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The Animated Ghost kit is a great way to learn more about electronics and soldering. It’s really easy to put together and the end result is a great addition to your Halloween decorations. Let’s get started.

The things you need:

The things you don’t need, but are great to have:

Step 1 : Take inventory

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Spread out all the parts and take a look through the instructions. It’s always a good idea to check out all the steps prior to starting.

Step 2 : Add the resistors

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I added all the resistors at once. The board is so big, you can really add a lot of parts and solder them all at once.

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Now that’s a dirty soldering iron! Remember to wipe your soldering iron often.Step 3 : Connect the motor

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This small part of the circuit board gets snapped off and is soldered to the motor’s axle. It’s what makes the ghost move.

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Start by roughening up the motor’s axle with a file.

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Next, roughen up the sides of the motor. This helps the solder stick a lot better.

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Finally, heat up the motor and the circuit board with your soldering iron and then add a lot of solder. More is better!

Step 4 : Add some more components

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Next, I added the LEDs, capacitors, microphone, and transistors as described in the instructions. Again, I combined steps and soldered it all in at once.

Step 5 : Add some power

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The battery pack is attached using the supplied nut and bolt. After attaching the battery holder, solder the red and black wires to the board. Easy!

Step 6 : Add bar to motor

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Remember that little piece of circuit board you snapped off. Well, now it’s time to attach it to the motor. First add the supplied nut & bolt to one end and solder the other end to the motor’s axle.

Step 7 : Prep, solder, and glue the speaker

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The kit comes with (2) wires that need to be soldered to the speaker. After soldering the wires to the speaker go ahead and solder them to the circuit board. Finally place the speaker in the hole on the board.

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I used hot glue to mount the speaker. You can use almost any glue that bonds metal.

Step 8 : Enjoy

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The kit took less than an hour to complete and the included instructions were easy to follow. It’s a fun little project, and a great way to get into soldering. Make sure to stop by the Maker SHED at Maker Faire and check it out in person.

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One last thing! The kit comes with a piece of fabric to make your project look like a ghost. [I prefer the look of the bare circuit board]

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


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Comments

  1. vyapoona says:

    I followed all the instructions as given. But the kit does not seem to work. May be a bad component? Any ideas/suggestions to figure out what the issue is?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      @vyapoona

      Make sure to check that you used the right resistors in the right places. Also, check that the IC is inserted properly (notch is on bottom when inserted). Check all the solder joints and the batteries. Finally, turn the sensitivity knob all the way to the left?

      Hope this helps.

  2. Mike says:

    When you first start out in electronics, go buy a $100 soldering iron station.

    It will just save you so much in the long run.

    I still have my Hakko iron with chisel tip. I use it for smd and through hole. Just imagine a felt tip marker, you can make multiple size lines.

    A nice iron also keeps that silvery coating longer. Buy a nice one that has temp control. It might be expensive for a first time person, but the respect you treat that iron with and the years of service it will bring you is beyond any the savings of any $9 Pencil iron.

  3. keithO says:

    Has anyone convinced Velleman to share the source code for this? It would be a big help for those of us that want to change its behavior.

  4. The Eldonsmith says:

    Not a criticism, more a topic of discussion

    I was an electronics engineer for a number of years and my work had to be assessed to BS5750 approved standards

    What was a strict no no was to insert solder then trim as this exposed the untinned copper to flux residues, oxgen etc and could lead to tubing and joint failure. We had to insert, trim then solder so that the end of the conductor was wetted with solder.

    Any comments??

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      @The Eldonsmith

      That does sound correct….luckily my standards are a lot lower than BS5750 approved standards. Soldering on medical equipment, avionics, etc would be much different….my studio is hardly ISO 9000! :)