Elenco | SCBE75 | Owner Manual | Elenco SCBE75 Snaptricity® Owner Manual

Elenco SCBE75 Snaptricity® Owner Manual
Copyright © 2011 by ELENCO® All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced
by any means; electronic, photocopying, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher.
REV-A Revised 2011
Patent #‘s: 7,144,255, 7,273,377, & other patents pending
753303
Table of Contents
For the best learning experience, do the projects in order.
Basic Troubleshooting
1
Advanced Troubleshooting
8
Parts List
2
Project Listings
9
How to Use It
3
Projects 1 - 79
About Your Snaptricity® Parts
4
Other Snap Circuits® Projects
DO’s and DON’Ts of Building Circuits
7
!
WARNING FOR ALL PARTS WITH A ! SYMBOL - Moving parts. Do not touch the
motor or fan during operation. Do not lean over the motor. Do not launch the fan at
people, animals, or objects. Eye protection is recommended.
WARNING: SHOCK HAZARD - Never
connect your Snaptricity® set to the
electrical outlets in your home in any way!
!
WARNING: CHOKING
HAZARD - Small parts. Not
for children under 3 years.
Basic Troubleshooting
1. Most circuit problems are due to incorrect assembly, always
double-check that your circuit exactly matches the drawing for it.
2. Be sure that parts with positive/negative markings are positioned
as per the drawing.
3. Be sure that all connections are securely snapped.
4. Try replacing the batteries.
5. If the motor spins but does not balance the fan, check that there
is a black plastic piece with three prongs on the motor shaft. In
case it is damaged or lost, a spare is included with your kit. Pry
the broken one off with a screwdriver and push the spare one on
the shaft.
ELENCO® is not responsible for parts damaged due to incorrect wiring.
Note: If you suspect you have damaged parts, you can follow the
Advanced Troubleshooting procedure on page 8 to determine which
ones need replacing.
-1-
10 - 88
!
Conforms
to ASTM
F963
90
WARNING: Always check
your wiring before turning on
a circuit.
Never leave a
circuit unattended while the
batteries are installed. Never
connect additional batteries
or any other power sources
to your circuits. Discard any
cracked or broken parts.
WARNING:
!
This product contains a small magnet. Swallowed magnets can stick
together across intestines causing serious infections and death.
Seek immediate medical attention if magnet is swallowed or inhaled.
! Batteries:
• Use only 1.5V AA type, alkaline
batteries (recommended, not
included).
• Insert batteries with correct
polarity.
• Non-rechargeable
batteries
should not be recharged.
Rechargeable batteries should
only be charged under adult
supervision, and should not be
recharged while in the product.
• Do not mix alkaline, standard
(carbon-zinc), or rechargeable
(nickel-cadmium) batteries.
• Do not mix
batteries.
old
and
new
• Remove batteries when they are
used up.
• Do not short circuit the battery
terminals.
• Never throw batteries in a fire or
attempt to open its outer casing.
• Batteries
are
harmful
if
swallowed, so keep away from
small children.
Parts List (Colors and styles may vary) Symbols and Numbers
Qty.
ID
r1
Name
Symbol
Part #
Qty.
ID
Name
Base Grid
(11.0” x 7.7”)
6SCBG
r1
M1
Motor
Symbol
Part #
6SCM1
r3
1
1-Snap Wire
6SC01
r1
Fan Blade
6SCM1F
r6
2
2-Snap Wire
6SC02
r1
String
6SCM1S
r3
3
3-Snap Wire
6SC03
r1
Spare Motor Top
6SCM1T
r1
4
4-Snap Wire
6SC04
r1
r1
5
5-Snap Wire
6SC05
r1
6
6-Snap Wire
r1
B3
Battery Holder - uses
3 1.5V type AA (not included)
Electromagnet
6SCM3
r1
Iron Core Rod
(46mm)
6SCM3C
6SC06
r1
Bag of Paper Clips
6SCM3P
6SCB3
r1
Thin Rod
MWK01P5
6SCCOM
r1
Grommet
662510
Meter
6SCM5
6SCMAG
M3
r1
Copper Electrode
6SCEC
r1
r1
Zinc Electrode
6SCEZ
r1
Magnet
r1
Iron Filings
6SCIF
r1
Nut-snap
6SCNS
r1
Jumper Wire (Black)
6SCJ1
r1
S2
Press Switch
6SCS2
r1
Jumper Wire (Red)
6SCJ2
r2
S5
Slide Switch
6SCS5
Lamp
6SCL4
r3
L4
M5
S
Compass
N
r1
You may order additional / replacement parts at our
website: www.snapcircuits.net
-2-
How to Use It
Snaptricity® uses building blocks with snaps to
build the different electrical and electronic
circuits in the projects. Each block has a
function: there are switch blocks, lamp blocks,
battery blocks, different length wire blocks, etc.
