Foraging

Background
The parts that you will most likely be able to forage for are the potentiometer (knob), leds (lights), the jar, the power cable/extension cord ...

Prerequisites
Required: Soldering or Desoldering Iron, Knife or wire-cutters, power supply or batteries
Helpful: Pliers, Ohm meter

Instructions
Commons parts that you will be able to forage for:

  • Potentiometer (knob)
    1. Find any knob (ex: volume knob from an old stereo)
    2. Make sure that the knob is a potentiometer - it should:
      • Have 3 terminals to solder to with wire leads coming from it
      • note: If it has 6 this is alright too, sometimes the potentiometers are stereo and have two identical components inside

      • Turn smoothly, not in small even steps
      • Stop after turning about 3/4 of the way around (some differ, but this is pretty standard
    3. Make sure that the potentiometer is linear
  • LEDs (lights)
    1. Locate some electronics that has a sizable LED.
      note: The bigger ones tend to be easier to work with.
    2. Melt or remove the solder from the LED leads and pull the LED off of the board.
      note: Try to keep soldering time to a minimum to avoid damaging the LED. Avoid soldering in one spot for more than 10 seconds at a time.
    3. Look on the board where the LED came from; Read the polarity from there if it is labeled
    4. If the LED had red and black wires connecting to it, the red is most likely positive, and the black negative.
      note: the following connections can be made by hand, holding everything in place, or if the leads are long enough, by wrapping them around each other. The circuit only needs to be connected briefly to determine the polarity of the LED.

    5. Connect one end of the LED to the positive terminal of the power supply
    6. Connect the other end of the LED to a 470 ohm resistor
    7. Connect the other end of the resistor to the negative terminal of the power supply
    8. If the LED does not light up at all when these connections are made, try swapping the connections from the LED so that a the lead that was on the battery is now on the resistor and visa versa.
    9. If the LED still doesn't light up, ensure that the connections are all being made and then try a different LED
  • Jar
    1. Find a jar. The opening should be big enough to fit the circuit board which is 2 square inches (not finalized). We used a salsa jar, and it has worked quite well
    2. Ensure that you will be able to drill a few holes into the lid without compromising its structural support. You will most likely want to drill at least 3 or 4 1/4" holes into it.
    3. Clean the jar and optionally scrape off the paint on the lid and any stickers on the side
  • Power cable/extension cord
    • Find a sturdy extension cord which is:
      • cuttable - you need to be able to cut this cord.
      • 3 pronged - It should have 3 prongs on both ends. A 2 to 3 prong converter will not work and will be unsafe

Results
You've scavenged as many parts from old, unserviceable hardware as possible.

Next Steps
Order the parts that you weren't able to find and make sure you have all of the necessary tools