Cut

With so many guides on the Adafruit Learning System, some amazing guides of years past get buried and lost. ALS Deep Cuts brings these guides back up to the surface. This week’s guide is another by Phil B from back in 2013.

Rack and Pinion Bot

Learn how to create an automated geared mechanism with hypnotic motion. Use the Adafruit CRICKIT and Circuit Playground Express to make it dance! This is a mechanism for converting rotary motion to linear oscillating motion. The gear appears to bounce back and forth as it continuously rotates. As the wheel spins, the gear turns and oscillates between two tracks. It emits clacks and sloshes sound while in motion creating the sense of white noise. The teeth engage the lower track as it rotates. When it has travels the length of the slot, the teeth clears the end of the track and catches the teeth in the upper part of the track.

New Product Guides

This week there were a couple new product guides. Bonus: we published a guide on the Black Lives Matter Education

Adafruit AW9523 GPIO Expander and LED Driver

Expand your project possibilities, with the Adafruit AW9523 GPIO Expander and LED Driver Breakout – a cute and powerful I2C expander with a lot of tricks up it’s sleeve.

GPIO expanders work like this: you have a board with some number of GPIO but not enough for your project – maybe you need more buttons or LEDs. You could upgrade to a board with massive number of GPIO like the Grand Central, or you could pop on one of these boards. Connect it over I2C and then you can send/receive I2C commands to control the GPIO pins to write and read them. It’s going to be slower than direct GPIO access, but maybe that doesn’t matter if it takes a millisecond instead of a microsecond. You only need the two I2C pins, and you can even share the I2C port with other sensors and devices. Heck, you can even add more expanders for massive I/O control!

Adafruit MIDI FeatherWing

Turn your Feather into a song-bird with this musically-enabled FeatherWing that adds MIDI input and output jacks to just about any Feather. You get both input and output DIN-5 MIDI jacks, a 3V optical isolator so you can interface with MIDI on 3.3V logic/power microcontrollers, and two blinky indicator LEDs underneath the jacks to help you know when data is sent and received.


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.

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


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