These blocks are different colors and have
numbers on them so that you can easily
identify them. The blocks you will be using are
shown as color symbols with level numbers
next to them, allowing you to easily snap them
together to form a circuit.
You need a power source to build each circuit.
This is labeled B3 and requires three (3) “AA”
batteries (not included with the Snaptricity® kit).
Some circuits use the jumper wires to make
unusual connections. Just clip them to the
metal snaps or as indicated.
A large clear plastic base grid is included with
this kit to help keep the circuit blocks properly
spaced. You will see evenly spaced posts that
the different blocks snap into. The base has
rows labeled A-G and columns labeled 1-10.
Note: While building the projects, be careful
not to accidentally make a direct connection
across the battery holder (a “short circuit”),
as this may damage and/or quickly drain the
batteries.
For Example:
This is the switch block which is green and has
the marking S2 on it. The part symbols in this
booklet may not exactly match the appearance
of the actual parts, but will clearly identify
them.
This is a wire block which is blue and comes in
different wire lengths.
This one has the number 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , or
6 on it depending on the length of the wire
connection required.
There is also a 1-snap wire that is used as a
spacer or for interconnection between different
layers.
-3-
Next to each part in every circuit drawing is a
small number in black. This tells you which
level the component is placed at. Place all
parts on level 1 first, then all of the parts on
level 2, then all of the parts on level 3, etc.
About Your Snaptricity® Parts
(Part designs are subject to change without
notice).
BASE GRID
The base grid is a platform for
mounting parts and wires.
It functions like the
printed
circuit
boards used in
most
electronic
products, or like how
the walls are used for
mounting the electrical
wiring in your home.
SNAP WIRES & JUMPER WIRES
The blue snap wires
are wires used to
connect components.
They are used to
transport electricity and do not
affect circuit performance. They
come in different lengths to allow orderly
arrangement of connections on the base grid.
BATTERY HOLDER
The batteries (B3) produce an electrical voltage
using a chemical reaction. This “voltage” can be
thought of as electrical pressure, pushing
electricity through a circuit just like a pump
pushes water through pipes. This voltage is
much lower and much safer than that used in
your house wiring.
Using more batteries
increases the “pressure”, therefore, more
electricity flows.
The funny marking on the battery holder is the
standard battery symbol used in electrical wiring
diagrams. These wiring diagrams are called
schematics, and are used in everything from
house wiring to complex radios.
The press switch (S2)
connects (pressed,
“ON”)
or
disconnects (not
pressed, “OFF”)
Press Switch (S2)
the wires in a circuit.
When ON it has no effect on circuit performance.
It turns on electricity just like a faucet turns on
water from a pipe.
The electrical symbol for a press switch is shown
here.
Press Switch Symbol
SLIDE SWITCH
Slide Switch (S5)
Battery Symbol
The red and black
jumper wires make
flexible connections
for times when using
the snap wires would be difficult.
They also are used to make
connections off the base grid (like the projects
using water).
Wires transport
electricity just like
pipes are used to
transport water.
The colorful plastic coating protects them and
prevents electricity from getting in or out.
PRESS SWITCH
The slide switch
(S5)
connects
(ON) the center
snap to one of the
other two snaps.
