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Old 07-15-2011, 01:34 PM   #1
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Default Should DIYAutoTune.com offer a learn to solder kit?

This is an idea we've been kicking around, and MT's own Joe Perez recently gave it a new kick: Should we offer a cheap, simple kit for learning to solder? This would be an easy-to-solder PCB with some simple components, packaged like our MegaSquirt kits. We have been debating two options:

1. A little gizmo with blinking lights that doesn't really have any useful functions, but costs less than $10.

2. Something that has a limited automotive function, such as a shift light, fan controller, or narrow band O2 readout. This may cost a bit more, around $20 tops for something simple.

Which one would you guys prefer, and if we went with option 2, what sort of simple gadget would you like to see? It would probably just be a PCB, no case.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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I think this is a GREAT idea to get solder-retarded people like me to start learning to do this **** on our own so we can buy more of your diy kits.

I'd prefer option 2. Shift light sounds good. afr readout doesn't sound bad at all either. what about electronic det cans?
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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How low could you keep the price point if you combined 1 and 2? One piece just to practice on, and then a "project" that has a useful function to complete once you are getting more confident with your skills.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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10+20=30? lol
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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I was going to chime in and say "what, you didn't like my idea about the TV pong game?"

However, 18psi's suggestion about a cheap, simple filter / amplifier combo to drive a set of headphones would be massively useful.

The downside is that it's not going to provide as clear of an indication to the user that "yes, you assembled it properly" vs "nope, you fucked something up", as compared to a digital circuit with a display of some kind. An analog device might be improperly assembled and yet still provide an output, albeit one that it distorted or attenuated in some manner that is not obvious to a user who isn't a golden-ear and familiar with how it's supposed to sound.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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There was absolutely nothing wrong with your suggestion for the pong kit. In fact, I loved it! I also like the electronic 'bug' that crawls towards light. Just neither of those are automotive related. Not necessarily a deal breaker as much as out of our usual element. We had a couple of other ~$20 ideas as well that were automotive related (at least loosely).

Basically it's a skill and confidence builder for those new and/or uncomfortable with a soldering iron, and if we can also make it both inexpensive and fun, everyone wins.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:27 PM   #7
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Oh, don't take me too seriously. The Pong game suggestion was kind of a joke.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
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As a noob with very marginal solder skills, I would be all over this. If I'd had more confidence in my skill, I would have bought a kit for my MS2 rather than paying Brainy to build one for me.

Personal opinion here, but I think you would be better off if it was something semi-automotive related. People who visit DIYAutoTune are already into the automotive electrical thing, so stick with your market. Shift light sounds somewhat fun and could be useful, something like the Shift-I light thingus, but DIY.

I have a basic grasp of electrical theory, enough to look at a circuit diagram and figure it out, but you might want to think about adding some sort of explanation with the project. Telling me to put a capacitor in a circuit with a 555 timer is one thing, telling me why changing the value of the cap to make the LED blink at different rates is a whole another ball of wax. Come up with a dozen or so projects like this and you could sell them to kids for highschool electronics class projects.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:54 PM   #9
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keep it simple. make it mimic some of the transisitor circuits used for outputs and inputs and if someone wants to use it for an MS install, they can.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:48 PM   #10
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In for shift light under $20 kit. Seriously.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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I like the idea of building your own shift light, would it be a sequential shift light, or just a simple set to x RPMs and it comes on?
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:00 PM   #12
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shift light circuit would be easy. there's a few ways to implement different approachs to it.

hell i have enough outputs I could light up a different color for every 1000RPMs on my tach.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:42 PM   #13
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I'd buy a $20 shift light kit, for sure!
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:02 PM   #14
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Oooh, sequential shift light circuit for $20-ish? I CAN solder and I'd buy that. I think that's the ticket. Make it useful for noobs and desirable for the rest of us.
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:06 PM   #15
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+1 on shiftlight even though I already have one Arduino-based in my Spec car.
Also Brain: you only need one output (tach) for a LEDs per 1krpm, but needs more gizmo in the shiftlight
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:16 PM   #16
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yeah just didoes and crap will do it.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:13 AM   #17
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Is this a tach/shift light or just a light?

Like this:

Or this:


I think my solder skills are fine, it's just my consistency is off, a blank board with random diodes and resistors we could solder over and over again in a big line would be good.

Like this:
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:36 AM   #18
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As long as the kit walks the novice solderer (like me) through the various things I've read about here like "through mount" and "surface mount", etc. then I'm all for it.

I mean, I've soldered before when installing stereos and whatnot but it seems soldering on a circuit board would require more finesse.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
As long as the kit walks the novice solderer (like me) through the various things I've read about here like "through mount" and "surface mount", etc. then I'm all for it.

I mean, I've soldered before when installing stereos and whatnot but it seems soldering on a circuit board would require more finesse.
get a pencil tip for your iron, and really skinny silver solder. My first circuit board was my ms3 and it went great, with those above tips.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:44 AM   #20
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Thanks for the tips. I'd still want to practice on something less expensive first
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