Using the BBC micro:bit is fun and simple but, as you can see, it’s an open board with all the electrical parts on display. It’s been specifically designed this way but this does mean there’s a small risk that the parts can be damaged and even overheat. However a little bit of care and caution will ensure you and your micro:bit will stay fit and healthy.
Please read these instructions carefully!
To start with… Naturally, the BBC micro:bit is designed to be safe to use. However, unlike electronics you might buy in a shop, there's no protective case – all the electronics are exposed. We designed it this way so you can see how the electronics are assembled. It looks neat, but needs to be handled with care. With the electronics accessible like this, it's important to avoid generating static electricity. You can discharge any static you've built up by touching a metal object to 'earth' yourself. A chair or table leg would be a good choice. No need to cling on to it for dear life – just a quick touch is all you need.
Once you're sure you're static-free, you can start handling your micro:bit and get it plugged-in! Examine the board for any damage and monitor it when it is first switched on. Your micro:bit is designed to run cold, if it becomes hot to the touch please stop using it and report this fault through our Support site. If your micro:bit was purchased, please contact the supplier for how to return your micro:bit.
We think it's a really sound idea that all BBC micro:bits are first connected and used in the classroom, where a teacher can supervise; or with a parent if you're at home. In case you get stuck, there's plenty of great getting started advice right on this site! Check out our Getting Started page for more information and instructional videos.
Our Four Top Tips
In addition, there are four key safety points we’d like to draw your attention to:
- Always keep your BBC micro:bit in the anti-static bag when not using it. It's good practice for students to earth themselves before handling it.
- Only handle the BBC micro:bit by its edges and avoid touching the components when the power is running.
- Please follow the advice on how to power your micro:bit.
- Please don’t let your pupils keep damaged BBC micro:bits. If you find any faults or damage to a micro:bit, contact us through our Support site or the supplier it was purchased from immediately and replace the device with one of the spare micro:bits we’ve supplied.
Powering your micro:bit
Please use the battery pack and the USB lead provided to power your micro:bit. We have made small changes to the micro:bit since it was first designed in order to keep it up-to-date with modern computers and USB specifications:
- If you have a micro:bit that does not contain a version number to the bottom right of the BBC micro:bit logo, do not use portable battery chargers or USB charging ports (often marked with a lightning bolt or ‘SS’) to power your micro:bit.
- If your micro:bit says ‘v1.3B’ or ‘v1.5’ to the bottom right of the BBC micro:bit logo then you may use any USB port to power it, though we recommend using standard speed ports, and not high current ‘charging’ ports if your device has them. (Some USB ‘batteries’ will not power the micro:bit properly because it does not use enough power for them to remain on!)
Using the wrong power supply may damage your micro:bit and stop it working properly.
View our safety cheat sheets!
BBC micro:bit stopped working?
If your micro:bit has arrived broken or isn’t working properly, don’t panic – we’re here to help.
Did you purchase your micro:bit?
If the micro:bit has been purchased then it should be returned to the retailer and exchanged in accordance with their sales and returns policy
Were you given the micro:bit, either through the 2016 BBC free distribution or through the Micro:bit Foundation sponsorship?
If you received your micro:bit during the 2016 free distribution, please note that the BBC is no longer accepting returns of any faulty devices that were distributed during the free drop to schools. Their recommendation is that the schools replace faulty devices from the spares that they sent to the schools at the time of delivery.
If you are not able to do this or you received yours through the sponsorship scheme then, firstly, please check if it is the micro:bit itself or is it the batteries, the battery pack or the USB. If one of these is at fault these can be replaced very cheaply from one of our suppliers.
If you’re sure it’s the micro:bit board itself then you should initially raise the problem by submitting a new ticket via our Support site. Our support team will work with you to resolve the problem and ensure you continue to get the best from your micro:bit experience.