Featuring an 8x8 RGB LED matrix display, super-duty video-game style buttons, customizable handles, a lo-fi audio transducer, and 8 extra LEDs for lives, score, ammo, or level, Meggy Jr RGB is a great little kit you won't want to miss. Meggy Jr is fast, programmable, open source, hackable and fun!
Meggy Jr RGB is a little sister to our Peggy 2 LED display kits, and was designed with a different focus-- less soldering, more pixels in your palms. The 8x8 RGB matrix display provides a whole lot of pixels (192 LED elements), and the 8 auxiliary LEDs bring the grand total up to 200. The six tough extra-long-life buttons have excellent click-feel, and multiple programming interfaces let you take control of exactly what you're playing with. The system architecture is based on the Atmel ATmega328P microcontroller, and is Arduino compatible.
Meggy Jr RGB comes as a soldering kit [?]. Basic electronic soldering skill is required, and you provide standard soldering tools: a soldering iron + solder and small ("flush") wire clippers, as well as a small pair of pliers (e.g., needle nose). If you have them, a hot glue gun and wire strippers will also come in handy. No additional knowledge of electronics is presumed or required. Easy "through-hole" construction ("No surface-mount nothin' nowhere!") and clear, full-color printed instructions come with the kit.
Assembly time: 1-3 hours typical, depending on soldering skill. Kids (ages 10+) who have soldered before should be able to build their Meggy Jr kits with minor assistance and supervision. An extended introduction to the project and its design is available here. Meggy Jr RGB includes a battery box and can run on batteries (3 'AAA' cells) or you can get an optional ac adapter for endless playtime. Interchangeable Handles
Meggy Jr RGB is designed to be mounted inside a "handle set" -- a comfortable to hold wooden or plastic case. You can make, mod, customize, and swap out handle sets to suit your taste. Different handle sets can completely change what the Meggy Jr looks and feels like. You can design your own custom handles, starting from our templates which are available here-- either to make them on your own or to have them fabbed by laser shops like Ponoko.
Programming Meggy Jr RGB
The microcontroller in the Meggy Jr RGB kit comes pre-programmed with "Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes," a pixel-blasting side-scrolling shoot-em-up with bombs, lasers, and ever advancing (red) dots that aim to ruin your whole day. Once you've built the kit, you can get started playing immediately-- Absolutely no computer access or programming is needed between opening the box and blasting vicious vegetables.
If you're inclined, Meggy Jr RGB can do a whole lot more: it is designed as a platform for programming your own games. Meggy Jr RGB can be programmed in the popular Arduino software environment, through an optional USB-TTL interface (sold separately). Mac, Windows, and Linux computers are all well supported, and all of the software that you'll need is available to download-- for free --online.
To get a head start, you can download the Meggy Jr RGB Programing guide here-- it's a detailed guide to our simple library routines for using Meggy Jr RGB. The library provides an interrupt-based screen redraw at a default rate of 120 Hz, multiple brightness levels, and simple functions to write data to the video buffer. So easy a kid could do it. (Proof: Attack of the Cherry Tomatoes was written by a 14-year old.)
The Meggy Jr RGB library is an evolving open source project and your own code contributions are welcome. We have a growing number of user-contributed games and other programs available for download; many of these are listed on the documentation site. Even if you don't want to write your own programs, you can download other people's programs and run them on your Meggy Jr RGB.
AVR-GCC users: Programming through an AVR ISP programmer (e.g., the USBtinyISP) is also supported.
About our kits
We take great pride in our kit designs; we believe in clear instructions, unambiguous labeling, goodies, and where appropriate, including extras of small, easy to lose and/or break components. Assembly of the kit is straightforward with our clear instructions. If you would like a preview, you can download a copy of the instruction packet here (3.9 MB PDF file).
You should have prior experience soldering and, as mentioned above, basic soldering tools. Read more about what to expect in our kits here.
Meggy Jr RGB circuit boards, components, LEDs and power supplies are all RoHS compliant (lead free). If you're building one of our kits, you'll find that everything works well with either regular or lead-free solder-- whichever you care to use.
Suggested Accessories for Meggy Jr RGB:
FTDI USB-TTL Cable
5 V Regulated Power Supplies
5 V International Power Supplies
Handles for Meggy Jr RGB
Resistor Lead Forming Tool
You may also be interested in...
Meggy Jr RGB two-pack
Meggy Jr RGB Classroom Packs
Peggy 2 Light Emitting Pegboard kit
Other Arduino-compatible Kits and Accessories
Meggy Jr RGB PCB
Preprogrammed AVR Microcontrollers
8x8 RGB LED Matrix Display
The Adafruit USBtinyISP kit