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Some parts of old computers can be re-used to teach electronics and some basic soldering skills to children. They will have fun to take apart things like a CD player.

Out of a computer can get for free: wires, motors, magnets, speaker, LEDs, battery, switches, fans.

  One of main ideas of this instructable, is to use everywhere the two-wire connectors. Such connectors are widely used in radio controlled models and microcontrollers like Arduino.  They allow to quickly interchange the parts and try different combinations like:


1) CD player motor as a dynamo to turn another motor.
2) CD player motor as a dynamo for a single LED or several in paralell.
3) CD player motor + loudspeaker.
4) CD player motors can be used in hobby to make laser show setup or robots, etc, etc.


5) 3V lithium cell +LED
6) 3V lithium cell +LED + magnet+tape --> throwie

7) Battery + motor
8) Battery + speaker --> click

9) 9V battery can be used to spin a fan, but 3V is not enough


10) One of further projects is to build a lighthouse with LEDs. Can add  a motor  spinning a small mirror cut out from a CD.


11) And something without electricity too: Magnets from speaker and HDD epoxy glued to cut-out integrated chips --> magnetic pins for a fridge.


12) More advanced thing to try: bycicle dynamo + step up transformer + diode bridge+ 300V electrolyte from power supply --> high voltage source --> sparks

13) Solar panel can be introduced too to spin a motor, make LED to shine, charge electrolitic capacitor, operate pocket calculator, electromechanical clock or a small radio.




Attached is a file how to make electric circuits from everyday materials. Unfortunately, I have written it in German as school children here speak German.

Add more. Tweeters of toys - signal generator - motor, speaker sing. Old tape = interesting mechanisms, wires, parts, battery case, the LEDs.
Your preaching to the choir in my case. Used to work for a college (as do a lot of school systems) where they would auction off off old computer equipment for pennies on the dollar and spend a unknown amounts for the new electronic lab parts. +5 is still +5 and 0 is still zero. You can still teach the same theory with equipment way back. At home we still use p1's and p2's for home automation and for stripping parts as we need them.

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Bio: I am a researcher working on development of optical atomic clocks. Electronics is my hobby since childhood when my uncle was bringing me old phones ... More »
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