Quick2Wire Combo Kit

Each kit contains an Interface Board, a Port Extender Board, the components you need to assemble them, and the cables to connect them.

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interface-kit-v0.7-569x380 kit-680x434

We also provide Python libraries to help you drive connected devices. All the libraries include working examples and tests.

The kit does not include a Raspberry Pi™.

The Interface board

The Quick2Wire Interface Board gives you easy access to all the features on your Raspberry Pi’s expansion header:

  • 8 General Purpose I/O (GPIO) pins
  • ground, 3.3 volt and 5 volt supplies
  • an Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) interface
  • a Serial-Peripheral Interface (SPI) interface
  • serial communications

The board connects to the Pi with an included 26-way ribbon cable.

We protect the GPIO pins from mistaken connections that might burn out the Pi. We have diodes to catch incorrect voltages and resistors to limit the current.

The Raspberry Pi expansion header includes a 3.3v power line, but this only supports a low current. The interface board provides a high-power 3.3v power supply regulated down from the Pi’s 5v supply. The current available depends on the power supply to the Pi. We find we can provide 1 amp with a conventional power adapter.

We bring out the I2C lines in an SDC header that includes ground, interrupt, 5v, and high-power 3.3v lines. Our extension boards can be daisy-chained to connect multiple I2C devices to your Pi.

We bring out the SPI lines in an SDC header that includes ground, interrupt, 5v, and high-power 3.3v lines. The board is wired to accept a second SDC header for SPI (not included in this kit).

The Pi’s serial port uses 3.3v signal levels. Our serial connections include level shifting so that you can safely connect 5v devices such as an Arduino™. You can connect to your Pi’s console from your PC using a USB FTDI™ cable (not included), so you can work with your Pi without an Ethernet connection.

The Port Expander Kit

Our Port Expander board gives you another 16 GPIO pins which can be used for digital input or output. You’ll find code in our library to drive it from Python, along with examples of use.

 

Here’s why our testers liked the kits:

Easy to assemble

The boards will take you a couple of hours to assemble and test if you’re a beginner at soldering, less if you’re an expert. There are no fiddly surface mount components. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to solder, soldering is easy!

Easy to connect

The Interface Board connects to the Pi via a 26 way ribbon cable with IDC headers at each end. The Port Expander board connects to the interface board with a 6-way IDC cable. Just plug in the cables in and you’re ready to go. Both cables are included in the kit.

Easy to test

The Interface Board has an on-board LED and push button which you can access on GPIO channels 0 and 1. Once you’ve installed our library you can flash the LED and read the button in a few short lines of Python code, or just run one of our example scripts.

Easy to program

We’ve written Python libraries to drive GPIO, I2C and SPI peripherals, with plenty of examples to get you started quickly.

Open source

The hardware designs and software libraries are all published under permissive open source licenses, so you can adapt and extend our work for hobby or commercial use. We’ve already had some great contributions from users, and we’re expecting many more.

Safer to play with

The 8 GPIO pins on the Pi’s header are protected by diode clamps, which help prevent damage if you connect them to a 5v or negative voltage. Resistors on the GPIO pins also help to limit current so you don’t strain the Pi’s output capabilities.

The interface board will prevent many common wiring errors from damaging your precious Pi – although we should point out that it’s still possible to destroy the Pi (and even yourself) if you do something really misguided like attaching an input to mains power.

Easy to expand

You can do a lot with the Interface Board and Port Extender, but you can do even more with additional boards. Our Analogue Board will be available in February. We’re prototyping an LCD display and a 16-key keypad, and we’re experimenting with motor controllers, servo drivers and PWM controllers.

8 Comments

  1. Not sure why anyone would buy this when a gertboard is the same price and does far far more.

    Reply

  2. The Gertboard is a great product, but the products do different things, and they aren’t the same price as far as I can see.

    The products share some functionality, but there are things the Gertbord does that we don’t, and vice versa.

