HDK Tips & Tricks

Make any littleBits module you dream up!

WHEN WORKING WITH THE PROTO MODULE

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1. If you’re planning to make an INPUT module (a module that changes the signal traveling through your littleBits circuit), remove the center jumper (SIG) from the Proto module. Connect a wire to the center position of the IN screw terminal. This is the input signal to your new circuit. Connect a wire to the center position of the OUT screw terminal. This is the output signal from your new circuit. Always remember to connect ground (leftmost position on either screw terminal) and power (rightmost position on either screw terminal) to your new circuit as well.

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2. If you’re planning to make an OUTPUT module (a module that uses the signal traveling through your littleBits circuit but does not change it), make sure all jumpers are installed on your Proto module. They should be oriented vertically, or perpendicular to the direction of your circuit. Connect a wire to the center position of either the IN or OUT screw terminal. This is the input signal to your new circuit. Always remember to connect ground (leftmost position on either screw terminal) and power (rightmost position on either screw terminal) to your new circuit as well.

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3. If you’d like to measure the current draw of your littleBits circuit chain (or whatever follows the Proto module), remove the VCC jumper, put your multimeter in current mode, and then connect or touch the red probe to VCC (rightmost) of the IN screw terminal while touching the black probe to VCC (rightmost) of the OUT screw terminal.

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4. The Proto module is great for probing with a multimeter to see what your circuits are doing! Put your multimeter in voltage mode, touch the black probe to GND (leftmost) of either the IN or OUT screw terminal and put the red probe where you’d like to see the voltage level. It’s often useful to probe SIG (center) either on the IN or OUT screw terminal to see what signal your littleBits circuit is sending from module to module.

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5. If you want more surface area than the perf module has to offer has but still want to keep your circuitry connected directly vs. breaking out to a breadboard, we have a great trick for you!

Remove all the center jumpers from the proto module and add a right angle female header in their place. Then, you can solder a perf board (any size of your choosing) to the female header. This is great because you are still able to keep the proto module within the modularity of the littleBits system while adding more space for soldered components. You also have access to the screw terminals as test points.

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WHEN WORKING WITH THE PERF MODULE

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1. On the perf module, only the VCC and ground pins are pre-wired, so always make sure the other pins are wired point to point with jumpers. IMG_6023LR

2. Because the perf module is so small, we like to use a hemostat as a tiny vice to hold it in place while soldering.

3. Want to roll like a Bitster engineer? Keep your components looking neat and organized by soldering components on both the top and bottom of the perf module (i.e. try doing the signal routing on top and the power routing on the bottom).

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4. If you’re using integrated circuits (ICs, chips), consider using sockets so you can reuse your chips or replace them if they get damaged.

WHEN WORKING WITH BIT SNAPS

1. Make your own modules by attaching bitSnaps to either end of your printed circuit board. They allow you to snap modules together with ease and prevent you from connecting modules the wrong way.

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2. bitSnaps are made of ABS plastic, but also have magnetic parts. When soldering, the magnets may pull the plastic bitSnap towards the soldering iron and burn the plastic, so be careful!

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3. Use the colored stickers to identify your new module as either power, input, wire, or output.

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