Hey, my name is Omar. I have never been given the chance to actually make something before, and I am very excited to join BlueStamp and see what I can create.
During the week that I have spent at BlueStamp, I have completed 4 starter projects; Voice Changer, TV-B-Gone, Light Organ and MintyBoost.
My first project was the Voice Changer. At first, I found it challenging because it was my first time working with a circuit board and using a soldering iron. A few hours later, after figuring out what goes where, I got the hang of it. The final design worked, however there was too much interference from the mic and the speaker and all I got was a deafening squeak. To fix this, I separated the mic from the speaker and taped them on different sides of a box. This reduced the interference, but not completely. My next step was to lower the sensitivity of the mic, and sure enough, it worked.
My second project was the TV-B-Gone. The TV-B-Gone is a remote that is capable of turning off any TV (works 99.99% of the time). Sound too good to be true? It’s basically a universal remote. The TV-B-Gone consists of a circuit board, two IC’s (integrated circuits), resistors (reduce current and voltage), capacitors (stores electrical energy), transistors (control current) and IR (infra-red) LED’s; all connected to a battery holder. Setting this project up was pretty straight forward, the instructions were helpful and everything was clearly labeled. TV-B-Gone works by flashing several IR signals (one for each make of TV) to the TV, which then reads the correct signal and follows the command. Ironically, TV-B-Gone also turns TV’s on!
My third project was the Light Organ. This was the hardest project out of the four. Mainly because it comes with a complicated circuit board, and none of the components were labeled. Nevertheless, I managed to survive it by looking at a picture that was provided, and searching up what each component roughly looks like. In case you don’t know, a light organ is a device that converts audio signals into rhythmic light effects. It consists of Yellow, Green and Red LED’s, an IC and a mic, all connected to a 9 volt battery. Similar to the voice changer, the mic was too sensitive, and ended up hearing people’s footsteps in a quiet room. So I had to change the sensitivity for it to work better.
My fourth and last project was the MintyBoost. In my opinion, this is the most useful project of the four. The MintyBoost consists of a USB port, transistors, capacitors and a pair of AA batteries; which all fit into a small mint box. MintyBoost allows you to charge your smartphone, whenever and wherever you want to. It works by converting the 3 volts supplied by the two batteries into 5 volts (only 5 volts can pass through a USB), allowing the electrical current to reach your smartphone and charge it up. One difficulty I encountered with this project is that I had to be careful when fitting the circuit inside the mint box. Since the box is made of metal, I had to make sure that no components were in contact with the box in order to protect the circuit. I had to re-stick the circuit board multiple times to be sure to not short circuit it.