The perfect night-light, and a great way to learn how to solder.
The Joule Thief is a clever little circuit that can light a LED with a battery that is nearly dead. It does this with a pair of opposing magnetic fields. I like this circuit because it is simple to build, yet demonstrates some very complex electrical behavior.
I’ve designed a printed circuit board to help make this easier to build for beginning Makers. I used open source KiCAD software to lay it out (a future Instructable?), and OSHPark to manufacture it. If you want to just wire one up without the board, check out Angelo’s Instructable which uses essentially the same circuit.
Robotics is the exciting intersection of a number of engineering fields including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. This project was designed as the basis for a two-day workshop for high school age students to introduce them to engineering principles and giving them a jumping off point for exploring their interests further. There is something for everyone here, even if it is just for the art it creates. The design goals were:
Easy to build.
Easy to program.
Did something interesting.
Low-cost so participants could take it home and continue to learn.
With those goals in mind, here were a couple of the design choices:
Arduino compatible for ease of programming.
4xAA battery power for cost and availability.
Stepper motors for accurate motion.
3D Printed for ease of customization.
Pen plotting with Turtle graphics for interesting output.
At Hackaday, we’re constantly impressed by the skill and technique that goes into soldering up some homebrew creations. We’re not just talking about hand-soldering 80-pin QFNs without a stencil, either: there are people building charlieplexed LED arrays out of bare copper wire, and using Kynar wire for mechanical stability. There are some very, very talented people out there, and they all work in the medium of wire, heat, and flux.
The kit in question was an SMD Challenge Kit put together my MakersBox, and consisted of a small PCB, an SOIC-8 ATtiny, and a LED and resistor for 1206, 0805, 0603, 0402, and 0201 sizes. The contest is done in rounds. Six challengers compete at a time, and everyone is given 35 minutes to complete the kit.
When you take your first steps on the road to becoming a maker, one of the first skills you’ll need to master is soldering. It’s the backbone of just about every electronics project, but it’s not an easy skill to master. Don’t let the fear stop you, soldering opens up a lot of DIY projects for you.
With the I Can Solder Badge, you’ll not only learn the basics, but you’ll also have proof to show the world. This badge project is unique in that it also teaches you about circuits and includes a switch to save the battery power.
Included in the kit is a purple PCB manufactured in the USA by OSH Park, an RGB LED, a resistor, a switch, and a battery holder for the CR2032. Keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase the battery yourself as it cannot be mailed out with the kit due to USPS guidelines.
Learn to solder, and learn a little bit about electronics as well
Soldering can seem a bit daunting,
but it is easier than it looks and it is a skill that opens a world of DIY projects to you. This project is the perfect way to not only learn how to solder, but to show off your new found skill to your friends and family.
Unlike other simple soldering project, this one will also teach you about circuits, and how they work. And it has a switch to save the battery. More power to you!
What you get:
A perfect purple PCB made in the USA by OSH Park.
An RGB LED that will open the all the mysteries of color mixing to you.
A resistor, which in addition to being the easiest component to learn how to solder, will also save your battery life.
A switch, which far more than the resistor, will save your battery and allow you to sleep at night not wondering how long that color changing LED will continue to light up the room.
A battery holder for the CR2032, the best and most cost effective lithium coin cell on the planet*.