With my updated hobby room and new soldering station, I’ve been itching to do some electronics. I have several kits saved up from 1-2 years ago and the first one to get back into it was Stringy from Boldport. It’s a kit that synthesizes notes with a PIC microcontroller in either acoustic or electric guitar.
I started this build a couple of weeks ago and “finished” it today. It is supposed to be a battery replacement kit for use in prototyping if you run out of batteries. It was project #12 in the Boldport Club.
Mine, did not turn out to be a useable device, because I shorted the connections in the USB connector, which I put on last and should have done first. If there’s one complaint about the Boldport Club kits it’s that the instructions are lacking. I messed around with different desoldering techniques to try and correct the problem, but I might have been fighting a losing battle depending on how deep in there the shorted connections were. I figured something was screwy when the LED never lit up. Then when I connected a 9V battery as the power source instead of USB I knew something was really wrong. With a multimeter I was only getting millivolt readings from the board. I felt the battery and it was really hot, so I disconnected to read the battery it was down to less than 9 volts already, when it had started close to 9.5! That’s when I called it quits.
I’m almost positive I thought this kit was something else when I ordered it with credits I had. I can’t see myself using this during a project if it had been a success, so I’m not too disappointed. Even though it was a failure I figured I’d still post the video. Since it was just over five minutes long at 20x speed with all of the footage I didn’t even bother to do any editing. The camera had filled up somewhere during the desoldering complications and I was too frustrated to bother with getting a new SD card. Enjoy! Or not.
A couple of weeks ago I assembled one of the BoldPort Club kits I had piled on my desk. This one was project #8, titled LIGEMDIO. It’s an LED tester and the name comes from the first letters of Light Emitting Diode, LED.
It was a cool little build after I swapped out to an old soldering iron and it’s a project I’ll actually get some use out of. Would have been nice to have when I tested all of the LEDs for the 8x8x8 cube.
This is the penultimate project from Boldport Club before they move away from the subscription model. It is called Capaci-meter and is project #31. I’m really sad to see the Club changing because I’ve enjoyed the projects a lot more than any of the other electronics kits and the PCBs are so beautiful. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
After having issues with my Hakko FX-888D soldering iron, I finally did some troubleshooting and by using a meat thermometer I determined the tips weren’t getting hot enough. Then I found the device actually has an adjustment mode which lets it compensate. Works great now and is so much better than that cheap iron I’ve been using for other recent projects.
It’s great when the project produces a useful device like this for testing the value of capacitors.
I recently mentioned I was considering cancelling my subscription to HackerBoxes. Turns out the owner of the company made that decision much easier with the way he treats customers. Box #0030 is my last one.
The HB owner came up with some crazy conspiracy theory that all of his most active customers were trying to run him out of business. He started attacking us and censored us from helping other people in the community. You can see what the owner says in this deleted subreddit thread (also on the Internet Archive in case that page gets removed).
He also jumped into the comments on one of my unboxing videos and started making a bunch of incorrect assumptions about me and attacking me. It was so outrageous I thought it was a YouTube troll and I blocked the account soon after the 2nd comment came through so other HB customers to see the garbage this person was saying. Later that night I found out it was the owner! I wish I had saved those comments.
If you’re a HB subscriber or thinking to start you can decide for yourself if it’s a company you want to support. I won’t be giving my money to someone who treats customers like this. It’s disappointing because the concept is sound, I learned a lot, and there were some fun projects. If HB embraced and appreciated their community it could be an awesome way for people to learn about electronics.
The community has moved over HardWareFlare. Discord info is there as well, which is very active.
I’ve restarted my subscription to AdaBox and I suggest you check them out. Adafruit actually cares about people. Their next box (8) will be all about building robots. Another subscription electronics service I’m enjoying is Boldport Club, which comes once a month.
My second month of Boldport Club is #24 The Conehead. It’s a custom PCB design of a cricket and it chirps based on how much light the “eye” can see. According to video timestamps it took about an hour to assemble the kit and it was a lot of fun using the electronics components in different ways.
When I was thinking about cancelling my AdaBox subscription I came across Boldport Club.
As a member of the Boldport Club you’ll receive an electronics project once a month. Our projects are designed to be engaging, challenging, entertaining, collectable, and to promote exploration and discovery through the use of electronics.
Weird timing that AdaBox007 actually included the Cad Sticker set from Boldport Club.
Over the last year or I’ve come to realize I really enjoy little soldering kits. Time will tell if the Boldport Club is satisfying and worth the cost. Each project looks unique and really well designed. I paid for a year up front, which comes out to pretty much the same as a year of AdaBox and I get something every month instead of quarterly.
Here’s a time-lapse of my assembly of Boldport Club #23: Pips.
It was a fun assembly and works as advertised. Not sure I’ll get any future use out of it though.