Young Archie Roques has recently set-up a company called Wonky Resistor. His first board for the company is called Score:Zero. Archie sent me one of the boards to assemble and try out, so that’s what I did and here’s what I think.
First of all, the Score:Zero is a kit. You have to put it together yourself. Using a soldering iron. The good news is, however, that it’s very well-designed and is a perfect project for those new to soldering, or even those who have never done it before. It is a white circuit board with silvered solder pads and holes. It comes with a selection of different buttons that need soldering onto the board, as well as a 40-way header which goes on the underside of the board and allows it to connect to your Pi.
Looking closely at the board, I can report that the traces are curvy rather than straight. This is likely to upset those who like their angles, but I think it gives the board a bit of ‘artistic’ flair.
A link is provided on the product page to a worksheet which tells you how to assemble it. There’s a little help with how to solder, although I would like to have seen more on that, even if it was a link to a video. The instructions are clear, although you do need to be careful which side of the board you solder the header onto – clue: The black part goes underneath with the pins poking through to the top. It’s a minor thing – perhaps future revisions of the board could have a note ‘header goes this side’ or something.
The soldering, as I’ve said before, is suitable for beginners and all you need to do is be careful, as you always should with soldering. I enjoyed the assembly process and could imagine it being used in schools, homes or clubs to teach the skill of soldering.
Software-wise, there is a GitHub repository to download which gives you three examples: detecting the button presses and separate scripts for turning the board into a keyboard or a mouse. The process for installing the software you need is all there, and I found it very easy to get it to do what I wanted. The best news is that the examples use the GPIO Zero library to make things super-simple and easy. It would make an ideal games controller for something like PyGame or even a robot controller/programmer.
Cost-wise, the price of the Score:Zero is £4.80 (plus postage). That’s less than a fiver. You know what? That’s just about right for the kit, perhaps even on the low side. It makes it a great ‘stocking filler’ and if you should mess up the soldering, it’s not the end of the world!
Above all, the Score:Zero is a bit of fun – it would be great to use this in a ‘learning to solder’ workshop, for example. Charge £5 for the workshop to cover use of tools and the board itself, ideal. And you end up with something you can really use with your Pi. Nice job, Archie – I look forward to seeing what you produce next!
Recommended for beginners and for those who want a (very) simple controller.