Electronics Merit Badge: Class Night #2

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This summer I’m teaching the Electronics Merit badge for Boy Scout Troop 6.

The first night was almost all “book learning” with me standing in front of the group discussing the basics of electricity, current, voltage, resistance, and the different electronic components. In hindsight, it was too many slides and not enough “hands-on” – which I will change for the next time I offer this merit badge.
Night two contained some basic review, a discussion on the Binary number system and electronic gates. Once  we finished that, we moved on to measurement devices and soldering – and things were much more fun!
The older scouts were off at camp this week, so we had the younger Scouts present – they did a FANTASTIC job with measurement and soldering – I was very impressed.
First, the boys used multimeters to measure voltage from a AA battery and one of the completed Electronic Merit badge kits. Then they measured resistance of some loose resistors.

Next, we covered soldering basics using the material in the BSA Electronics Merit badge book, and the Soldering is Easy comic by Mitch Altman and MightOhm that local group FamiLAB uses to teach soldering to children and adults. FamiLAB provided the soldering gear from their classes…if you live in Central Florida and want to learn to solder – check out their classes page

I found some SLA battery charging circuits at Skycraft Surplus, so each boy was able to examine the circuit, then remove components from it…

My friend and coworker Jeff signed up as a Merit Badge counselor to help me facilitate the class – Thanks, Jeff!

While at Skycraft, I also picked up some small perfboards and some inexpensive ICs for the boys to practice their soldering. The Electronics Merit Badge kit contains an IC, so I wanted them to be ready to soldering it in the next class.

My boy decided his MakerFaire shirt would be perfect for a soldering class…I must agree 🙂

My nephew is staying with us for the summer, and he’s sitting in on the class and learning along with the Boy Scouts…

Brian Enochs brought a circuit board from an old TV and a pump desoldering iron so the boys could remove components from it…
Thanks to the boys who participated in the class, and the adults who stayed to help the boys learn. Stay tuned for more fun with this group!

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