Each kit comes standard with green LEDs, but any LEDs can be used by adjusting the values of the resistors. The board accepts 6 to 12V DC power, and each board draws a maximum of approximately 0.25 amps.
This kit is great for soldering beginners. To learn the basics of soldering check out this great guide by noahw. Also, here's a good video tutorial from the MAKE blog. Bre has a cool video about this on the MAKE blog.
Currently, this guide details basic construction. An explanation for connecting multiple boards will be up soon, too!
Step 1: What You Get and What You Need.
You may want to check out Dropout Design's own documentation, and print it out. They have a nifty placement diagram as well as a schematic.
What you get:
What tools you need:
Rosin core, 60/40 solder
Soldering Iron hopefully with a pencil-like tip
A vice to hold up the PCB
(You can get all this stuff really cheap at http://www.all-spec.com/ or http://www.allelectronics.com/)
What components you need:
6V-12V power supply
Wire to connect power supply to board
(An easy way is to get a 9V battery with a clip, as pictured)
Step 2: Resistance!
Bend the wires at the resistor and stick them into the holes labeled R1-R16. (Orientation doesn't matter in this case, but it will for the LED's so keep that in mind).
Bend the wires back a little after stick them in so the resistors don't fall out when you turn the board over.
Now that they're all in, you can solder them into place.
Finally, use the wire clippers to snip off the long wires, leaving a small tail sticking out just like on professional grade boards. Take caution not to poke any parts of the board with either left over wire or the wire clippers.
Step 3: Light!
Now, this is minutely tricky! Because LEDs have positive (longer) and negative (shorter) terminals it's important to orient them correctly (or nothing will work, etc.) Check out the picture for orientation. This is a good way to learn a bit about schematics: you can follow the connections on the schematic to to see which end of the LED runs to the resistor -- then check the wires on the board itself.
Again it may help to bend the wires after you've stuck the LED into the board so it doesn't fall out. (And be careful not to break anything and all that.)
Before soldering double check that all the LEDs are oriented correctly. After soldering cut off the excess wires.
Step 4: Capacity and Regulation
Stick the yellowy capacitors into C1 and C2, and solder them into place. Then cut the wires. Just like in steps 2 and 3.
The regulator is also polarized so make sure it matches the orientation in the picture.
At this point you can also solder the IC on if you want, but from experience it's never fallen out or lost contact. If you have a way of programming it or want to you don't have to solder.
Step 5: Power!
You'll need to find the power terminals. Look for the PWR label, and check the picture for orientation.
If you have a clip or some kind of battery holder. The procedure is the same, you put the negative (usually black) end on the terminal closer to the MAKE sign. The positive (usually red) goes on the other. This way the battery doesn't fall off.
Step 6: Connections!
Soldering the boards together at the terminals should keep them connected.The game is more interesting when there's a few boards connected.
Step 7: Add a Switch (optional)
Radioshack carries a perfect switch (275-645A). Solder it onto the board in the appropriate place. It doesn't matter what orientation it's in. Solder the wires to the switch, not the board. This seems difficult because the terminals are tiny, but it actually isn't. However, when you solder, remember orient them correctly. The negative is close to the "MAKE" logo.
See photos below.