Between the ages of 7 to 10, the only thing my son ever wanted for birthdays, Christmas and all gifting occasions was LEGOs, LEGOs & more LEGOs. I think we own stock in LEGO. From 10 to 12 he was into guns (NERF & Airsoft), as well as bows & arrows, but these have been a more difficult hobby because of limited places to shoot. We don’t live in the country. We do have local ranges, but these hobbies have not been something he can just go and do right after his homework is done. He has also been into LEGO Mindstorm Robotics and FIRST Lego League competitions. However, that interest is also waning some after 3 years of competing. So this year, for his birthday, we had no idea what to get him and he had no idea what he wanted. Then, my husband started investigating soldering and electronics kits that kids can do. What a find!
We bought my son a few soldering tools and a couple of kits, Minty Boost and TV-B-Gone. Minty Boost is a portable USB charger kit that my son can use for his iPod Touch and we can use for our android phones in pinch - and it works! The TV-B-Gone is a kit that will turn off most plasma and flat screen TVs from 150 feet away. My son (and my husband ) are envisioning turning off all the TVs on the wall at Walmart and seeing what happens or playing a trick on some neighbors. When my son was soldering the Minty Boost, I saw a look I haven’t seen on his face since being immersed in a LEGO project — the look of total absorption in what he was doing and loving it. Don’t you love it when you find that RIGHT gift? He informed us that he loved soldering the Minty Boost and would love to have lots more kits to solder. It’s his replacement for LEGOs now.
Here’s what comes in the Minty Boost kit…
and here are a couple of pictures of my son’s finished product…
Tools, kits and knowledge we used to get our son started
Next, you will need to read over & try some basic soldering tutorials. AdaFruit has some great tutorials. Here are links to various tutorials we know of:
Now that you have the tools, safety glasses, the kits & some soldering knowledge, follow these directions to create a working Minty Boost. Use the same tools and soldering knowledge to solder the TV-B-Gone according to these directions.