Solder up the kit

The first step is to solder the kit together. If you've never soldered before, check the tutorials on the preparation page.
Check the kit to verify you have all the parts necessary.
Get your space set up with a good light, a vice or "third-hand" tool, diagonal cutters, and a soldering iron/solder.
Put the circuit board in the vice, ready for soldering!

Place the 3 4.7K resistors as shown. Resistors are not 'directional' so don't worry which way they go in: it doesn't matter.

Bend the leads out so that when you turn the board over the resistors dont fall out.

Make sure your solder iron is hot, hold it with your dominant hand. Use the other hand for guiding the solder in. Now steady your hands so that you can touch the very hot tip of the iron to the lead (resistor wire) and pad (circuit board hole) at the same time. Heat the two for 2 counts then dip the solder in, you should get a nice shiny blob as shown.
Cut the leads off so that only the blob remains. Be careful, the wires can fly out at you!
Place the 8 47 ohm resistors, just like the last time.

Turn the board over.

Solder the leads, clipping as you go if it's too clumsy to solder around the wires.

Clip the leads.

Place the three zener diodes and the serial port connector. The diodes are directional so don't put them in backwards. Note that there is a black stripe on the red glass, this stripe matches the white stripe on the silkscreen picture of the diode.

The serial port connector goes on only one way but it will be pretty obvious (because the two sides are different). The connector slides onto the end of the board and sandwiches it.

Start by soldering on the serial port connector. Make sure that you're actually soldering the pins to the circuit board (solder underneath) rather than just filling the pins with solder.
On the other side, solder and clip the diodes and solder the other 4 pins of the serial port connector.

For the next step, you will place the 8 LEDs. LEDs have a 'direction' so if they're backwards they don't work. There are three ways to tell the direction.

One is that the postive lead is longer than the negative one.

Second, the negative side inside the plastic is larger and has a 'cup'.

Third, the negative side has a flattened section (feel it with your fingers).

Place the 8 LEDs so that the negative side is nearest to the edge.

Turn the board over and solder in the LEDs, then clip the leads.

Next, place the microcontroller socket. Note that there is a little notch at the top, this tells you which way to put in the microcontroller. There is also a notch in the silkscreen image so match the two sides up, it will make it less likely for you to put the microcontroller in backwards (which could damage it).

When you turn the board over, hold the socket with a finger because it will fall out easily.

Solder in the two battery holder wires, red is + and black is -

Place the microcontroller in as shown and put in 2 AA batteries, be sure to turn it on with the switch!

By default, the LEDs light up in sequence. If you bought a special version of the kit, it may have a preprogrammed image.

This guide was first published on Jul 17, 2013. It was last updated on Mar 11, 2013.

This page (Solder it!) was last updated on Mar 11, 2013.

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