Introduction: Exploding Star Color Organ-Castilleja School

Hey Guys! Today I am going to teach you how to build an exploding star color organ. This circuit will trigger yellow, green, and red LEDs to light up when music plays.

A tricky part about this project is that the circuit board is not labeled, so it is sometimes hard to determine which part goes where. The best way to ensure that all parts are going in the same place is to consult figure 1 of your instructions. It is also listed above.

This project also involves through-hole soldering. The best trick I have learned with through-hole soldering is to insert your part into your circuit board and then bend the wires so that your part will stay in the holes of your circuit board when you turn the circuit board upside down to solder it. After you solder it, you can cut the extra wire that is not soldered with your wire cutters, as shown above.

You can purchase the full kit here:

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

The Tools you will need are:

Soldering Iron


Wire cutters

All of the materials you will need are in your kit. Make sure that your kit includes:

4 Electrolytic Capacitors

8 pin IC and IC socket

16 pin IC and IC socket

One bag of 12 red LEDs

One bag of 7 yellow LEDs

One bag of 6 green LEDs

MIC electret microphone

2 Potentiometers

7 NPN transistors

11 resistors

9 Volt Battery Snap

Step 2: Solder Red LEDs Onto Circuit Board

Open your bag of Red LEDs. The red LEDs go into LED places L5-L7 and L20-L25. These LEDs are polar, which means that it matters which way you insert the LED into the hole. The LEDs have two legs, one for each hole. The shorter leg, or the leg with a nook on the bulb part of it, is the cathode. To determine which of the two possible holes the cathode can go into, consult figure 1 of the directions, which is also listed at the top. In figure one, the darker side of the circle that represents the LED is the side the cathode leg goes into, and the white side is the side that the anode leg goes into. Once you know how a given LED must go into a hole, solder the LED to the circuit board.

Step 3: Solder Green LEDs to Circuit Board

Follow the same directions as you did for the red LEDs, as these LEDs are also polar. The green LEDs go into the places L14-L19.

Step 4: Solder Yellow LEDs to Circuit Board

These LEDs are polar as well. They go into the places L1, L8-L13.

Step 5: Solder Resistors 6-9 Onto Circuit Board

Resistors 6-9 are all 510 Ohms. To determine which resistor is which, consult figure five, which is also listed above. The first two colors of each resistor are assigned a specific number. The two digit number corresponds to a resistor listed in figure 2, which is also displayed above. The magnitude of the number may be different because of the multiplier value, but the numbers themselves should match up. The first two colors of resistors 6-9 are green and brown. Do not worry about polarity with resistors.

Step 6: Solder Electrolytic Capacitors 1, 2, and 4 to Circuit Board

The two slimmer capacitors (C1 and C2) are 2.2 uF. The fatter one (C4) is 220 uF. To determine where these are placed, consult figure one. These capacitors are polar. The negative side is labeled with a grey, thick strip on the side of the capacitor. The negative side is also labeled on figure one, so make sure that they match up and the legs of the capacitors are going into the right holes.

Step 7: Solder Electrolytic Capacitor 3 Onto Circuit Board

This capacitor is blue, and is also polar. Consult figure 1 to determine the location and position of this capacitor as well.

Step 8: Solder Transistors Onto Circuit Board

There are 7 transistors. Transistors 1, 2, 4-7 are 2N2904 NPN transistors, and are interchangeable, and transistor 3 is a 2N3906 PNP transistor. Consult figure 1 to determine the locations of all the transistors. Figure 1 will also determine the position of each transistor within its location.

Step 9: Solder Resistors 5, 11, 1, 2, 3, and 4

Resistors 5 and 11 are the same. Their color combination is brown and black, and it is 1 ohm.

Resistor 1: Brown and Red and 12 Ohms.

Resistor 2: Violet and Green and 750 Ohms.

Resistor 3: White and Brown and 9.1 Ohms

Resistor 4: Yellow and Violet and 470 Ohms.

Step 10: Solder ICs to Circuit Board

There are two ICs: an 8 pin IC and a 16 pin IC.

This is the trickiest part of your circuit. The ICs (integrated circuits) have very fragile legs and it is important that they do not break. You can either solder your IC socket to the circuit and then attach the IC to the socket, or your can attach the IC to the socket and then solder the socket to the board. I like to do the latter. If choose to do this as well, then you must make sure all the legs of the IC are lined up with the plates on the socket, and that the nooks of the IC and the IC socket are placed on top of each other when looking at it from a side view. Then push the IC into the IC socket so that you cannot see the legs anymore. Make sure you do not break any of the legs and that the legs are in each plate!Line up the nooks of the IC and the IC socket to the "nook" on the picture of the board in the IC place. When Soldering the IC sockets onto your board, the wires are short enough that you do not have to bend them. While this means that you do not have to cut any wires when you are done soldering, the IC socket can easily fall out. I suggest soldering it over a counter instead of helping hands so that the IC socket is touching a surface and cannot easily come out.

Step 11: Solder the Potentiometers to the Circuit Board

There are two potentiometers. Potentiometers are resistors, but you can change the amount of resistance. The blue one is P2 and the silver one is P1. These do not have a polarity. Consult figure 1 for the location of the potentiometers.

Step 12: Solder the Microphone to the Circuit Board

The microphone is also polar. The red wire corresponds to the positive terminal (left hole) and the black wire corresponds to the negative terminal (right hole).

Step 13: Solder the Battery Snap to the Circuit Board

The battery is, of course, also polar. The red wire corresponds to the positive terminal (bottom hole) and the black wire corresponds to the negative terminal (upper hole).

Step 14: Test

Congratulations! You have completed your exploding star color organ kit! Feel free to listen to music now.