Disclaimer: I’m not being paid nor part of Tron Club in any way (other than a normal subscriber).
I first found Tron Club on a EEVBlog mailbag of all things. It seemed like cool idea and I instantly linked it to a few friends and also signed up for it. Sign up was easy, although the website could use a little work. After ordering I decided to look at how long it would take to get the first one. Their FAQ lists up to 3 weeks for them to ship the first one and then every month after that one would come. They have two levels, Beginner and Advanced. I went with advanced so I could get some more programming experience in a nice controlled environment. Each kit you get comes with some parts and an online booklet with around 20 circuits for the set of parts they give you.
My first one took 5 weeks to show up! But the second one showed up 2 weeks after that. I’ve been on vacation and haven’t gotten through too many of the circuits. I’ve also been waiting to write this post(s). At this point though, I think I would recommend Tron Club, although they aren’t good at responding to questions.
Kit #1 (ATtiny 13):
The kit showed up in a small box with bubbled wrapped parts in it. Overall, it’s packaged okay, although some of the small components tried escaping their bag (including the ATtiny). Everything shown in the picture came with the first kit (minus the mat).
A small business card is included which has the online booklet code to gain access to the circuits. Since this is the first kit, they also have Windows and Mac configuration information and downloads for WinAVR and the USBasp programmer that was provided with the kit. This was pretty smooth. They do list using Command Prompt for Windows, although Powershell works as well (not sure why this is the default for my computer, but oh well). I had an issue programming the ATtiny and wasn’t sure if it was a Powershell issue or not. Turns out the jumper on the USBasp was set to 3.3V and not 5V. Not quite sure why it didn’t program as the ATtiny works at 3.3V. I’m sure it’s in the datasheet somewhere.
Each circuit is based on a simple task, each building on the last (at least from what I can tell from peeking ahead). The sections give a little information on the circuit, how to hook everything up with both a schematic and a breadboard diagram. They also give some information from the ATtiny datasheet when important. Like the ATtiny pinout or a register configuration table. The last thing included is the code and Makefile as a download. The code is also printed out and portion is talked about. I.e. what the include statement is doing and what some different labels/registers are. There are also some extra goals at the end of each circuit to prompt some external learning or code modification.
I don’t think I’ll go through each circuit in depth as that would be a lot of work. But I think I’ll touch on my gaps in knowledge, what I’ve learned, or anything else to note.