Soldering session

radio kit from Maplin

radio kit

After my cat knocked my radio flying – again – and trashed it completely, I decided to be more adventurous than just buying a new one.  It was time to make my own!

A kit from Maplins seemed the ideal solution, which meant it was time to learn how to solder.

partway through construction, some components assembled

partway through, front view

The instructions were inside the pack, and at first they seemed confusing, but I soon got the hang of matching parts to places.  It was interesting to note that I already recognised parts such as transistors and resistors from my work on the arduino, but of course with the breadboard it’s just pushing pegs in, whereas here I actually had to use a soldering iron.  Luckily we’re a fairly practical family so materials were to hand.

I soon learned that being shortsighted actually helps as I get my best view if I take my glasses off and peer really closely, and the whole project was completed in a couple of hours or so, with only a very slight mark on  my desk from a drop of hot solder and a tiny burn to the tip of one finger – although a cat got yelled at for trying to jump on my desk (different cat!) and once or twice I found myself being rather less than careful with the hot soldering iron than my husband would have approved of (shush don’t tell!).

finished project from the front

finished project – front view

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon of putting the radio together, and although I haven’t yet located a power supply to test it with so don’t know how successful my work has been, I will definitely get another kit and try a different project.  More importantly, I’m looking at the insides of the old shattered radio, recognising bits and realising that it really doesn’t take much to cross from user to creator.

finished project from the back, showing the speaker

My neat soldering!

In the end, it really doesn’t matter whether the final project works, because the learning experience has been well worth the cost of the kit (£15).  Now I know that soldering is not as scary as it always appeared to be to a complete novice, I’ve seen first-hand what components go into making a radio and I have a real sense of achievement.

One challenge still to come is building a cat-proof case!

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About emmyleigh
Writer/editor/proofreader who loves technology

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