Electrical Assembly

Gather Materials 

A quick intro to get started.

Introduction video
This short video introduces the Thimble electronic compass.

Gather the materials below and get ready to build your compass!

What's in the box?
An overview of what's in the kit.


All Parts
All Parts
Electronic Compass PCB
200Ω resistors
Red LEDs
10-pos stackable header
8-pos stackable header
6-pos stackable header
4xAA battery pack
Double sided tape
Electronic Compass PCB 1
200Ω resistors 16
Red LEDs 16
10-pos stackable header 1
8-pos stackable header 2
6-pos stackable header 1
4xAA battery pack 1
Double sided tape 1

Tools you'll need

Soldering Iron
Solder Wire
Wire Cutters
How to Use a Soldering Iron
A short instructional video to learn how to use a soldering iron safely and properly

Soldering the Resistors 

Place all 16 resistors along the outer rim of the shield. Make two 90 degree bends in the each resistor to form a U shape. Place the legs of each resistor through one of the R# holes. Once through, bend the legs out a bit so the resistor doesn't fall out. Flip the shield over and solder. Trim the legs after soldering.

Resistor video
Resistor video
Put both resistor legs through
Press it in all the way
Do the same for all 16 resistors
Turn over the PCB. Bend the resistor legs to keep them from falling out!
Solder each resistor leg
Cut away the extra wire while holding the ends
Do the same for all 16 resistors

Soldering the LEDs 

Place the 16 LEDs in each of the white circles on the outer rim of the shield. LEDs have polarity, which means that they only allow current in one direction. One leg of the LED is longer than the other. That is the positive leg. The shorter leg is the negative leg. Match the leg polarity to symbol on the shield when placing the LED. Once all LEDs are placed, flip over the shield and solder all 16 LEDs. Trim the legs like the resistors.

LED video
LED video
Put the LED through the PCB
Do the same for all 16 LEDs
Bend the LED legs in opposite directions to keep them from falling out
Solder each LED leg
Cut away the excess, again holding the ends

Soldering the Headers 

Place the headers in their appropriate sockets on the East and West sides of the compass. The plastic will be on the top face. Solder only one pin of each header in place, then turn the PCB over to the top to make sure the headers are straight, use the soldering iron to heat up the pin you soldered while simultaneously manipulating the plastic part so that it is not sitting at an angle. Once all are straight, you can solder the rest of the pins.

Soldering the headers video
Soldering the headers video
Identify where each header needs to go
Fit the headers in their appropriate slots
Solder ONE pin of each header
Hold the plastic end with one finger
While heating the one solder joint, manipulate the header from the plastic end
Do the same for all headers, and they should end up straight like this

Attaching the Battery Pack 

Next we'll attach the battery pack to the bottom of the Arduino. Note that the double sided tape may be difficult to remove and will leave residue on the bottom of the Arduino.

Attach Battery pack and Arduino Video
Attach Battery pack and Arduino Video
Tape the back of the battery pack
Peel the other side of the tape
Stick the battery pack to the back of the Arduino
Fit the compass shield into the Arduino
All done!