    I know a few people (myself among them) who happily own both.

    Feel free to expand on your comment. We’re always willing to learn.

    Reply

  3. You say it is safer to play with, but what happens if I solder the board together wrongly. It’s no more safe, I can still fry the board. Surely I’m better off with something pre-made?

    Reply

  4. Matthew, if that level of sefaty is your goal, you may want to just stick with a Dell. I’ve seen the soldering steps. They’re easy to follow. If you’ve got enough hobbiest interest to get a RPi and play with the GPIOs, you’ve got enough to assemble this.

    Reply

    • Your home page links to
      http://blog.thestateofme.com/2013/01/10/quick2wire/ which says:

      2. Somehow my daughter managed to get a solder splash on the component side of the board that shorted AGND and VREF. This was a total pain to diagnose and fix as I had to remove the chip holder to resolve the issue.

      Clearly the soldering isn’t that easy — am I not better with something else premade like Gertboard or PiFace and then I can attach my electronics to them?

      Reply

      • Matthew,
        In the article you refer to the author’s son built the interface board and the daughter built the expansion board. By the author’s own admission, his daughter somehow got a dry solder joint on the *component* side of the PCB. But you don’t solder on the component side of the PCB so goodness knows how that actually happened.

        Regardless, the interface board appears to be an easy build… even if you don’t have much soldering experience. If you have never soldered before, buy a cheap kit to practice on first before building this. The Gertboard is an excellent product but it is at a different price point, has different features and uses surface mount components. This product will give you the satisfaction that you built it yourself and will protect your RasPi while you explore it’s GPIO capabilities.

        Have fun making and exploring!

        Reply

  5. First off I found the build to be straight-forward and pretty easy – and fun! It’s one of the reasons I went for it. I had no problems and all worked as it should upon completion.

    Price? Well, re being same price as the gertboard, someone needs to check again cos it’s definitely cheaper. Not only that but for all the design time, components, good quality circuit board, a supporting website and including delivery, £26 is pretty much giving it away.

    As for being better off buying something pre-made – surely if you feel that’s the case you go and buy something pre-made rather than making fairly negative comments about something that isn’t. If you feel your (or your childrens’) skill level is not up to the task then buy a premade board. Seems like a simple enough choice – and there’re a few boards to choose from now.

    Personally I’d like to thank the quick2wire team for a fun, interesting and cheap way to get hours of tinkering out of the Rpi. I don’t know a huge amount about electronics – yet, but I do have opposable thumbs and I can follow instructions. As a novice I found this build easy. Looking forward to finding out what the possibilities are and using the device as a springboard to learn a great deal more than I do now – isn’t that what this and the pi is all about?

    Reply

  6. I bought one of these just last week and have happily soldered it together. After some problems getting the Pi to recogise the python libraries (with some valuable help via the Google discussion group) I am now in the process of tinkering with it to get to grips with the python commands to drive it.

    First project was to make three LEDs count up to 7 repeatedly in binary, which took about 10 mins (I also have some programming experience) based on the examples given with the library files. Now I am looking forward to gradually building up to a weather station to collect data as my last station went caput.

    Why did I pick quick2wire? Well the Gertboard was more pricey but also had a lot of other bits to it that I didn’t want or need. I don’t need 12 LEDs and a motor driver on the board (yet) so the quick2wire board was good enough for what I want and is cheaper. I think the Gertboard would be good for kids experimenting with lots of different unspecific applications of physical computing while this board can be a little more focussed.

    I used to teach electronics so I also agree with Richard’s comment that if you are unsure of your child’s ability and safety with a soldering iron either solder it yourself, get a pre-made board or get them to practice before hand. For practice you can make a simple radio using a few components (diode, variable capacitor and resistor), veroboard and wire that’ll give them chance to practice before letting them loose. You may get a few burns but what kid hasn’t fallen off their bike while learning to ride it?

    Many thanks for the board!

    Reply

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