When connected it has
no effect on circuit
performance. It directs electricity just like a value
controls water in a pipe.
The electrical symbol is shown here. It resembles
the symbol for a door used in architect drawings
for a house.
Slide Switch Symbol
Battery Holder (B3)
Engineers call this type of switch a SPDT
(Single-Pole Double-Throw), representing how
one point can be connected to either of two
others.
-4-
About Your Snaptricity® Parts
METER
The meter (M5) is an important measuring
device. You will use it to measure the voltage
(electrical pressure) and current (how fast
electricity is flowing) in a circuit.
Inside the meter there is a fixed magnet and a
moveable coil around it. As current flows through
the coil, it creates a magnetic field. The
interaction of the two magnetic fields causes the
coil (connected to the pointer) to move (deflect).
Pointer
Fan
Magnet
Contacts
Coil
Meter (M5)
MOTOR
The electrical symbol for a meter is shown below.
Meter Symbol
The motor (M1) converts electricity into
mechanical motion. An electric current in the
motor will turn the shaft and the motor blades,
and the fan blade if it is on the motor. The
electrical symbol for a motor is also shown here.
-5-
Power Contacts
Magnet
Shell
The meter measures voltage when connected in
parallel to a circuit and measures the current
when connected in series in a circuit.
This meter has one voltage scale (5V) and two
current scales (1mA and 1A). These use the
same meter but with internal components that
scale the measurement into the desired range.
This will be explained more later. Note: Your M5
meter is a simple meter. Don’t expect it to be as
accurate as normal electronic test instruments.
How does electricity turn the shaft in the motor?
The answer is magnetism. Electricity is closely
related to magnetism, and an electric current
flowing in a wire has a magnetic field similar to
that of a very, very tiny magnet. Inside the motor
is a coil of wire with many loops wrapped around
metal plates. This is called an electromagnet. If
a large electric current flows through the loops, it
will turn ordinary metal into a magnet. The motor
shell also has a magnet on it. When electricity
flows through the electromagnet, it repels from
the magnet on the motor shell and the shaft
spins. If the fan is on the motor shaft, then its
blades will create airflow.
Shaft
Motor Symbol
Motor (M1)
Electromagnet
About Your Snaptricity® Parts
ELECTROMAGNET
LAMP
The electromagnet (M3) is a large coil of wire,
which acts like a magnet when electricity flows
through it. Placing an iron bar inside increases
the magnetic effects. The electromagnet can
store electrical energy in a magnetic field.
A light bulb, such as in the 4.5V lamps (L4),
contains a special thin high-resistance wire.
When a lot of electricity flows through, this wire
gets so hot it glows bright.
Voltages above the bulb’s
rating
can
burn out
the wire.
The properties of the electromagnet will be
explained in the projects. Note that magnets can
increase magnetic media like floppy disks.
Lamp (L4)
The electrical symbol for a lamp is shown here,
though other symbols are also used in the
industry.
Electromagnet (M3)
Iron Core Rod
(usually placed in
electromagnet)
Lamp Symbol
OTHER PARTS
The grommet will be used to hold the iron core
rod on the electromagnet.
The magnet is an ordinary magnet
like those in your home.
The iron filings are
tiny fragments of
iron in a sealed
case. They will
be used in
magnetism
projects.
The copper and zinc
electrodes are just metals
that will be used for electrochemical projects.
The nut-snap is an iron nut mounted
on a snap for special projects.
The string will be used
in special projects. You
can use your own string
if you need more.
The thin rod is an iron bar
for special projects.
Grommet
Electromagnet
Symbol with Rod
Inside
Electromagnet
Symbol without Rod
The compass is
a standard compass.
The red needle will
point
toward
the
strongest
magnetic
field around it, usually
the north pole of the
earth.
The Paper Clips will be
used for special projects.
You can use your own if
you need more, but they
must be metal.
The spare motor top is provided in
case you break the one on the motor.
Use a screwdriver to pry the broken
one off the motor, then push the
spare one on.
