Solder project kits are a fun way to practice your soldering skills. And because it’s almost Christmas, we will have look at the “Geekcreit® DIY Full Color Christmas Snowman Music Box Kit” from Banggood this time. This Christmas Music Box kit only uses DIP components so it is easy to solder and therefore suitable for beginners.
The kit includes a printed circuit board (PCB), a small bag of components and a mini USB cable with a length of about 90cm. You can use a phone charger or power bank as a power supply for the assembled Music Box. The PCB is about 20cm x 4cm in size and shows 10 snowman images and the text “Christmas!” on the front. The layout of the components and their orientation is printed on the back.
The included components are:
10 RGB LEDs (5mm)
1 PNP transistor (S9012)
1 microcontroller (IAP 15w413AS)
1 mini USB socket
The kit doesn’t come with instructions or a manual. This is not really a problem because the PCB has all the necessary markings and everything is pretty self-explanatory But if you really do want instructions then you can download them from the Banggood product page, or follow the steps below.
Christmas music box kit features
The assembled Music Box plays 14 different Christmas songs, see the list below. Every song has it’s own colorful animated backlight LED effect. Every time you power it up it plays a different song. One of the two switches will let you turn off the buzzer so you can enjoy the light show without the music. The other switch is the power on/off switch.
We wish you a Merry Christmas
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
When a child is_born
Christmas blessing song
O Christmas Tree
I saw three ships
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Joy To The World
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Assembling and soldering the kit
Assembly is very straight forward. As the instructions mention, be aware of the following:
Keep the temperature of the soldering iron below 320 °C (608°F)
Solder quickly so you will not melt and damage the LEDs
Make sure you solder everything on the back side of the PCB, not the front side (with the snowmen)
For soldering the components, I did not follow the order suggested in the instructions. I prefer soldering the low profile components (like resistors) first, then working towards the tallest ones (the buzzer and USB connector). But the PCB doesn’t have many components close together so it doesn’t really matter. If you are not sure, just follow the instructions.
So I started with soldering the four resistors:
The orientation of resistors on the PCB doesn’t matter. And yes, I know the top resistor is soldered a bit crooked, you should do a better job and solder it level to the board :p
Next, I soldered the single transistor. Make sure you match the flat side of the transistor to the flat side of the symbol printed on the PCB. After that, I soldered the two switches of which the orientation is not important.
Then, I soldered the microcontroller. Make sure the notch on the chip matches the marking on the PCB. After the microcontroller, I soldered all the LEDs. The tallest pin of the LED goes into the hole with the square pad. Try to solder the chip and LEDs quickly because excessive heat might damage them.
Then I soldered the buzzer. Match the + sign on the buzzer to the + on the PCB. And finally, the mini USB connector.
The finished project
Hopefully, your finished project now looks like this.
Power it up, and hope that the magic smoke won’t escape. If everything went well, you should be greeted with a glorious RGB LED light show.
This was a fun and easy kit to build. You should have no problems soldering this project. The PCB is of good quality and there are only a handful of different components. Next time we will try something more challenging!