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Setting Up

Follow this step-by-step guide to setting up the Circuit Playground Express.

Items needed in this course:

The first two items are required while the other recommended items are for optional steps during the projects.

Item Price Required
Circuit Playground Express $24.95 Yes
USB Cable $2.95 Yes
AAA Battery Holder $2.95
Alligator Clip Cables $3.95
Stainless Steel Nail $0.05

The Circuit Playground Express Soil Sensor Mini Kit includes all the items.

Testing your USB:

A “charge only” USB cable will not work. A data/sync cable is needed. To test:

  1. Plug in your USB to your Circuit Playground Express.
  2. Plug in your USB to your computer.
  3. Click the small RESET button at the center of the Circuit Playground Express.

You should see all of the LEDs turn green. If they all turn red, check the USB cable, try another USB port, etc.

A disk drive called CPLAYBOOT drive will appear on your computer.

Note: Later on if you ever need to reset your Circuit Playground Express, you will need to double-click the RESET button.

Download CircuitPython

CircuitPython is the programming language that we are going to use.

  1. Download the latest stable release of CircuitPython .UF2 file (GIF).
  2. Drag the file from your computer into CPLAYBOOT.

The CPLAYBOOT should disappear and a new disk drive called CIRCUITPY should automatically show up.

It should look like this on the Mac and on Windows:

CIRCUITPY on Mac/Windows

This drive is where the code is stored!


Inside the CIRCUITPY drive, there should be a file called boot_out.txt:

File Icon

This text file contains the version of CircuitPython, which should look something like:

Adafruit CircuitPython 3.1.2 on 2019-01-07; Adafruit CircuitPlayground Express with samd21g18

This course uses the 3.1.2 version of CircuitPython.

Okay, now we are all set. Let’s get started!


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