Maker Toolkit and Circuit Playground Setup Support

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This article is intended to help answer frequently asked questions about using Maker Toolkit.

What is Maker Toolkit?

Maker Toolkit is an add-on on top of App Lab, our block-to-text app development environment. Maker Toolkit provides of a special set of commands that allow student apps to communicate with external hardware. Maker Toolkit is currently optimized to work with the Adafruit Circuit Playground.

What is the Adafruit Circuit Playground?

The Circuit Playground is a small microcontroller board with LEDs, buttons, and sensors built in. Based on the popular Arduino platform, the Circuit Playground enables students to get up and running quickly with physical computing without worrying about many of the traditional barriers to entry. You can read more about it on our Circuit Playground page here.

What are the software requirements for Maker Toolkit?

The Maker Toolkit is currently supported on Windows, Chrome OS, and Mac OS. There are slightly different software requirements depending on which OS you are using.

Windows:

Chrome OS:

Mac OS:

  • Standalone Maker Toolkit App (Latest download link will be available here).

Visit the Maker Toolkit setup page for the latest links to the required software.

How do I set up Maker Toolkit on my computer?

You can find the streamlined instructions to set up Maker Toolkit for your browser on the Maker Toolkit setup page. We have also provided the instructions below.

Windows / Mac OS:

  1. Install the standalone Maker Toolkit app. Get the latest download link for the app from here.
  2. Open up the Maker Toolkit standalone app and sign in to Code.org as you normally would on your browser.
  3. Plug in your Circuit Playground board. You should now be ready to use Maker Toolkit with App Lab within the Maker Toolkit app.
  4. Not working? Check out our section on "Debugging common issues."

Chrome OS:

  1. Install the Code.org Serial Connector Chrome App extension.
  2. Plug in your Circuit Playground board. You should now be ready to use Maker Toolkit with App Lab within Google Chrome.
  3. If a dialog asking for permission for Code Studio to connect to the Chrome App pops up, click Accept.
  4. Not working? Check out our section on "Debugging common issues."

How do I enable Maker Toolkit in App Lab?

Maker Toolkit should already be enabled on relevant Code.org lessons. To enable it within a standalone App Lab project, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the App Lab project you want to use or create a new one.
  2. Click on the settings cog icon on the purple Toolbox header:
  3. Click "Enable Maker Toolkit (BETA)."
  4. Click "Enable" in the warning dialog that pops up:
  5. You will know that Maker Toolkit is enabled if you two new categories in your toolbox called "Maker" and "Circuit." 

If you decide that you want to disable Maker Toolkit, follow steps 2-3 above (except that the menu will say "Disable Maker Toolkit" instead).

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 that you followed all of the computer setup steps.
  4. Visit the Maker Toolkit setup page and make sure all the steps are lighting up as green (e.g. your board is showing up as connectable). Here’s how to get to the page:
    • Windows / Mac OS: Click on the setup icon in the menu from the Maker Toolkit app:
    • Chrome OS: Navigate to this page.
  5. Check the list of common mistakes below.

Here are a list of common mistakes that lead to issues with connecting to Maker Toolkit:

 

  1. (Windows / Mac OS only): You are not using Maker Toolkit in the standalone Maker Toolkit app
    • If you are using Windows / Mac OS, make sure you are not trying to use Maker Toolkit in your regular browser. We currently only support Maker Toolkit within the standalone Maker Toolkit app on these platforms.
  2. Maker Toolkit is not enabled
    • If you are on App Lab and do not see toolbox categories for “Maker” and “Circuit,” that means Maker Toolkit is not enabled. There are instructions earlier in this page on how to enable Maker Toolkit. 
  3. You have the wrong type of Circuit Playground board
    • Ensure that you have an Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic and not an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express. You can verify this by checking the back of your board.
  4. The Circuit Playground does not have the right firmware sketch installed

If you are still running into problems, email us at support@code.org.

 

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