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Falken

Electronic science kits, did you have any?

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Browsing the Interwebs I recently found a reference to those science kits that exisited here in Germany. Philips and Kosmos at all. I had the "Kosmos Junior-Elektrotechnik" I posted a picture of. 🙂 What were the ones in your part of the world? Did you guys also had some in your youth?

Wandering around I found out that there are hardly any that deal with electronics nowadays or on a _very_ basic level. Which is a shame, thinking of Ben Eaters videos I thought I'll go look for something about computer technology or so in the vein of these old sets. Philips doesn't make them anymore at all and Kosmos (big company still making science kits for kids) also basically has abandoned electronics as a topic. Arduinos and Raspberries rule. Which is not a bad thing but not what I am looking for.

But I found one that actually does that, with a NAND-Gate 4093, JK-Flipflop 4027 a 4040. It's not a complete computer in the end as far as I can tell but the closest I can get. I think I found something to fiddle with at my next birthday. 😄 Franzis Verlag came to the rescue. I'm curious how it will turn out.

franz3.jpg

junior3.jpg

Edited by Falken

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35 minutes ago, desertfish said:

I had this!

Oh, nice. That were originally the Philipps ones, Schuco took them over beginning of the 80s.

 

1 hour ago, SlithyMatt said:

Now, I got this one for my daughter:

That looks like a fun one. I'm sure she'll have lots of fun with it.

 

 

Edited by Falken

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Yeah mine was a  Philips one.  Dutch .  I couldn't find a picture of the proper branded one that wasn't a tiny smeary thumbnail

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2 minutes ago, desertfish said:

Yeah mine was a  Philips one.  Dutch .  I couldn't find a picture of the proper branded one that wasn't a tiny smeary thumbnail

Look here for information overload on these, all the info and pics one could want (or not) (unfortunately only in german).

http://norbert.old.no/kits/

🙂

I was amazed to find out, their more komplex kits at one point included a real cathode ray tube, so you could build a complete TV:

http://norbert.old.no/kits/ee2000/ee2007.html

 

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ah i found that site via google, but all the images are really tiny

 

edit: wait, what? a CRT? Isn't that dangerous high voltage stuff?

Edited by desertfish

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1 hour ago, desertfish said:

edit: wait, what? a CRT? Isn't that dangerous high voltage stuff?

What I remember from physics class, the voltage you need depends on the size and intended brightness of the image. This one seems quite small and the specs of the kit speak of 12 x 1,5V Monocells (Size D nowadays)  and it contains a transformer. It was in a plastic case, so no touching. Definitively something for older kids.

But yes, they had some interresting stuff at some time. Like some early radio kits actually containing instructions how to make a transmitter. 📻

If you want weird: ☢️

1929330393_GilbertU-238AtomicEnergyLaboratory.jpg.26542484bd6407710dc6b3793864c8b1.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_U-238_Atomic_Energy_Laboratory

(shudder)

 

Edited by Falken
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3 hours ago, SlithyMatt said:

Elenco-EP-130.thumb.jpg.6657e8ca99deb086e6c88cae3bcf8bbb.jpg

If I didn't have one of those as a kid, myself, then I had something very close to it. I specifically recall the springs. That said, I found that I didn't really learn a whole lot from it. 😛 I'd connect up the projects, but never bothered to make sense of why things were connected the way they were. Definitely something I wish my parents had been more involved with, but then I think it was a gift from one of my uncles.

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13 hours ago, Falken said:

If you want weird:

When I see that, I hear Fallout's radio atomic songs from my speakers..... "Uranium Feeeeeverrr....."

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I never had the ones with the springs. I did have a Logix-Kosmos kit, as seen here:

https://www.sportscards.com/item/vintage-logix-kosmos-science-fun-experiments-in-electronics-1973-incomplete/123293079211

 

I also had a RadioShack 28-280 Electronics Learning Lab that actually includes a breadboard; I built a few test circuits on that; I keep thinking about getting another one, since having the breadboard, LEDs, and buttons all integrated is super handy.

 

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I had SO many of these growing up, they were by far some of my favorite "toys" of the late 70's and 80's. It was so long ago now that I really can't remember all of them. Though I did have the 160-in-1 Science Fair Kit posted by SlithyMatt, hard to forget that one, it was such a well built kit. When I was growing up, a friend of my family owned and operated the local Radio Shack, so I was in there all the time, and got to try a lot of the kits as they hit the shelves. In fact, most all the kits I owned came from there, or Sears.

Like I said, I had so many, some multi-kits, and others were single devices (mainly radios), but they are what lead to my love of electronics, and what I learned from those kits allowed me to fix a lot of old hardware that would have otherwise ended up in the waste bin.

