When I took an assembler course, we used a NIOS II Altera board which had a display, some LED lights and programmable buttons. One of the more useful exercises was to write a binary calculator using the LEDs' and the buttons. So, here's my questions:

  • Is there something similar (or a good substitute) that you can plug into the raspberry pi?
  • Is there some obvious downside to using the Raspberry Pi that I haven't thought of (maybe ARM assembly isn't a good way to learn)?
  • Is there perhaps something else that the instruction set manual will allow us to do that could give some visual effects on the Pi?
  • 6
    Interesting question, but it is quite subjective. I would say that learning any assembly language is educational.
    – Jivings
    Jun 17, 2012 at 8:58
  • @Jivings I'm too much of a beginner to realise how subjective that might be :) But the LED/Button part is concrete :p
    – keyser
    Jun 17, 2012 at 9:14
  • The first part is a request for product recommendation (off-topic.) The second part is subjective, as is the title. VTC. The third question is a good one though - maybe it can be rewritten as "How can the LEDs on the RasPi PCB be manipulated in software?"
    – finnw
    Jun 17, 2012 at 11:09
  • @finnw I meant objective downsides, which do exist :p and the first part is Indeed a product request, but it's also a matter of compatibility.
    – keyser
    Jun 17, 2012 at 11:47
  • I think you should design a calculator board. It should only take a few quid to produce and would be a fantastic educational tool! Jul 20, 2012 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


I'm not solving all your problems, but you can use GPIO to activate LEDs and recieve input from buttons.

There is a good video about using GPIO here, and a google search should help.

You could try getting a breadboard here (very cheap!), or again, google will do no end of good.

I actually have these two LED kits, which are nice for their variation of different LEDs, but there's such a range of LEDs that it really depends on what you are looking for.

Push-to-make switches are a little harder to come across, but you can find some here for example.

  • Anybody going to give me advice as to why they downvoted? (I just want to make my answer better.)
    – ACarter
    Jun 17, 2012 at 17:10
  • 1
    I think you misunderstood my question, or misinterpreted my level of expertise :p I know such boards exist, I just have no idea what fits both the Pi and my purpose. That GPIO board looks great though (especially since it's mentioned on the official site), thanks for the links! +1
    – keyser
    Jun 17, 2012 at 17:17
  • 3
    It wasn't me that downvoted so I don't know if this is why, but from what I understand it is generally considered bad form to tell the OP to google the answer in a Stack Exchange answer.
    – ToniWidmo
    Jun 17, 2012 at 17:38
  • 1
    @ACarter I downvoted because of the Googling - sorry I didn't comment earlier. If you remove the phrases telling the OP to Google and perhaps add some more hard links in its place, I'd be happy to remove the downvote.
    – berry120
    Jun 18, 2012 at 10:15
  • 1
    @berry, I have improved it, but it's your choice if you remove the downvote, I see exactly why you did it, and it's your choice.
    – ACarter
    Jun 18, 2012 at 16:51

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