Fun beginner's electronic project - the Solder: Time LED watch

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27 Responses to “Fun beginner's electronic project - the Solder: Time LED watch”

  1. sudoLoki says:

    I’ve been soldering since I was 7, I hurt myself a lot but nothing major.

  2. Gordon McMillan says:

    I can’t directly answer the question (my 2 boys never exhibited any interest, so I never taught them). But I learned to solder at about 10 years old, when I outgrew the kids toys of the time (which featured springs and tinned wires for making connections – think 1960). I’d start her on about 18 gauge wire, where what’s happening is pretty obvious. ICs onto a PCB is pretty subtle stuff. 

  3. Mark, we’ll have you guys over for a soldering playdate soon — Bea (5) and Ronan (8) both know how!

  4. tylerdisqus says:

    Like potato light bulbs. Gonna have to try this straight away.

  5. cintune says:

    Check out the Radio Shack “cold heat” soldering iron. Battery operated, uses a short circuit to solder and then cools down almost instantly. Some people don’t like them, but they’re great for kids and tabletops alike.

  6. With a set of helping hands and close supervision I see no reason why children of 8 or even younger could not learn to solder, I wish someone had shown me when I started at around that age, I think I would have had a lot more luck, using my families only soldering iron which was designed to solder car battery terminals really set me back a bit and made me think I just wasn’t very good at it, years later when I tried again I found I was actually a natural, and my hampering was just the wrong equipment and no instruction, I would encourage you to perhaps choose a much simpler kit such as an LED christmas tree or some such kit and just let her have a go perhaps point her at 
    http://diyaudioprojects.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/how-to-solder-comic-book-guide.html as well as showing her the knack.

  7. I learned at such a young age (before age 3, self taught), that I can’t remember ever not knowing how to.  Mich Altman says his youngest student was something like 3 1/2.

    A friend taught his 7 year old grandson to MIG weld.

  8. jackbird says:

    I was soldering at the tender age of 5 1/2 in a class at my local science museum.  I built a thing on a piece of breadboard where you pushed a button and a green LED lit up. It was awesome.

    I just wish I had listened to the guy about not using your front teeth to strip wire.  That proved problematic 2 decades later.

  9. Moriarty says:

    I cut my own umbilical cord with a soldering iron. No big deal, it didn’t have any nerves.

  10. bcsizemo says:

    I was repairing my r/c car around 9 or so.  Did I solder, yes.  Did I do it correctly, no.  (But there wasn’t really anyone in the house that knew any better than I did.)  By high school I had things down pretty good.

  11. I use soldering iron as chopsticks and inexahutible fountain pen.
    Nah, I’m 43 and have just learned to do it.

  12. mtdna says:

    Yeah, Mark – why are you such a wuss about giving a 1000F iron to your 8-year-old? Man up!

  13. followr says:

    I designed a project called the Bright Bunny to serve as an introduction to electronics and soldering.

    The Bright Bunny is a soft felt rabbit whose heart lights up when it eats a carrot. I’ve successfully taught a workshop of adult women and ~11 year old girls with no prior electronics experience to assemble the kit. (Actually, it took longer to sew the bunny together than to do the soldering. :) )

    In addition to teaching how a simple circuit works the end result is very cute and frequently provokes an “Awwww….” reaction. :)

    As of last week SparkFun stocks Bright Bunny kits http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10708 in their online store.

    Could be an ideal project for your upcoming soldering playdate. :)

  14. 1dot6180339887 says:

    My OCD can’t let this go without saying that the resistors are in backwards.  The color bands are supposed to be read from left to right (or top to bottom).

    I recommend starting with a the solderless breadboard before progressing on to soldering your own circuits. Easier/faster to get things going and much less chance of destroying things (eg lifting the track while removing a diode to turn it around).

  15. Bookburn says:

    Whoa… what is that sore on the left hand.  Is there a history with soldering attempts?   Looks 7+ days old.  Staph is nasty.  Keep it clean.

  16. Hakuin says:

    just don’t wear it to an American airport .

  17. cservant says:

    Did you try to explain time?  Horology is “fun” in electronics.  It is one of things I wished someone took the time(pun not intended) to explain it deeply when I started.

  18. Andrew Katz says:

    My daughter has been soldering kits like this since she was 7. She loves it.

  19. not a doktor says:

    http://daruiburns.tumblr.com/post/17713712901/so-i-took-a-jewelry-making-class-with-my-mom-to 

    I just started and I’ve been watching videos on youtube (God bless the internet), and when I came across solder removing wire on a shopping site I naturally had to go ‘tube it. When I saw how it just sucked up that silver my reaction was this:http://gadgeteros.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/are-you-a-wizard.jpg

  20. AllyPally says:

    My son learned to solder at the Edinburgh Science Festival’s MadLab, aged 5. He chose a kit to build a red and a green LED flashing in antiphase. Great kit for kids. Great big solder pads with huge gaps between them. He still managed to get one solder bridge, which I fixed. He  took his completed kit to school where the teacher wouldn’t believe he’d built it and virtually accused him of lying. Bah!

  21. IronEdithKidd says:

     I was cooking mac & cheese on the stove by the time I was 8.  You can do more damage to yourself with a pot of boiling water than you can with a soldering iron.  Just sayin’.

    I was 11 or 12 before I convinced my mom to buy a soldering iron.  This may have coincided with the year we had to learn how to use an arc welder in shop class. 

  22. sixtwelve says:

    My brother’s in-laws had their kid driving the farm equipment before kindergarten. So, 5?

  23. penguinchris says:

    I’d like a kit that was equally geeky-looking but perhaps not so enormous for myself (although I’m sure it’s not as large as the photo suggests since I’m guessing her wrists are quite small).

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