Inexpensive Starter Packages for BS2 Newcomers

The BS2 Starter Packages are no longer offered.


We have developed two Starter Packages intended to capture the enthusiasm of the newcomer to the BASIC Stamp which permit them to do many powerful things quickly and inexpensively. These are self contained packages with nearly everything the user needs and I am hopeful there is a high probability that the user will be successful in most of their tinkering efforts.

Note that our Starter Packages now include the Parallax BASIC Stamp 2.

The newcomer will most likely want to acquire such hand tools as wire strippers and long nose pliers, a small soldering iron and an inexpensive DVM. Jameco is a good source.

The BASIC Stamp 2 Manual and Software are also required. Both are available for free from Parallax, and I give Parallax a great deal of credit in making these available.

Our Starter Packages include a 180 page book, "BASIC Stamp 2 Tutorial and Applications", 1998, ISBN 0-9653357-6-3.


The Basic Starter Package is designed to give the newcomer a substantial and quality solderless breadboard, a serial cable to connect from the PC to the BASIC Stamp on the breadboard and a power supply capable of powering most projects including small steppers and DC motors.

The package also includes a Parallax BS2 IC.

It also includes LEDs, switches and pushbuttons, a good collection of common resistors and capacitors, a thermistor and a speaker. It includes such ICs as a 555 timer, an LM324 quad op amp, a ULN2803 Octal Driver and L293D Dual H Bridge Driver with clip on heat sink. The package also includes a stepper and a DC motor.

It also includes a DS1624 digital thermometer and EEPROM and ADC0831 A/D Converter. These permit you to monitor temperature or any other parameter which may be represented as a voltage.

It also includes our PIC based logic probe which permits a user to quickly determine if a point is high, low, open or flashing.

The package also includes a 170 pages tutorial. Samples;

Enhanced Starter Package - $169.95 plus $10.00 shipping via UPS in the US. $13.00 via Air Parcel Post to Canada.

This includes everything in the Basic Starter Package plus a number of our PIC based kits including the K1820 temperature measurement kit, the serial to parallel printer kit and the serial to LCD kit. The idea is to give the newcomer additional power; the ability to measure temperature and display data on either an LCD or a printer. (Note that an LCD panel is not included).

The enhanced package also includes a 25 conductor cable with both a male and female DB25 connector on one end and a 26 pin header on the other. This may be used to interface the serial to parallel printer kit with a standard Centronics printer cable.

This enhanced starter package also includes a copy of the Parallel Port Manual - Vol 1. The idea here is to encourage newcomers to also experiment with the Parallel Port. The PC has some advantages over a Stamp in storing and manipulating data. Note that the above 25 conductor cable may also be used to interface the parallel port with the breadboard and control many of the peripherals included in the Basic Starter Package. The Parallel Port Manual also deal with many topics which are common to both the Parallel Port and the Stamp; interface techniques, drivers, noise reduction, transient suppression, elementary stepping motor theory, D/A and A/D.


These offerings are a good faith effort to help newcomers. They were developed with some 20 years of experience in teaching students from high school through college seniors on such platforms as the 8085, Z80, MC68HC11, PC Parallel Port, PIC and BASIC Stamps.

My approach to education is to teach in a hands on real design environment. Most people, including my students, initially lack confidence, but as they write programs to flash LEDs, make sounds and spin motors, the confidence rises and the theory becomes a whole lot more relevent and interesting.

This is not the easiest way to teach as I must assure that my students have interesting devices and have everything they need, and also that I spend countless hours helping them over the humps.

I am hopeful this general spirit has been woven into these packages. Lots of components and interesting applications set in environments which assure a high probability of success. I can't be there to help the newcomer, and it's getting harder and harder to keep up with my e-mail, but hopefully, the 170 page tutorial will be a big help. There may be some failures, but hopefully there will be a lot more successes which encourage the newcomer to continue their self education through tinkering, which is my mind is the best way people learn.

As my students mature, they take pride in developing materials to help other people either learn or to do things they would not otherwise be able to do. This includes researching new devices, developing new software and application notes which are either published in paper form or on the Web. We also develop kits, which requires many patient hours of design, programming, testing, debugging, documenting and packaging. Offering these Starter Packages is a part of this effort.

The prices of these packages would be considerably higher if I did not have these very fine people who are willing to make up these packages and they take a lot of pride in doing it. When a student hands me completed packages, I don't have to check them as I know they have already checked and rechecked.

This is not to say that errors never occur! Tooling up for the demand for these packages has been a challenge and it is disconcerting to package up ten boxes, lug them to the post office and then discover one speaker left on the floor and not know who is receiving the package missing that part. But, we try real hard and respond quickly to correct any deficiency.

As with all of our books and kits, if you are not satisfied, return it for a full refund. Even if you have opened all of the packages, worked with them a bit and come to the conclusion that the Package isn't what you wanted, box it up and return it for a full refund. Clearly this is subject to abuse, but the people who tend to buy our books and kits aren't the type who make their day by short changing the young clerk at MacDonalds. We have sold many thousands of items and nothing has ever been returned. But, the offer is there.

There are a number of packages offered by others. An Alta Vista search using the key words "basic stamp" is suggested.

If you are a newcomer, look around and then ask an experienced user for their opinion on the various approaches.

If you are an experienced user, please look around and try to give guidance to the newcomers when they ask. Perhaps, I have missed the mark in feeling our Packages are superior to anything which is out there. I hope not, but try to give newcomers an honest appraisal that they can avoid the pitfalls that you and I have encountered.

Best wishes. 73 de KZ3K