By Xiang-Yang Lu
DIY kit by Arduino
Among the different series of Arduino development boards, the Arduino UNO is the most popular. Even though Arduino has been launching new series of development boards and classified UNO under the Classic series, UNO still holds a special place in the hearts of many Makers.
As many beginners start from using the UNO development board, Arduino rolls out its official development kit- Arduino Make Your UNO Kit (about $58.5). The kit comes with several printed circuit boards and electronic components. Beginners can learn to solder tags on circuit boards with a welding torch, making their own development board.
There is a printed circuit board for users to practice soldering, and the soldered circuit board has no electronic functions.
In addition, there is a small piece of debugging tool, which can also be soldered by users. The difference is that this piece of tool can be hooked up to power for users to check whether the soldered parts can function properly.
To allow users to manually solder all the electronic parts, all the components in the kit feature the traditional through-hole design. The finished boards will be slightly different from the ready-made ones for their appearance, but the functions are the same.
The Arduino official website provides a soldering instruction page with 3D vision illustrations, and there are also tutorial videos, which may help users get started faster.
In fact, after soldering all the parts and the power-on test, no applications can be developed just yet. Therefore, the kit comes with an expansion board- Synth Shield, which can serve as synthesizer to generate and mix electronic audio signals.
This Synth Shield also needs to be soldered by users, while there are also speakers and knobs to be used. After soldering the parts, assemble the Synth Shield to the Arduino UNO board, and voila! There is an electronic synthesizer.
Trial after assembly
Yet, completing the hardware ais still not the end. Arduino website supports a test program to be downloaded to personal computer, where users can use Arduino IDE, a development program, to upload the sample program to the Arduino UNO for execution. Only then is the music synthesizer really completed.
The kit also comes with a piece of cardboard that can be folded by hand to make a shell for the synthesizer.
In fact, self-soldering kits for electronic applications were available at Guanghua Digital Plaza along time, a mall district selling all kinds of IT components in Taipei, Taiwan. However, there were only simple hardcopy instructions, and the packaging quality is not as good as that of the Arduino Make Your UNO Kit. There is a chance that the new development kits coming out can make a difference, if there are new designs of packaging and promotion on online multimedia platforms.