Make: Projects

Assemble the Game of Life Kit

This guide will show you how to build the Game of Life kit!

Steps

Step #1: Gather your Materials

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  • Open up the Game of Life bag of components and check to make sure that you have all of the necessary parts to assemble the kit.
  • Heat up your soldering iron, wet your sponge, and let's get ready to solder the Game of Life Kit!

Step #2: Insert all of the Resistors

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  • You have 16 resistors, all of the same resistance.
  • In locations R1 through R16, insert the LEDs into the circuit board. Resistors are not polarized, so it does not matter which direction you put them in.
  • Solder the resistors in.

Step #3: Clip the Resistor Leads

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  • It is important to clip the leads of the resistors to ensure that there are no shorts in the circuit.
  • Be sure to save one of these leads, because we will need to use it soon.

Step #4: Insert the IC Socket

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  • Note the notch on the end of the socket. Match this up with the notch on the silk-screened circuit board.
  • Insert the socket into its holes and make sure that it is flush with the PCB before soldering it in.
  • Then carefully solder the socket in, being careful not to bridge any solder pads.

Step #5: Inserting the LEDs

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  • You have 16 LEDs that you need to solder into the PCB.
  • LEDs are polarized, so it is important that you insert them correctly. The longer lead on the LED is the "+" lead. The shorter lead, also the side with the flat spot on the LED's case, is the "-" lead.
  • Insert all of the LEDs in, and solder them in. Once they are all soldered, clip their leads.

Step #6: Insert the Ceramic Capacitor

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Assemble the Game of Life Kit
  • In location C3, insert the small yellow ceramic capacitor.
  • This component is not polarized, so it does not matter in which direction you insert it.
  • Solder it in and then clip the leads.

Step #7: Jumping IC2

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  • Retrieve one of the leads you clipped from your resistors.
  • Bend it into a staple shape and thread it through the outer two holes in the location IC2. Refer to the image if you are confused. This is called jumping the chip.
  • Solder it in and then clip the leads.
  • Make sure that the wire is not in contact with the middle pad.

Step #8: Inserting the ON/OFF/RESET Button

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  • In the location marked ON/OFF, press the push-button switch down into the PCB. It should snap into place, and it does not matter in which direction you insert it.
  • Solder this switch in.

Step #9: Insert the Chip

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  • There is a notch on the chip, so make sure that you match up the notch on the socket with the notch on the chip.
  • You may need to bend the leads on the chip slightly in order for it to fit into the socket.
  • Press it into the socket and it should fit securely.

Step #10: Inserting the Battery Holder

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Assemble the Game of Life Kit
  • If you feel like the battery holder's leads are too long, feel free to shorten them...but not too much.
  • You will need to tin the leads with solder if you do this, however.
  • The red wire should go into the hole marked with the "+", while the black wire should be inserted into the hole marked with the "-".
  • You can insert the leads from the bottom up if you want the board to look a little cleaner.

Step #11: Test it out!

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  • Insert two AA batteries into the battery holder.
  • You will see the game start. If you press the ON/OFF button, it will reset into a checkerboard pattern.
  • Place some sticky tape on the back of the battery holder, and press it on to the back of the PCB.
  • Now you can keep it on your desk and play the Game of Life!