In the coming months, we will be releasing a minor revision of the BBC micro:bit that uses a different compass and accelerometer.

If you’re a user of micro:bit and you create scripts in one of our supported online editors, and then copy (flash) them onto your micro:bit, you won’t need to change anything that you’re doing.

This Knowledge base article explains what is changing, and provides links to other articles for specific groups, like content authors distributing hex files, who will need to simply update their hex files to support the revision.

What’s changing?

The compass (magnetometer) and accelerometer components on the micro:bit are being replaced with a combined device that delivers both functions.

What do I need to do?

Most people won’t have to do anything.  Before we release the revised device into the world, we’ll ensure that every new hex file you build with the official editors will contain the code it needs to run on both revisions of the micro:bit. So, .hex files downloaded after the editor updates are released will work on any micro:bit. 

Sign up to receive updates about the process

If you have hex files saved on your computer that use the compass or the acceleromenter (for example, detecting a shake, reading a compass bearing or magnetic field strength) you’ll simply need to upgrade them before you can use them on a newer micro:bit.

To do that, just drag and drop them back into the editor and when you next click Download, the new hex files will contain the updated code!

Why are you making the change?

Unfortunately, the compass component used on the BBC micro:bit is no longer being manufactured.

One of the reasons that the compass is reaching ‘end of life’ is that many new designs are choosing combined magnetometer and accelerator chips, rather than standalone devices. Having reviewed all of the possible replacement compasses we could choose, it’s clear that the best way to make sure we don’t have to make another change again any time soon is to move to one of these combined devices too.

We’re telling you about this as early as we can so that we have as long as possible to minimise the impact for people using the micro:bit.

When will the change happen?

We’re making this announcement as we’re still finalising the hardware update, so it’s still several months before the micro:bits you will buy will use the new sensor. You can sign up to receive specific updates about the hardware changes.

How do I get in contact with questions?

Please contact us on the usual channels with any concerns. If you’re a micro:bit reseller and you have questions about buying micro:bits you can contact Premier Farnell directly.