Halloween LED Pumpkin Kit
Set The Perfect Spooky Mood
Description: Halloween LED Pumpkin Kit
Assembly Time: 2 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
Having soldered only once before in my high school physics class a few years back, I can honestly say this kit is rightfully classified at the beginner experience level!
At first glance, I was a little apprehensive starting the project because the instructions, for the most part, are just diagrams. However, the diagram instructions included with the kit did prove to be helpful, but here are a few tips I came across with my experience assembling the Halloween LED Pumpkin Kit.
Step 1: Get OrganizedFirst and foremost, have a clean and organized work space. There are more than 70 components to the kit, so it makes things a lot easier having everything laid out and organized. Be sure you have everything you are supposed to have in your kit.
Step 2: Placing the ComponentsCarefully identify the five types of resistors with the color code given in the instructions. It's very important they go in the correct spot on the board because each type is a different value. The spaces on the board are clearly labeled R1, R2, R3... R24.
Unlike the capacitors, transistors and LEDs, the resistors can be placed in either direction because they don't have a positive or negative end.
I found it easiest to take it slow and focus on one set of resistors at a time. Doing so included placing them in the correct location, soldering them into place and clipping the excess wire on the reverse side. I clipped the excess wire after each set because it's helpful to bend the leads to keep the components in place while soldering them, and if there are a bunch of leads not clipped on the reverse side it can get over crowded.
Be careful with the positive and negative leads on the capacitors. On the board itself, only the positive hole is labeled, ‘+’. On the capacitor, you can tell by either looking on the component or by the length of the lead. The longer lead is the positive one.
The transistors are a little bit different than the ones diagrammed. The three leads are in a straight row rather than triangled, as the ones pictured. It didn't cause any trouble though, just bend one lead back so it will properly fit on the board.
When soldering both the capacitors and transistors, I found it difficult keeping them sitting up high enough to solder each point. It helped to bend the leads flat on the front side of the board to give enough room on the reverse. Even so, it was tricky but I could tell it would get easier with practice.
For the majority of the soldering, I used a very helpful stand, the Electronic Work Center that allowed me to move the board around at different angles enabling a good solder joint and to reach the tight spaces.
When I got to the LEDs, the easiest method was to place all the LEDs in the correct location (being conscious of the polarity), then I tried to hold them all in place with my hand while flipping the board over onto a flat surface. Make sure all bases of the LEDs are flush with the board before soldering.
The extra-high intensity LED should be bent as pictured below.
Step 3: Finishing TouchesFrom this point you're pretty much home free, just add the on/off switch and the battery holder, and you're finished!
Extra InfoThe biggest difficulty I faced was dealing with the closeness of each solder point. The only real suggestion I have for this is to take your time because accidentally connecting two different solder points that are close together can throw the entire circuit off.
My first time building a kit like this I found it to be more of a trial and error process. The first few times I put the battery in and flipped the on switch, to my dismay nothing happened. Dealing with these kinds of kits it's really hard to know where you went wrong. Eventually, after resoldering many of the points, it luckily lit up!
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, but before gaining the experience from putting together the pumpkin I probably could not have told you the difference between a resistor, transistor or capacitor. But even without that knowledge beforehand, I was still able to have fun and create a glowing pumpkin! And if that wasn't enough satisfaction, I can now say with ease I know the difference between the three.
These mini kits are a great gateway into bigger and better projects. From my experience with the pumpkin kit, I have since worked on a few Christmas inspired kits. Check them out for the upcoming holiday season! 3-D Christmas Tree, Electronic Christmas Tree, Riding Santa and the Deluxe Christmas Tree.
Kelley Nash graduated from Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California. She is currently living in Savannah Georgia where she is attending Armstrong Atlantic University and majoring in engineering.