Elenco Amerikit Learn to Solder Kit Review

I got this kit because I wanted to brush up on my soldering skills.

This is when I was about a third complete with the project. The rows of dots on the right are for practicing soldering before you actually begin to solder components.

The components are nicely labeled and attached to a card.

The booklet has very complete instructions.

The layout is illustrated on the top of the board so there’s never any doubt as to where to insert the components. Just remember to put the electrolytic capacitors in the right way! (Reading the board right side up is optional, but probably a good idea.)

If there’s one seeming flaw with the board, it’s that some holes are so close together that it was difficult to solder without ‘bridging’ across the circuit. But that turned out to not be a problem, and anyhow, it stretched my soldering skills to work in tight areas.

One tip I learned is that when clipping the component leads, lightly place a finger at the end. Otherwise, the clipped lead will go flying. One more reason to wear safety goggles!

Speaking of stuff you either need or want that doesn’t come with the kit:

— a fan to blow away the solder smoke (better to get a smaller fan than the one shown here, or place the fan farther away).

— safety goggles (safety glasses may look cooler but aren’t enough!).

— a small towel (used as a ‘foundation’ to keep the board from rocking while poking with the solder and the iron).

— something to keep a solder dripping from burning your table (this mini-chopping board cost $3 at Goodwill).

— a box of jumper wires (unless you REALLY enjoy trimming the insulation off wire ends!).

— a cup to put the debris in (e.g., the clipped leads).

— a magnifying glass.

— a nine volt battery (that’s what the siren runs on).

— a soldering iron holder (the one that came with the kit is just a plate of metal and is shown above the cutting board).

— plastic shoe box to keep stuff organized.

Maybe you’re asking, “Did it work?” Well, not that this is punishment for your lack of faith in my soldering abilities, but here’s thirty seconds of European Siren:

(Note, as there is no reward for watching the full video, you may want to skip to the halfway point which is when, in a dramatic plot twist, I adjust the potentiometer.)

Lots of other people have uploaded videos of this kit onto Youtube, so if you’re a eurosiren addict you’re in luck.

This kit really helped me overcome my ‘solderer’s block.’ I may get the AM/FM radio kit next, to help with my ‘multimeterer’s block.’

And here’s the Amazon link: Elenco Amerikit Learn to Solder Kit.

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About engineerzero

Once and future engineer.
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