Key stage 3 and 4

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Kay stage 3 and 4 Printed Circuit Boards




Greeting card

Musical Greeting Card

The musical greeting card project is an excellent introduction to electronics and is suitable for pupils in year 7 upwards.  It is based on the pre-programmed melody generator IC.  The kit is supplied with the tune 'Its a small world' so that a greeting card can be made to suit any occasion.


The PCB is printed on thin (1/16") laminate to minimise board height and is designed for surface mount assembly of conventional components so that the back of the PCB can be readily glued into the card.


For reliable operation, a reed switch is used to control the circuit.  A range of card pop-up and slider mechanisms can be used in conjunction with a small magnet to operate the switch.



PIC greeting card

Musical Greeting Card

Updated, programmable PIC based version of the above project.  This is a great introduction to surface mount assembly using solder paste.


Students can programme the PIC with freely available rtttl ring tones of their choice.  Two LEDs can be made to flash in time to the music.


A 3-pin SIL socket is used for connection to the download cable (to keep the height of the PCB to a minimum).  A programming connector (listed below) is also required for this project.





Key-fob torch

Key-fob torch

The torch utilises a high brightness red LED powered by two L736 button cells. The small size of the key-fob PCB makes the project ideal for designing and making economically priced enclosures using a laser cutter or 3-D printer.


The PCB is printed on thin (1/16") laminate to minimise board height and is designed for surface mount assembly.  The PCB can be constructed either by using a soldering iron or by using solder paste and a toaster oven.





Nightlight project


Using conventional components and a small single sided PCB, the nightlight has proven to be very popular with pupils.  It can inspire creative, individual work from students and enable them to design and make a quality product of which they are proud and want to keep.


Illumination by a high brightness LED is controlled by an LDR and timer circuit.  When the light level on the LDR changes from light to dark, the LED is switched on for a time period set by the timing components.  With suitable timing component values, the delay can be set to15 minutes or more.  At the end of the timing period, the LED switches off.  The LED remains off until the timer is recharged by light falling on the LDR.  The quiescent power drain of the circuit is so low that an on/off switch is not required.


The PCB is designed to attach directly to a 4 cell PCB mounting battery holder but a PP3 battery and lead can be used instead.



SM Digital Dice

Digital Dice using surface mount components

Measuring only 36mm square, the digital dice makes an excellent project for exploring enclosure design and microcontroller programming.  With this PCB, pupils can design and make very high quality outcomes.


The dice is powered by a single 3V CR2032 cell mounted on the reverse side of the PCB.  A surface mount PICAXE08M monitors an onboard light sensor and controls the display.  The PIC can be programmed to produce light displays and random numbers triggered by placing a hand over the light sensor.


Although the PCB can be assembled using a soldering iron, it is much easier to use solder paste and a toaster oven.


The computer programming lead is connected to the dice PCB using a small adapter (available separately) which converts from 3.5mm jack to 3 way turned pin header.





Programming connector

Programming connector

To save space on PIC based projects e.g. the Digital Dice and DaisyPIC, programming connections are made with a 3 way turned pin socket.  The programming connector converts the 3.5mm jack plug on the PICAXE programming lead into a 3 pin header.



iPod amp 2

iPod amplifier

Based on the popular and low cost TBA820 amplifier IC, the iPod amplifier is a real hit with students.  The project has been carefully designed to minimise difficulties with external wiring.


Although the amplifier can operate at 6V it works better from 9V (PP3) or higher. (With a suitable speaker and power supply, it can deliver 1.6W).  The only permanent wiring to the PCB is the power supply (which is passed through two threading holes).  Audio input is via a 3.5mm Jack socket which adds together the left and right channels of a stereo signal.  Two PCBs can be used to reproduce stereo sound by amplifying each channel separately.  The speaker is connected via a 2pin JYK connector.


The PCB includes a 'beat' indicator LED which flashes in sync with bass beats.



FB torch small

'Flat' battery torch

In this project a white LED is powered at full brightness from the residual charge in an AA battery - batteries that are considered expended due to insufficient voltage to power everyday devices. The circuit operates a voltages down to 0.35V using a 'Joule Thief' configuration.



Badgesm small

Flashing badge (surface mount version)

A great, low cost introduction to surface mount assembly this project is based on the two transistor astable. The use of darlington transistors mean that the circuit can be implemented using relatively low value capacitors - resulting in a compact size.


The LEDs flash together at a rate of about 1Hz



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