CS Discoveries Maker APIs Pilot IT Setup

The Circuit Playground

The Adafruit Circuit Playground is a programmable circuit board with built-in components that make getting started with physical computing quick and fun.

In the Computer Science Discoveries curriculum being piloted this school year, we will be using the Circuit Playground tethered via USB to students' computers to allow for online curriculum integration and interactive debugging of programs.

To connect from USB to the Code Studio App Lab website, we will need to install a Chrome App extension to support serial communication from the browser.

Computer Setup Steps

  1. If you're setting up a Windows computer, you will need to start by installing the Adafruit Windows drivers.
  2. If you already have a Circuit Playground board, ensure it has the right firmware sketch installed:
  3. Install Google Chrome. Note: we plan to support other browsers including IE in Fall 2017.
  4. Install the Code.org Serial Connector Chrome App extension.
    • once it is installed, come back to this page. "Open"ing the App does not do anything, it runs in the background when you use App Lab.
  5. Plug in your Circuit Playground board, and click "re-detect" above. Does each step's setup status appear to have completed successfully?
    • If a dialog asking for permission for Code Studio to connect to the Chrome App pops up, click Accept.
    • Trouble on a step? See our common issues section below. If you are still having issues, please submit our survey above and we can follow up with you.

Using within App Lab once set up

  1. Navigate to the Maker APIs w/ App Lab page:
  2. Plug in a Circuit Playground board, write some code (new blocks are in the “Maker” and “Circuit” tabs) and press Run.

Debugging common issues

If something seems to not be working on the App Lab webpage, try the following steps to work around issues that come up:

  1. Try refreshing the App Lab webpage.
  2. Try un-plugging and re-plugging the board, and refreshing the webpage.
  3. Double check the Computer Setup Steps above. Is the Chrome App being detected? Is the board plugged in, and connectable?
  4. After using the Arduino IDE to install a firmware sketch to the board, it's sometimes necessary to restart the computer before App Lab can connect to the board successfully.

If you see an error like “ERROR: Line: 1: Unknown identifier: touchSensor0”

This often means one of the connection steps failed. Try following the steps above, and if something still seems to be going wrong, send along a support ticket and we can debug further.