-6-
DO’s and DON’Ts of Building Circuits
After building the circuits given in this booklet, you may wish to
experiment on your own. Use the projects in this booklet as a guide, as
many important design concepts are introduced throughout them. Every
circuit will include a power source (the batteries), a resistance (which
might be a lamp, motor, electromagnet, etc.), and wiring paths between
them and back. You must be careful not to create “short circuits” (very
low-resistance paths across the batteries, see examples below) as this
will damage components and/or quickly drain your batteries. ELENCO®
is not responsible for parts damaged due to incorrect wiring.
Examples of SHORT CIRCUITS - NEVER DO THESE!!!
Placing a 3-snap wire directly across
the batteries is a SHORT CIRCUIT.
!
This is also a
SHORT CIRCUIT.
Here are some important guidelines:
ALWAYS use eye protection when experimenting on your own.
ALWAYS include at least one component that will limit the current
through a circuit, such as a lamp, motor, or electromagnet.
ALWAYS use the meter and switches in conjunction with other
components that will limit the current through them. Failure
to do so will create a short circuit and/or damage those
parts.
ALWAYS disconnect your batteries immediately and check your wiring
if something appears to be getting hot.
ALWAYS check your wiring before turning on a circuit.
NEVER connect to an electrical outlet in your home in any way.
NEVER leave a circuit unattended when it is turned on.
NEVER touch the motor when it is spinning at high speed.
For all of the projects given in this book, the parts may be arranged in
different ways without changing the circuit. For example, the order of
parts connected in series or in parallel does not matter — what matters
is how combinations of these sub-circuits are arranged together.
!
NEVER
DO!
!
NEVER
DO!
!
NEVER
DO!
When the switch (S5)
is turned on, this large
circuit has a SHORT
CIRCUIT path (as
shown by the arrows).
The
short
circuit
prevents any other
portions of the circuit
from ever working.
NEVER
DO!
You are encouraged to tell us about new circuits you create. If they are
unique, we will post them with your name and state on our website at
www.snapcircuits.net/kidkreations.htm. Send your suggestions to
ELENCO®: elenco@elenco.com.
ELENCO® provides a circuit designer so that you can make your own
Snap Circuits® drawings. This Microsoft® Word document can be
downloaded from www.snapcircuits.net/SnapDesigner.doc or
through the www.snapcircuits.net web site.
WARNING:
SHOCK HAZARD - Never connect your
Snaptricity® set to the electrical outlets in your home in any way!
-7-
Advanced Troubleshooting (Adult supervision recommended)
ELENCO® is not responsible for parts
damaged due to incorrect wiring.
4. Snap wires: Use this mini-circuit to test
each of the snap wires, one at a time. The
lamp should light.
If you suspect you have damaged parts,
you can follow this procedure to
systematically determine which ones need
replacing:
1. 4.5V lamps (L4), motor (M1), and battery
holder (B3): Place batteries in holder.
Place the 4.5V lamp directly across the
battery holder, it should light. Do the same
with the motor (motor + to battery +), it
should spin to the right at high speed (use
two 1-snap wires as spacers). If none work
then replace your batteries and repeat, if still
bad then the battery holder is damaged.
2. Set the motor (M1) by itself and place the
fan on it. If the Motor (M1) does not
balance the fan evenly: Inspect the black
plastic piece at the top of the motor shaft, it
should have 3 prongs. If missing or broken,
replace it with the spare that is included with
this kit (a broken one can be removed with
a screwdriver). If the motor is fine, then
inspect the fan.
3. Jumper wires: Use this mini-circuit to test
each jumper wire, the lamp should light.
9. Iron filings: Sometimes the filings may
stick to the case, making it appear cloudy.
Move a magnet (the one in this kit or a
stronger one in your home) across the case
to clean them off.
10. Compass and magnet:
The red
compass needle should point north,
unless it is near a magnet or large iron
object. The red compass needle will point
toward the black (S) side of the magnet.
5. Slide switch (S5): Build project 10. With
the switch in the left position (C), the left
lamp should be on. With the switch in the
right position (B), the right lamp should be
on.
