HiFive Inventor

Just a quick “hi” to anyone else playing around with the HiFive Inventor. My initial thoughts:

  • Good fun introduction for youngsters to embedded hardware
  • Not the cheapest toy, but nice to have proper wifi and bluetooth as well as a bright LED display

The online learning videos have a good progression through Tynker to MicroPython. Occasionally fussy about making you drag and drop the code blocks exactly as shown before allowing you to save and move on.

It’s sufficiently capable that I’d be interested in trying to get a “proper” IDE / debugger hooked up to it, but unsure where to start, or whether it’s even allowed. You would hope it could be, given the open approach of RISC-V architecture.

The MicroPython examples make extensive use of these libraries:

While a quick Google finds related libraries e.g. for the Micro:Bit, it would be nice to have reliable documentation for the HiFive implementation.

The homepage for “technical documentation” Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit has datasheets linked. While that’s encouraging, there’s no other more basic information on the board (such as the edge connector pinout).

I would think it has the same pinout as the MicroBit.
They list a bunch of compatible devices in the getting started with accessories section.
Enviro bit, noise bit, touch Bit, etc, that all also work with the MicroBit.
I do believe you can use Mu with the MicroBit, so good odds it will work with the HiFive.
Worth a look see IMHO. I’ve used it and liked it Python wise.
About Mu (codewith.mu)

Thanks! On that list of compatible devices (Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit), there are some caveats mentioned about Pin 12.

I tried running Mu while the HiFive is connected (via USB), and selecting Micro:Bit as the device, but it’s not detected. I expect it will need a specific “mode”.
Looks like this is where that happens: mu/mu/modes at master · mu-editor/mu · GitHub

Ok, I should have looked closer, thanks for pointing out the Pin 12 issue.
It’s been a while since I have used Mu, I do remember using it with my MicroBit. I have two of the originals here, haven’t done anything with them for a long while though if I’m honest. The Microsoft Make Code stuff just frustrated me to no end and gave me a headache in the process, which is what lead me to try Mu and go back to Python. I had good success with it, to bad it doesn’t work with the HiFive though.

I think it would be good to have some info in general about where HiFive Inventor is going - like an interview with the creators. There’s talk that there’ll (soon …?) be a block diagram, but no actual schematic, over here: HiFive Inventor Board - Schematics? - HiFive1 Rev B - SiFive Forums

That seems a weird way to approach the maker community, given the open-source nature of RISC-V, and this having official BBC backing. Maybe things will improve.

If the ambition is purely a Tynker blocks + not-properly-documented-microPython-clone, then it’s likely to wither on the vine.

I’m leaning more towards Adafruits Clue. If the V2 MicroBit had the RGB LED matrix I’d but it in a shot.
Adafruit CLUE - nRF52840 Express with Bluetooth LE ID: 4500 - $39.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits