Another weekend of COVID-19 quarantine lockdown means another weekend to dust off some of the STEM projects Santa Claus gave the kids this past Christmas that were sitting in the basement 😉
The kit impressed me. It comes with a decent soldering iron and a simplistic but effective stand for the soldering iron when not in use.
We divided work on the kit into two days . The first day they practiced soldering the pads on the circuit board and then soldering wire to the board.
On the second day we assembled the kit. Along the way we got to discuss resistors, capacitors, transistors, and potentiometers.
After the kids had the basics of soldering down and were comfortable using the equipment we pivoted towards assembling the actual kit. I think it took us about 2 hours of relaxed zen-like soldering to complete the kit. It was very relaxing and enjoyable actually.
The kit is supposed to have flashing LEDs and a European siren when completed. We were able to get the LEDs to perform the alternating blinking pattern but alas, we could not get the siren to work on either child’s kit. We spent a good half hour troubleshooting, but in the end my hunch is that we may have applied too much heat to the 555 timer chips.
We were somewhat disappointed we couldn’t get the siren to play after all of the components were soldered to the board, but I chalk that up to user error on our part. The real goal of having the children obtain a real world STEM skill of soldering was successfully accomplished. The kit was very effective at teaching this skill. Santa picked out a fun, practical, and educational gift for the kids to grow their soldering skills.