6. Press switch (S2): Build project 75. When
you press the switch, the lamp should light.
7. Meter (M5): Build project 75, but replace
the 3-snap wire with the meter.
a. Set the meter to the 5V scale and push
the press switch. The meter should
read at least 2.5V.
ELENCO®
150 Carpenter Avenue
Wheeling, IL 60090 U.S.A.
Phone: (847) 541-3800
Fax: (847) 520-0085
e-mail: help@elenco.com
Website: www.elenco.com
b. Set the meter to the 1mA scale and
push the switch. The reading should be
over maximum.
c. Set the meter to the 1A scale and push
the switch. The meter should show a
small current.
8. Electromagnet (M3): Build project 46 and
place the iron core rod in the electromagnet.
When you press the switch (S2), the rod in
the electromagnet should act like a magnet.
You may order additional /
replacement parts at:
www.snapcircuits.net
-8-
Project Listings
Project #
Description
Page #
Welcome to Electronics
1
2
3
4
Electronic Playground
Parallel Play
Wicked Switches
Spinning Cylinder Suspender
5
6
7
8
Electricity You Can Wear
Electricity In Your Hair
Bending Water
More Static Tricks
27
10
11
12
13
Static Electricity
12
13
14
15
16
Light the Way (Lamp circuit)
Flip It (2-position switch)
Pushing Electricity
(Voltage across lamp)
Pushing a Lot of Electricity
(Voltage across motor)
What’s An Ohm?
(Find lamp resistance)
Be a Scientist
(Conductors and insulators)
Make Your Own Parts
(Resistance of graphite in pencils)
Hydro-Resistors
(Resistance of water)
28
29
30
14
15
16
17
Electrical Materials
9
10
11
Project #
18
19
20
21
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
24
41
25
42
Basic Electrical Circuits
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
-9-
One Way Around
(Lamps in series)
Many Paths
(Lamps in parallel)
Parallel Swapping
Series Swapping
Light Bulb
(Incandescent light bulbs)
Batteries in Series
Batteries in Parallel
Voltage Divider
(Voltages in a series circuit)
Voltage Shifter
(Currents in a series circuit)
Triple Voltage Divider
(Voltages in a series circuit)
28
29
30
Project #
38
53
54
55
56
39
57
40
58
37
2-Way Switch
41
(Switching for lights in home)
Another 2-Way Switch
42
3-Speed Motor
43
(Regulating motor speed with lamps)
3-Speed Motor (II)
44
3-Speed Motor (III)
45
46
3-Position Switch
(Simulate more complex switch)
3-Position Switch (II)
47
4-Position Switch
48
AND
49
(Simulate an AND gate with switches)
AND NOT
50
(Simulate a NAND gate with switches)
OR
51
(Simulate an OR gate with switches)
43
44
45
46
47
48
31
32
33
49
50
34
51
35
52
Compass
52
Magnetic Fields
53
Iron Extension
54
(Extending a magnet with an iron bar)
Electronic Magnet
55
Electromagnet Magnetic Field
56
Electromagnet Tower
57
(Suspending iron rod in air)
Electromagnetic Suspender
58
Electromagnet Direction
59
(Reversing current)
Wire Magnet
60
(Magnetic field from wire)
Magnetic Induction
61
(Induce a current in a coil)
Description
Page #
Motor Circuits
36
Magnetism
26
27
Page #
Triple Switching Voltmeter
(Voltages in a series circuit)
Triple Switching Ammeter
(Currents in a series circuit)
Current Divider
(Currents in parallel circuits)
Ohm’s Law
(Measuring resistance of parts)
Ohm’s Law - Cold Lamp
Putting Electricity to Use
22
23
Description
59
60
Motor
62
Propeller and Fan
63
Back EMF (Motor characteristics) 64
Generator
65
(Make a current with the motor)
Make Your Own Generator
66
(Make current with the motor)
String Generator
67
(Use string to spin the motor faster)
Motion Enhancer
68
Holding Down
69
(Overloading batteries)
Advanced Magnetic Circuits
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
Make Your Own Electromagnet
70
Relay (Build a relay)
71
Relay (II)
72
Relay (III)
73
Buzzer
74
(Build a buzzer with the electromagnet)
Buzzer (II)
75
Reed Switch
76
(Magnetically controlled switch)
Reed Switch (II)
77
Electrochemistry
69
70
71
Cola Power
(Use soda as a battery)
Fruit Power
(Use fruit as a battery)
Water Impurity Detector
(Current from water)
78
79
80
Fun with Electricity and Magnetism
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
Indian Rope Trick
(Suspend objects in air)
Hypnotic Discs
