Its been a very long time since I've tinkered with any electronics. I can recall getting a kit back in high school that had something to do with LED lights. It was far too complicated for me—what are all these diodes, capacitors and logic gate thingys?! Fast forward to university (I did an IT degree) and I remember taking an entry level engineering subject. Again, this stuff just didn't agree with how my brain worked. How could anything be possible with just 1's and 0's?! I ended up dropping that subject and picking up a math one instead (I just passed!).
Time flies, and now I have three young children! It's been that long since I've attempted to do this circuity stuff...I picked up this littleBits kit a couple of months ago and decided it was time to build it and entertain my two older kids. They absolutely love bubbles! @leysa takes them outside, all the time, to run around and shriek using a big bubble wand.
Now...how hard could this be to build? It's designed for primary school children so I guess I could manage. Upon opening the box, the "bits" were colour-coded and clearly labelled. The plastic ends are also magnetised. When you try and connect them incorrectly, the poles will resist. Everything seems to be included in the kit, including a 9V battery, but they left out bubble liquid (not hard to make though, with dishwashing detergent) and an instruction manual!
How could they not provide a printed instruction manual?!
I had to go to the official website to read the manual on my phone. Nevertheless, it was pretty straightforward. The first step showed the complete blueprint of the circuit and I could work out how everything went from there:
The "bits" feel quite durable and not flimsy. This is pretty cool as children are not so careful with delicate items. Here's a close-up of each component:
Slide dimmer - controls the fan speed
Power switch - input is 9V battery
Bargraph - the flip side has LEDs indicating signal strength
Fan - variable speed
The instructions said to connect everything up first and test that it works before seating it on the mounting board. So here it is all wired up! The kids loved the the slider switch and how the LEDs would correspond to the input. And of course...they stuck their fingers in the fan...(nobody was hurt in the process though—haha!).
Mounting all the bits onto the board was easy. I was really impressed with the quality of this kit and how everything just slotted in nicely. The cardboard cutout could have used some decoration (the kit included stickers, letters et al.) but the kids were just dying to see this thing blow bubbles—so we skipped that bit and will make it into a monster another day.
Here it is in action! (in @giphy form):
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