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SpikenzieLabs Dice Kit Part 1

June 22, 2014

I'm Elisa Shoenberger and I’m building the SpikenzieLabs Dice kit, which is an electronic die that you tap or shake that rolls a number from 1-6. This particular kit was recommended as a good project for a beginner like me. I have had limited experience building electronics before; I did make my own LED light heart several years ago. But now it was dice time. This particular kit also had special significance for me. I’m a gamer and it’s really all about the dice rolls. 
This was the chaos that I was going to put into order.
Before I got started, I made sure to print the instructions from the SpikenzieLabs website.  This was essential. The instructions go step by step through the process. And there are handy photos. Then I had a refresh of training about the proper ways to solder by Mason Donahue at South Side Hackerspace in Bridgeport.
Then it was time to begin the creation of my electronic die. The first step was soldering the resisters to the PCB. There are three resistors of different resistance levels, six in total. You can tell the difference between them by the bands of color on the side of them. For each resistor, I slipped each leg into PCB and soldered them carefully. For the resistors, it didn't matter which leg went in which hole; however, this would matter later on with other pieces. Particular resistors went into specific holes marked on the PBC. It was a bit like paint by number, something that made me very appreciative. 
The second step was the connection of the diode. Unlike the resistors, diodes are directional so it mattered what side of the diode is attached to the PCB. So basically, I had to match the black end of it to the left side before soldering it. If it's backwards, the device won’t work.
After successfully attaching the diode, the third step was the red LED lights. These are tricky because you don't want to overheat them with the soldering gun. Like the diode, these are also directional. You have to put them into the right places or they won’t work. 
Thankfully, the LED lights have legs that are uneven so you know that the longer leg is positive while the shorter one is negative. This is really critical. I just had to match the positive end to the hole marked positive. I soldered six of the seven lights; the last one is soldered later to make it easier to install the battery holder.
Fourth, it was time install the PIC chip. It’s looks like a little box with several silver legs hanging off of it. Like the diode and the LED lights, direction matters here as well. I put the tiny little legs into the respective holes and carefully soldered each leg to the PCB. 
When I turned it over, I realized that I had gotten snake eyes! I had soldered the PIC chip backwards! 
But thankfully, my chips weren’t all on the table. (Okay, I’ll stop with the gambling metaphors). I was going to have to use the services of the solder sucker to de-solder the chip!

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