ask:sam

Send us your micro:bit questions and they shall be answered!

 

Micro:bits are everywhere, they’ve pretty much taken over the world. It’s crazy. And that’s great -- we love micro:bits!  But what happens when something goes wrong?!?  What happens when you’ve done everything right, but it won’t work?

Sam Rowe | Microbit Expert

You’ve plugged the thing into the other thing and pushed the button … and nothing happens. You just want to shout ‘WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!?!?  >:(

But help is at hand!! Cue Aunty Sam, our resident responsible adult who is here to listen to your micro:bit problems and guide you to the answers you need.

So come on, send us your dilemmas, errors and slip-ups, however small, no matter how strange. Maybe your micro:bit is haunted? Or perhaps it fell in the loo? Aunty Sam can help… (except if it has actually fallen in the loo, then you’re on your own. Probably a bad example that one.)

And don’t worry: if you don’t have a real problem, MAKE ONE UP! We’re not fussy … if it makes us laugh, job done.

Here are some of our favourite questions and answers:

 

Gumble Gumbot from London:
My micro:bit has fallen down the loo, what shall I do?

aunty:sam:
So, this question is the first one I came to on Monday morning, and really I’m not ready for this. This is not the way I want to start my week. But you know what Gumble Gumbot (is that your real name?) I’m a professional agony aunty, so I WILL answer your question even though I don’t want to.

First thing’s first. Have you or have you not already, um, “used the loo”? If YES, I’d say you are pretty much in big trouble. You now have two options: 1) call for help from an adult; 2) flush the toilet and wave goodbye to your micro:bit!

HOWEVER: if the answer is NO, and the toilet remains untouched by human ... activity :/ you might be ok. You still need to ask an adult to help you get it out. Inevitably, it will be ruined. There’s no way around that fact. THIS IS NOT AN UNDERWATER DEVICE. That really should have been obvious. I’m surprised you thought it was ok to put it in the toilet in the first place to be honest.

Have a look at this advice from the BBC about what to do if you get your micro:bit wet. No mention of toilet water specifically, but give it a read anyway.

A lonely micro usb cable

A lonely micro usb cable

Liam from Wrexham:

My micro:bit won’t show up on my computer screen! The light’s on -- it’s connected up and everything, but the MICROBIT drive icon just won’t appear! It worked yesterday! :(

Aunty:sam:
OK don’t panic!  The first thing to check is your cable. You won’t believe this, but micro-usb cables do sometimes go wrong. I know! Weird right? It might be letting power get to the device, but not data transfer… borrow a cable off a friend and see if that works. Low quality cables can be problematic, so try to buy a decent one. If you need a new cable, you can buy one here! Don’t say we don’t look after you.  You are welcome!

Amy from Morpeth:
I’ve got my micro:bit but it looks delicate -- I’m worried it will get damaged in my school bag.

aunty:sam:
Good one Amy! I should point out that the micro:bits are pretty sturdy, so don’t worry too much. However, it’s better to keep it protected - so try these cases we’ve found online.

Don't forget to read the micro:bit safety instructions!

BBC micro:bit Cases

Good luck breaking through these cases!

Kuldip from Northampton:

The microbit is really spiky and keeps making a hole in my pocket! What should I do

aunty:sam:
Well stop keeping it in your pocket for starters! What you really need is a case to keep it in -- try these ones we’ve found online for you.  Or you could make one of your own maybe?  We’ve found some snazzy 3D printed options too… (and yes I did say ‘snazzy’, it’s an excellent word).

Liam (again), from Wrexham (still, obviously, he hasn’t moved house, has he?!):
You were right about the cable, I replaced it and the MICROBIT drive started appearing fine on my computer. But just yesterday IT STOPPED APPEARING AGAIN.  It can’t be the cable again??

aunty:sam:
Well to be sure I asked the BBC micro:bit geeks on your behalf, as it certainly had me stumped!! It turns out that if you accidentally hold the reset button down while plugging your micro:bit in, it shows up a MAINTENANCE drive. If you are seeing that instead of MICROBIT, you’ll need to unplug and start again, but this time, keep those pesky fingers away from the reset button, you get me? Many thanks.