For a while there I was making a lot of my own devices for different things, sometimes just for fun. I'm not sure if you can still get them but you used to be able to buy PCB etching kits. Basically, you would "draw" your circuit on a copper coated board, submerge it in an acid solution, and the areas not covered my the ink would be eaten away, leaving your circuit paths. Drill the holes, solder your parts, done. I used to find that so fun. Of course, now with PCB kits so readily available, and companies like PCB Way, there is really no need for etching.

Sadly, none of my kids really got into any of this. They just come to me when something stops working. lol

I do miss it sometimes. 🙂

Edited by Strider
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While we etched some things on occasion, we mainly used hole matrix boards (if that tranlation for "Lochrasterplatine" is right 🙂 ). But it was my father who went into electronics and I never did, I go to him if something stops working, at least the more complex things. 🙂 I only now discover electronics for myself a bit. Probably to late to gain any real proficiency but a bit.

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12 minutes ago, rje said:

Very similar to Matt's, I had this one:

I think they are basically the same, just the 160 one has some cosmetic changes and 10 additional projects in the manual.

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1 hour ago, SlithyMatt said:

I think they are basically the same, just the 160 one has some cosmetic changes and 10 additional projects in the manual.

The solar cell in the 160 kit is better!

 

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On 1/29/2021 at 6:41 PM, Falken said:

"The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a very dangerous toy lab set that was produced by Alfred Carlton Gilbert, who was an American athlete, magician, toy-maker, business man, and inventor of the well-known Erector Set. The Atomic Energy Lab was released by the A. C. Gilbert Company in 1950. The kit's intention was to allow children to create and watch nuclear and chemical reactions using radioactive material."

 

WOW.

 

 

Edited by rje

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@FalkenIt  just shocks me that at one point, we thought radioactive toys were a good idea. 😛

After reading this thread, I started looking around at kits still available, and I ran across this one...

 

91X5Kblc1PL._AC_SL1500_.thumb.jpg.a84ff2a43a06561f98c3b0dec4253831.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.com/Maxitronix-200-in-One-Electronic-Project-Lab/dp/B0002AHR04/

I had a similar one back in the early 90's, though I don't recall it costing so much, and I can't remember the brand. Though it was probably from Radio Shack since most of mine were.

I have actually started buying a lot of "soldering project kits" to do, just for fun. I love to solder and build, and don't get to do it nearly enough. haha

Edited by Strider

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I had a couple of the "springies" types which I think were rebadged Radio Shack ones.

Looking at it with the benefit of hindsight two similar things were probably more important. I remember having a kit that did electrical experiments rather than electronics when I was about 9 or so, and that taught me a lot because it had 'proper' electronics rather than just building to a pattern, stuff about current and serial parallel resistors, even though the results were less exciting on paper.

The other thing is the Ladybird book "How to make a Transistor Radio" https://www.petervis.com/Radios/making-a-transistor-radio-ladybird-book/making-a-transistor-radio-ladybird-book.html  though I never did get the regenerative circuit to work. I always fancied rebuilding it though the parts are very hard to get.

People make fun of Ladybird books these days but it's a quite astonishing book given that it's aimed at children.

It's a microcosm of the X16 concept. The arrival of the ZN414 meant radio design was much easier (and a barrage of radios in things like  matchboxes and tictac cases, but with one of those designs you don't have much idea what's going on underneath)

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The old ones I remember also had springs but blank boards where you had to put the springs on to form the circuits (look at desertfish posting ). The majority of kits nowadays seems to be aimed at very young kids though and they just click together components.kosmos-klick.jpg.9b075a69fd396728bac8ee4f57771685.jpg

 

There are also ones that I look at nowadays which employ breadboards. I greatly appreciate that but they are a nieche, you don't find them in toy stores.
breadboard2.jpg.502b2b8a84e945f7bde5d6549158f380.jpg
This is from a more complex one but they also have ones about basic electronics.
 

On 2/13/2021 at 8:39 AM, paulscottrobson said:

it's a quite astonishing book given that it's aimed at children

Yes, they sometimes had concepts in books that go way beyond what would nowadays be considered safe. I had an old  book about electronics aimed at teens that must have been from the 50s from which I built a battery. Not a poatoe battery but one with zink (from a local plumber), acid (must have been Ammoniumchloride)  (ordered through a pharmacy, way before the internet) and a coal graphite rod (so a basic zinc–carbon battery) . 😄

Did / do these Maxitronic and Elenco kits also show how the corresponding circuit diagrams would look like? Or just diagrams how to put together the wiring on the boards?

Edited by Falken

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On 2/10/2021 at 8:47 PM, rje said:

Very similar to Matt's, I had this one:

That wooden tray looks very familiar, although I'm sure that the kit I had was just a 50 project kit and was made by Tandy. So what next? A microscope/chemistry set thread? What a bunch of geeks we are 🙂

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