(Spinning patterns)
Spin Draw
Morse Code
Flying Saucer (Launch the fan)
Power Light Regulator
(Regulate lamp brightness)
Raising the Bar
Electromagnetic Playground
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
Project #1
Electronic Playground
Placement Level
Numbers
Assembly
Build the circuit shown by placing all the parts with a black
1 next to them on the clear plastic base grid first. Then,
assemble parts marked with a 2, and finally the parts
marked with a 3. Be sure to place the motor (M1) with the
(+) side oriented as shown. Place the iron core rod into the
electromagnet (M3) as shown, set the meter (M5) to the 1A
scale, place the fan on the motor, and install three (3) “AA”
alkaline batteries (not included) into the battery holder (B3).
1A
Operation
+
Placement
Level
Numbers
Snappy says:
electronics can
be lots of fun!
1A
+
Depending on the position of the slide switches (S5), the
fan will spin, and in rare cases, fly into the air. Do not lean
over the fan when it is spinning. Pushing the press switch
(S2) will attract the compass to the electromagnet (M3).
You may need to give the fan a push with your finger to get
it started.
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Educational Corner:
This diagram is a simplified
drawing of the circuit, with the
components represented by
symbols (the symbols are
explained on pages 4-6).
Engineers use these diagrams,
called schematics, because
drawing pictures of their
circuits takes too much time
and the connections are often
unclear.
Electric Paths
-10-
Project #2
parallel play
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 5V
scale.
Operation
+
Set the right slide switch (S5) to “C” to turn on the circuit.
The meter (M5) measures the voltage. The compass is
attracted to the electromagnet (M3). The left slide switch
(S5) can bypass the bottom lamp. Pushing the press switch
(S2) will spin the fan.
Description
5V
This circuit spreads the electricity from the batteries into
four parallel sub-circuits to do different things. Connecting
electrical components in parallel means they are between
the same points in a circuit. You will learn about parallel
circuits later.
Snappy says:
electricity can be used
to do lots of different
tasks at once.
+
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Educational Corner:
Electronics is the science of working with and controlling
electricity.
Electric Paths
5V
-11-
Project #3
wicked switches
Assembly
1A
Build the circuit as shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 1A
scale.
+
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the circuit. Flip the
slide switches (S5) and see what happens. You may need
to give the fan a push with your finger to get it started.
Description
The slide switches direct the electricity between the
different circuit paths (each has a lamp). You will learn more
about switches later.
!
Snappy says:
switches are used all
over electronics - try
to count how many
are in your home!
+
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Educational Corner:
Switches are used to turn electrical appliances on or off, or to
change electrical connections.
The light in your refrigerator is activated by a switch. Each of the
buttons on your computer keyboard controls a switch, and there
are several switches in the computer’s mouse.
Electric Paths
1A
-12-
Project #4
Spinning Cylinder
Suspender
1A
Assembly
+
Build the circuit as shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 1A
scale. Drop the thin rod into the electromagnet.
Operation
Set the right slide switch (S5) to “C” to turn on the circuit.
The thin rod gets suspended in mid-air by the
electromagnet. The left slide switch (S5) selects whether
the lamps or motor are on.
Description
The thin rod is held in the air by electromagnetism, which
you will learn more about later.
1A
+
Snappy says:
it seems like magic,
but it’s
electromagnetism!
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
-13-
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Project #5
Find some clothes that cling
together in the dryer, and try to
uncling them.
