13 September 2008
A few days ago I read an article about (and subsequently ordered) a kit to build Mitch Altman's TV-B-Gone. I haven't had the opportunity to build anything electronic in quite a while, so I jumped at the chance.
It came yesterday and I enlisted the help of my 6-year-old son to put it together today.
It's a fairly simple kit with an 8-pin microcontroller, 4 transistors, 2 capacitors, 5 resistors and 5 LEDs (oh, and a push button).
Assembly was a little slow as my son wanted to know what each part did and was worried about his personal safety considering that he equates all electricity with being shocked. I enjoyed explaining it to him and asking him to show me where the parts should go.
I whipped out the old soldering iron and tools and went to town. Putting together electronic kits reminded me of my childhood days assembling HeathKits and tinkering with my 200-in-1 electronics lab (and later, real breadboards and etching my own circuit boards). Ah, the good old days. I'm not exactly sure when I decided to switch from hardware to software, and while I love programming, it's always nice to smell the solder once in a while.
Here's a short video of the initial test of the product:
Needless to say, eating out should be a little more enjoyable now!