Gikfun Starlight Water Kit Project
Summary of Project
(I was not paid to do this review.)
I bought the Gikfun Starlight Water kit for about $9 from Amazon, and put it together. Here is the "before" parts picture:
Gikfun Starlight Water kit - parts
It is a simple design which uses an oscillator and a counter to light up LEDs, so that waves of light move away from the center. You can adjust a variable resistor to make the waves move faster or slower. It comes with a USB power cord, and also a battery pack. Here is a photo after construction:
Gikfun Starlight Water kit - after construction
It works great, looks cool, and my kids enjoy playing with it.
- No missing parts. Extra LEDs were included.
- Simple circuit design which is easy to understand. Includes a schematic.
- Results are nice looking and fun to play with.
- The included USB power cord is convenient if you want to try it without the bother of finding batteries.
- Soldering about eighty 3mm LEDs onto a PCB is rather tedious work. You will definitely want to use any tricks you can to speed the process up, like hooking an entire line of LEDs onto the board and then soldering the whole row in one pass. Even then you are looking at 1 to 1½ hours of just installing and soldering LEDs.
- The English in the instructions was very poor - very E2L, with a lot of mistakes.
- The kit also includes a battery pack, which is great, but the battery pack they picked is really cheap. It does not even have a cover over the batteries. I set that one aside and replaced it with a different battery pack that has a cover and an on-off switch.
The pads for most of the components are very small and close together. So I recommend doing the soldering using a magnifying glass, and a soldering iron that has a narrow tip, either curved at the end, or like a flat-head screwdriver.
The included LEDs follow the normal convention of having the short lead be the lead connected to ground. However, the flat cut on the LEDs are on the opposite side of what I am used to seeing. So, you might not want to get those LEDs mixed into the rest of your stock.