How to make a flashlight with a Littlebits electronics board and a paper towel roll with your kids

Hi everyone,

Welcome back for another STEM tutorial.

In our last tutorial, we saw how to make a video game controller with a sweet potato and a Makey Makey electronic board. I hope that you and your children had a great time learning how to make a video game controller and tinker around.

Today's project will still be on electronics and we will see some principles of electronics but no worries. We'll go step-by-step.

Littlebits BBC - STEM Hands-on projects

The electronic board we will use today and your children as well to make the flashlight is made by Littllebits and the model is called BBC.

This model is no more produced (Since I bought it a few years ago) but it still does a great job and can sometimes be found on Ebay as a 2nd hand. But if you want a new version of the board, new models can be found on amazon for the kids with different flavors and themes (Iron man and more). Whatever model you buy, they all turn around tinkering, electronics and hands-on project. So let's get started.

What is in the Little bit BBC board

When you open this little box, you find mostly all you need to get started with electronics right away except chips. There are the modules:

  • 1 Battery

  • 1 Push button

  • 1 potentiometer

  • 1 Led

  • 1 buzzer (To make sound)

Only these things, open hundred or even thousand of possibilities of hands-on projects that can be made.

Get started with electronics - Littlesbits BBC

The minimum to get started with electronics is a battery. It powers all our portable device.

The second part which may be optional is a switch or a push-button to activate a actuator

The 3rd part is a the actuator. It is actually the part that make the action (A buzzer to make sound, a LED for light, a motor to move something and so on...).

Here is a quick schematic of the three of them:

The motor on the schematic can be replaced by another actuator (Led, buzzer, chip...)

Make a flashlight with Littlebits circuit board and paper towel roll

A flash light is very useful to access places where it's dark and we have no electricity. It may be in the underground, your car by night, some dark street and so one.

They have evolved during the year in size, technology used, yield and also shapes (squares, circles, rectangles, tubes)

The Flashlight we are about to make will use the following electronics components from the Littlebits board:

  • The battery ( To provide energy to our

  • The switch (to activate the circuit)

  • And the led (for the light)

On the hands-on side, you will need:

  • A small cup

  • A paper towel roll

  • tape

  • A rubber band (optional)

Make a hole at the bottom of the cup:

Tape it with the paper roll:

Connect all the electronics components from the Littlebits together as follow:

Tape the Led inside the tube:

And put the electronics outside the tube. You can decide to tape it on the tube or use the rubber Band.

Time to test our homemade flashlight

Now it's time for you to test it. If your are home, go to a dark place or to your bedroom and close all the windows. Now push the button.

Next project

You have a zillion possibility on how to modify this project, by adding a potentiometer. It can help dim the led's light or have brighter.

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