Electricity You Can Wear
Rub a sweater (wool is best) and
see how it clings to other clothes.
The crackling noise you hear when
taking off a sweater is static
electricity. You may see sparks
when taking one off in a dark room.
Educational Corner:
Did you ever wonder why clothes cling together when
they come out of the dryer? Did you ever hear a
crackling sound when you take off a sweater? (If the
room is dark you might even see sparks.) Did you ever
feel a “zap” when you touch someone wearing a
sweater on a dry day? These effects are caused by
electricity. We call this static electricity because the
electrical charges are not moving, although pulling
clothes apart sounds like static on a radio. When
electricity is moving (usually through wires) to do
something in another place, we call it an electric
current.
Electricity is an attraction and repulsion of particles in
a material. All materials are made up of atoms, which
are really, really tiny. Atoms have a nucleus (which has
positive electrical charges), which is surrounded by tiny
electrons (negative electrical charges). When you rub
a material, electrons can move on or off the atoms,
giving them an electrical charge.
Electricity exists everywhere, but is so well balanced,
that you seldom notice it. But, sometimes differences
in electrical charges build up between materials, and
sparks can fly. Lightning is the same effect as the
sparks between clothes, but on a much greater scale.
A cloud holds static electricity just like a sweater.
Why do
you often “see”
lightning before
you “hear” it? It is
because light
travels faster than
sound.
Snappy says: clothes
can cling together
because electricity is
all around us.
–
Electrons
Nucleus
–
+
++++
–
Note: This project works best on a
cold dry day. If the weather is
humid, the water vapor in the air
allows the static electric charge to
dissipate, and this project may not
work.
–
–
–
This diagram shows the
structure of an atom, except
that the nucleus and
electrons are actually much
farther apart.
Photo courtesy of: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library;
OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) [via pingnews].
-14-
Project #6
Electricity in Your Hair
Assembly
You need a comb (or a plastic ruler) and some paper for
this project. Rip up the paper into small pieces.
Operation
Run the comb through your hair several times then hold it
near the paper pieces to pick them up. You can also use a
pen or plastic ruler, rub it on your clothes (wool works best).
Note: This project
works best on a
cold dry day. If the
weather is humid,
the water vapor in
the air allows the
static
electric
charge
to
dissipate, and this
project may not
work.
Description
Rubbing the comb through your hair pulls extremely tiny
charged particles from your hair onto the comb. These give
the comb a static electrical charge, which attracts the paper
pieces.
Educational Corner:
Iron filings are
strongly attracted
to the magnet.
Do you want to learn more?
Hold your magnet near the paper pieces; nothing happens.
Run the comb in your hair again and place it next to the iron
filings case; not much happens (there may be a weak attraction).
Now hold the magnet near the iron filings; they jump to it easily.
What’s happening?
Iron filings are
weakly attracted
to the comb.
-15-
Running the comb through your hair builds up an electric charge
in it, which is different from the magnetic charge in the magnet.
The paper pieces are attracted to an electric charge, while the
iron filings are attracted to a magnetic charge.
You will learn more about the differences between electricity and
magnetism later.
Snappy says: notice how
your hair can “stand up” or be
attracted to the comb when
the air is dry. Wetting your hair
dissipates the static charge.
Project #7
Bending Water
Assembly
You need a comb (or plastic ruler) and a water faucet for
this project.
Operation
Run the comb through your hair several times then hold it
next to a slow, thin stream of water from a faucet. The water
will bend towards it. You can also use a plastic ruler. Rub it
on your clothes (wool works best).
Description
Rubbing the comb through your hair builds up a static
electrical charge on it, which attracts the water.
Educational Corner:
Note: This project works best on a cold dry
day. If the weather is humid, the water vapor
in the air allows the static electric charge to
dissipate, and this project may not work.
Static electricity was discovered more than 2,500 years ago
when the Greek philosopher Thales noticed that when amber (a
hard, clear, yellow-tinted material) is rubbed, light materials like
feathers stick to it. Electricity is named after the Greek word for
amber, which is electron.
