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In this post, we will be learning how Bitbloq 2 works. If you have already used the first version of Bitbloq, it will help you to get to know the new features, advantages and differences. If you still haven´t installed the Web2Board application, which you will need to make your board and Bitbloq 2 function correctly, now is a good time. In Before you start with Bitbloq 2, you can find a step-by-step explanation of the process.

Getting familiar with Bitbloq 2

We´re going to take a look at the options on Bitbloq 2. To do this, go to http://bitbloq.bq.com/

Click on Test it now. If you want to register or if you already have an account, click on Log in or Sign me up and follow the instructions. The first time you log in to Bitbloq 2, the walkthrough option will appear to guide you. This will quickly give you a clear idea of how the program works.

The three main tabs are located on the left of the interface:

  • Hardware, where we will indicate which board, sensors and actuators we are using;
  • Software, where we will program our project;
  • Project info, where we will add information to it.

To find out how it works, we are going to make our first program: Switch on an LED.

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OJO IMPORTANT: Bitbloq 2 is a new program that has been created from scratch, so if you have already created an account for Bitbloq 1, it will not be compatible with Bitbloq 2.

The Hardware tab: connecting the electronics

In this tab, we will tell Bitbloq 2 what hardware we are using. First of all, we need to select the controller board and then we tell it what components we are using and where we have connected them. Click on Components and drag the LED to the yellow box. Click and drag the circle at the bottom of the component to connect the cable to digital pin 13. Finally, if you haven´t done it yet, connect your LED to your controller board and don´t forget to connect each pin to the corresponding colour!

recuerda REMEMBER:With Bitbloq 2 you can use a ZUM, a FreeDuino or an Arduino UNO board and most of the sensors, actuators and boards on the market.

The Software tab: programming our project

Now that we have connected our hardware, we need to create our program to switch on an LED.

Take a look at the programming area and you will see that it´s divided into three parts:

  • Global variables, functions and classes: This enables you to declare variables accessible from any part of the program, as well as to create new functions. We will look at how to use them later on.
  • Setup: This runs at the beginning of the program and is used to configure the behaviour of the pins and other actions we want to be executed once when it starts. We will learn how to use this in subsequent entries.
  • Loop: This is the main loop for the program, which you will be using the most. Everything contained in this loop will be executed indefinitely. This means that a program on Bitbloq and Arduino is never-ending.

Open the Components tab and drag the Switch on the LED (…) to the Loop section. To save you from losing time searching through components and blocks that you don´t need, Bitbloq 2 will only show you the blocks for the components that you connected under the Hardware tab. If you need more generic blocks, click on the Advanced option.

Our program is now ready to function. Click the Check button so that Bitbloq 2 can verify that the program functions correctly. If the program is compiled correctly, then click on Load. The program will be loaded onto your board and when the Program uploaded successfully message appears, the LED will light up. Well done! You have just created your first program! Now there´s only one left for all good programmers to do: documenting all the details.

The Project info tab: documenting our program

If you want to share your creation with others, or to be able to access it again at a later stage, make sure that you do a good job and document all the important details.

The first step is giving project a name and a description to explain exactly what it´s about. If you really like your program and you have created a great machine or robot, you can add a YouTube video to show how it works. Don´t forget to add the main image that will accompany your project when you publish it. Finally, you can add the tags. A hashtag is simply a keyword that defines your project. Bitbloq 2 adds some tags automatically to enable you to find, for example, all the published projects that use a ZUM board and an LED. You can also changes the theme of the blocks to colour or grey, etc. More and more themes will be added so that you can select the one that suits you best.

Now we have everything ready! If you want to publish your project, click on the cloud: Publish on Explore. Now anybody can see, use and even create their own improved version of your project. To access all published projects, click on the green Bitbloq icon and then on Explore. Create and share your ideas with the community!

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Congrats! Now you know how to use Bitbloq 2. Throughout this course, you will learn how to program your controller board to make awesome inventions and robots. Remember that if you have any doubts or suggestions, you can leave us a comment.

Ready to continue the adventure? Let´s go!