I’ve been meaning to blog about this for about two months, so here’s a bit of background.

Back in October, a friend (and coworker) of mine and I decided to start playing around with simple electronics in our spare time.  We both bought the Arduino starter kit from Adafruit and during our first meeting, quickly worked through the first few tutorial lessons at ladyada.net.  It didn’t take long before we decided to meet every Tuesday for lunch and hack on our new hobby.

In the 4 or 5 meetings we’ve had so far, we breadboarded an APC (video), scavenged spare parts off a CD-ROM drive and he started putting together a motor shield, among other things.

Sara got me a soldering iron for Christmas and I’ve been accumulating the necessary tools over the past few weeks, and this past weekend I finally felt ready to do something serious.

When we go up to visit Sara’s Grandma, they usually go out thrift store shopping and leave me at home to entertain myself.  I usually read or watch TV, but this time, I set up a small work area and proceeded to go through some of the ladyada.net tutorials.  I first learned how to use my multimeter.  I hadn’t ever used one, so I tested continuity, resistance and voltage on nearly everything I had.

Next, I used my soldering iron for the first time.  I joined a couple of jumper wires together with a hook in each and then soldered them together.  It was a little shaky at first, but I eventually made it stick.

With my new found skills, I proceeded to put my Arduino protoshield together. It took me almost two hours, but by the end I had made more than 70 connections and tested them all for continuity.

Here are a couple pictures of the finished shield first next to, then on top of my Arduino:

Arduino and ProtoShield separateArduino and ProtoShield together

After I finished the shield (and ate a bit of lunch), I cleaned up my work area and pursued other activities until Sara returned from her shopping.  I learned in Junkbots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels that walkmans and discmans were good candidates for scavenging parts, so Sara picked up a few used ones while she was out.  I spent a good bit of time in the evening disassembling them and I was pleasantly surprised to see all the good parts these little devices offer.  I was also surprised at how different each of the three were internally.

All in all, it was a good day of electronics nerdery.