First Projects

This is probably a good place to document my first soldering projects. I started all this with an interest in making a Colditz crystal set. I.e. how do you make a crystal set without access to components? I have vague memories of the TV series Colditz where PoWs made a crystal set from a rusty razor blade.

I found a good website with clues on how to do this but they recommended making a proper crystal set first then replacing the components one at a time until it was all home made.

So I bought a pile of components. A germanium diode or two, capacitors, resistors, diodes, wire, the lot. Soon there was copper wiring hanging over the dining room table and The Nipper was very curious.

I managed to get some Portuguese out of the ether despite having only 1 component. I’m not sure the small fortune I spent on further components helped much. But it was fun.

I then attempted to may my own capacitor from tin foil but couldn’t measure it. So I bought a capacitance meter kit from the Internet and welded it all together. It was very groovy, though controversially it came from Israel which was a tough decision. Not sure I’d do that again.

capacitance meter

When I measured my homemade capacitor it was pretty much spot on, but by that time I was on a roll with soldering projects. God knows how much I spent. I now have an AM and FM radios made from kits plus an AM/FM radio I bought from Tesco and pulled apart before reassembling it.

AM Radio kit

FM radio kit

I read recently somewhere that until you open something you don’t really own it. Well I do now.

Next I ripped apart an old mobile phone, extracting the binary dot matrix display and harvesting the vibration motor. I used that with a penny cell battery and a toothbrush head to make.a robot bug for the nipper.

At this point I discovered I won’t throw anything electrical away ever again. Without any expertise I’d become a hardware hacker.

So how to get the LCD working? The Internet has diagrams but do I have the time?


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