This is a review of the Elegoo Uno R3 Complete Starter Kit. First if you don’t know, Elegoo is a Chinese supplier of Arduino and other electronics hobby parts on Amazon. They have a website that is perpetually under-construction but they are very responsive on Amazon and by email service(at)Elegoo.com.
Wow, this kit is stuffed full! What quickly jumps out is the fact that most of the parts we’d recommend for someone wanting to get into electronics are already here.
Arduino clone, Check
Breadboard and jumper wires, Check
Tackle box like container to keep parts sorted and separate, Check
Breadboard power supply module, Check
This is the most complete kit we have seen. If you have nothing and already know that you want to get into the hobby you would be hard pressed for a better first purchase.
The packaging was very well thought out. Everything comes individually wrapped in a compartmentalized container with removable dividers. There is even another smaller parts box containing the loose pieces like transistors and LED’s. All necessary male pins are protected with foam and the inside lid comes with a cheat sheet identifying all of the components.
Don’t think for this price you are getting a controller made by Arduino. The beauty of the open source platform means anyone can make their own and sell them. But this isn’t a low quality copy. In fact, every part of this kit looks to be very well made. It seems from their Amazon listing that they have listened to the feedback users have sent them. All sensors work well, the keypad actually looks good, and the smaller box makes it easy to keep track of the tiny parts that would get loose in a larger box.
The sensors they’ve included will keep you busy for awhile and may give you some ideas for a first project. Standard ones like a sonic rangefinder and temperature sensor were expected but including an NFC tag reader and IR remote goes above and beyond most kits with a “starter” label. Elegoo wasn’t kidding when they named this kit “Complete.” It is clear they have beginners in mind by including both male-male and male-female jumpers and two breadboards. You can actually use everything here (except for the NFC kit) without ever picking up a soldering iron. It even comes with both an AC power supply and a 9V battery.
The CD included with the kit contained an Arduino IDE executable for Windows and a .zip version for Mac. It is the 1.6.9 release which was great (1.6.11 is the latest build as of Sept ’16). There is also a “note before study file” explaining that they have included other tutorials “To bring more convenience to you.” I think this is really so they can use the same disk for multiple kits but it is neat to look at the other ones before you buy. Next there are the folders for three kits: Elegoo’s 37 sensor kit, Elegoo’s Smart Robot Car Kit, and The Most Complete Starter Kit for UNO. Each one includes Code, Libraries, and a .pdf of the tutorial. For this kit the tutorial is divided into 33 Lessons starting with Lesson 0 Installing IDE and ending with Controlling Stepper motor with Encoder. I would not recommend purchasing this kit for the tutorials alone as many of these tutorials can be found online for free and the English is not great. The good news is if a beginner started at Lesson 0 and finished through 33, he would have a very good grasp of what each component does and how to wire it up. There is also sample code for each lesson but aside from some of the early lessons the code is not always well explained. You will be able to use all of the modules but extra study may be required to integrate them into a larger project.
Some things here you will want to upgrade or supplement later. Most projects would be better served with a Serial LCD (that uses less pins and code.) And not many projects just use one dc motor, servo, or stepper motor but with this kit you will learn the difference between them, how to control them, and which ones you need in the future.
Overall, if you want to get started and have a pretty good idea this is something you will stick with, get this kit. For about $50 this kit will keep you busy for a long time. You can get the Elegoo Uno R3 Complete Starter Kit on Amazon. You should also check out our review of their Elegoo 37 Sensor Kit and Elegoo’s Smart Robot Car Kit.