Wanting to do some electronics with the Explorers, we have been discussing for ages the types of project that we could do with them.
Our primary aim is to get them soldering. We will give them some simply theory at the same time – how to work out resistor values and the like, but we had been kind of struggling with the actual project. I had suggested a small IC based amplifier circuit, either stereo or mono, that could be used with an MP3 player. After all, most of them have an MP3 player and they would be able to see some real results at the end of the project.
We had settled on the Stereo IC Amplifier Kit from Kitronic. This is, from what I can see, a cracking little kit that’s not too hard to build.
However, time constraints of an Explorer evening (we only get 90 minutes) means that this would have to be spread over two or three evenings, especially trying to get 30 teenagers soldering, while we try and supervise the lot. We will still do this, but we decided it would be better to go with something much simpler to start.
So, tonight we are going to attempt them to build the circuit on the right. This, as you can see, is much simpler. A battery (well, two AA cells), switch, LED and resistor. These will all be mounted on veroboard and the components soldered. Should be easy, right? *Yes, I know the resistor value is missing, it was a quick diagram for discussion purposes. **Yes, there may be issues with button bounce. Can’t do anything about it on such a simple circuit.
I built one last week from scraps I had around my kit. Took me about 20 minutes to place and solder the parts into place.
I have written a full instruction for them to follow, and of course we’ll be on standby to assist (and administer first aid to burnt fingers…) and if we get some working we’ll try sending some morse code across the HQ…
If this goes well then next term we will do some more, hopefully ending up with building the amplifier kit and then possibly a housing for it all to sit in too!