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Fall 2023 ︎︎︎ Purchase College, SUNY︎︎︎ (DES3090) Interactive & Experience Design

knitting Circle: PYthon + CPE Installing & testing


For the programming stuff we’ll be doing in this class, we’ll be using the Circuit Playground Express (pictured above), which you’ll receive from me. The kit includes the CPE itself, alligator clips, a USB cable, and extra LED’s. I also have USB to USB-C converters if you need (for newer macs that only have USB-C).

‘Gator clips ︎︎︎
These will help you start connecting you Circuit Playground to other things like electronic components or fruits or what have you. You can get just alligator clips or ones that go to jumper wires if you start playing with other electronic components and breadboards.

USB-A to USB-C and other dongles︎︎︎

If you have a newer Apple laptop, it may only have USB-C, make sure you can actually plug in your Circuit Playground. I suggest this one as it is quite cheap, but you may prefer something else.

(nice to have) Acrylic Enclosure︎︎︎

These are not part of the kit but are super cute and have a mount you can use on the bottom to connect it to tripods.

(possibly nice to have) Battery Packs︎︎︎
These do not come with the kit but you can get them if you want your project to be untethered from the computer.

(if you’re super into it) Gizmos︎︎︎
These are accessories that connect by screwing on top of your CPX and allow it to connect to screens or motors. 

You do not have to do any programming yet! 

All you have to do is download the Mu programming software and what you’ll need to get up and running with the Circuit Playground Express. Also no problem if you get excited and look ahead.


  1. Go to this website, download and install mu︎Install this for your respective operating system, this is basically a fancy text editor. This website  provides a little more context that may be helpful if you’ve never used a code editor before (no need to understand this yet).

  2. Follow the instructions here carefully to get the Circuit Python Express up and running︎  You should be able to get to the point where you see the CPE as a drive called CIRCUITPY on your computer, and you can open and edit a file called “code.py”

  3. Edit the contents of code.py to be the code on this page︎
    save the file, it should look like this:

  4. Create a short video and save it to the your folder for the class. You can upload a video from your phone or a link to a YouTube video, or TikTok video or whatever works for you.

If that didn’t work

It’s fine. Don’t get stressed! Or if you are take a breath. Please note what you tried to do, and at what point it did not work and let me know. See if you can reproduce the issue. If you can’t get it running, happy to do a Zoom or Discord session to get things up and running. We can also take some time at the beginning of class next week if everyone is having issues.

If it did work

Heck yeah! If you’re feeling precocious you can continue looking through the tutorials here, or copy some of the examples here into your code.py file and see what they do.

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