Here are my answers to the questions for the Make-to-Learn Youth Contest:
What did you make?
I made a Pocket Geiger Counter using the kit from Jameco. It required a lot of soldering, drilling and circuitry. I had to solder a 1.5 inch x3.5 inch protoboard with transistors, resistors, and an Op-Amp IC. This is about my 3rd or 4th project, so I am familiar with soldering and circuits, but this kit really tested my abilities and made me work harder and learn more about electronics. Instead of just putting kits together, I really like learning how every single component contributes to the circuit as a whole.
How did you make it?
The instructions for the kit were not very complete, nor very helpful. They only provided a guideline. I relied mostly on the schematic that was provided. I wasn't very used to reading schematics, since I usually relied on step-by-step instructions. This helped me become a better maker. To make the project, I used mostly my soldering station, but to get the LED, knob, switch, and photodiode to fit in the enclosure, I had to have my dad help me plan out, and drill four holes. I also had to use my own knowledge to help me in some cases. For example, the battery holder wouldn't fit in the enclosure, so I had to abandon the holder and make my own battery holder instead.
Where did you make it?
To work on the kit, I mostly used my workbench, with my soldering station on it. But to open the box, go through the parts, and put it in the enclosure, I just used my desk. I also had to use my dads drill press, out in his garage where he is working on his 1940 Buick Coupe. I think it is very important to take into consideration where you are working on your project because if you do something like go through parts, in a place where it could fall and get lost, then your in trouble, because you lost a part.
What did you learn?
While working on this project, I learned a lot about electronics. First, I learned a lot of skills on soldering, which I used to have a lot of trouble on. Second, I learned how to interpret and use a schematic which was a first for me. Next, I learned a lot about components, like how they work, what they do for a circuit, and things like that. One challenge I had trouble with was the battery holder, since it didn't even fit in the enclosure. I had a really tough time figuring out how to even get it to stay in the enclosure, because the kit came with a 1 Coin Cell battery holder, even though it was supposed to fit three batteries to equal nine volts. Overall, this project was a great learning experience for me because I faced problems that I had to overcome, and had to learn new things in order to complete it.
Thank you so much for watching and/or reading about my project. Please vote for this project!