Other facts about Static Electricity:
1. Static electricity in the atmosphere causes the “static” (erratic
noises) you hear on your AM radio when reception is poor.
2. Static Electricity can damage some types of sensitive
electronic components. Electronics manufacturers protect
against this using static-dissipating wrist straps, floor mats,
and humidity control. Your Snaptricity® parts will not be
damaged by static.
3. Some homes have “lightning rods”, which are metal bars
from the roof to the ground. These help protect the home by
encouraging lightning to go through the the rods instead of
the house.
Anti-Static Wrist Strap
Snappy says: big
planes can build up a
large static charge in
flight. They
are
usually connected to
something like a
lightning rod as soon
as they land.
Lightning Rod
-16-
Project #8
Note: This project works best on a
cold dry day. If the weather is humid,
the water vapor in the air allows the
static electric charge to dissipate,
and this project may not work.
More Static Tricks
Snappy says: how well a
material can hold an
electric
or
magnetic
charge depends on the
characteristics of the
material.
Take a piece of newspaper or other thin
paper and rub it vigorously with a
sweater or pencil. It will stick to a wall.
Cut the paper into two long strips, rub
them, then hang them next to each
other. See if they attract or repel each
other.
If you have two balloons, rub them to a
sweater and then hang the rubbed sides
next to each other. They repel away. You
could also use the balloons to pick up
tiny pieces of paper.
Educational Corner:
Electricity vs. Gravity:
In many photocopiers, a drum is charged with static electricity. Light from
the white areas of the document being copied destroys the charge, but dark
areas of the document leave a pattern of charge on the drum. Toner (a
powder) is attracted to the charged areas, creating an image. The toner is
then transferred to paper and melted on.
Electricity is immensely more powerful than
gravity (gravity is what causes things to fall to the
ground when you drop them). However electrical
attraction is so completely balanced out that you
don’t notice it, while gravity’s effects are always
apparent because they are not balanced out.
2. Light from white
areas of document
being copied destroys
the charge.
Gravity is actually the attraction between objects
due to their weight (or technically, their mass).
This effect is extremely small and can be ignored
unless one of the objects is as big as a planet (like
the earth). Gravity attraction never goes away
and is seen every time you drop something.
Electrical charge, though usually balanced out
perfectly, can move around and change quickly.
For example, you have seen how clothes can
cling together in the dryer due to static electricity.
There is also a gravity attraction between the
sweaters, but it is always extremely small.
-17-
Electricity
1. Corona wire charges
drum with static electricity
5. Heated rollers
bond toner image
to paper.
Gravity
3. Toner from roller is attracted
to the charged areas.
4. Toner image transfers
to charged paper.
Project #9
Light the Way
Educational Corner:
What is really happening here?
1. The batteries (B3) convert chemical energy into
electrical energy and “push” it through the circuit,
just like the electricity from your power company. A
battery pushes electricity through a circuit just like a
pump pushes water through a pipe.
2. The snap wires (the blue pieces) carry the electricity
around the circuit, just like wires carry electricity
around your home. Wires carry electricity just like
pipes carry water.
Assembly
Build the circuit shown by placing all the parts with a black
1 next to them on the clear plastic base grid first. Then,
assemble parts marked with a 2. Screw a bulb into the lamp
socket (L4) and install three (3) “AA” batteries (not included)
into the battery holder (B3).
Operation
This circuit is just like a lamp in your home, when you flip
the switch (S5) to on (position B), the lamp (L4) will be on.
3. The slide switch (S5) controls the electricity by
turning it on or off, just like a light switch on the wall
of your home. A switch controls electricity like a
faucet controls water.
4. The lamp (L4) converts electrical energy into light, it
is the same as a lamp in your home except smaller.
In a light bulb, electricity heats up a high-resistance
wire until it glows. A light bulb shows how much
electricity is flowing in a circuit like a water meter
shows how fast water flows in a pipe.
5. The base grid is a platform for mounting the circuit,
just like how wires are mounted in the walls of your
home to control the lights.
Comparing Electric
Flow to Water Flow:
Electric Paths
Valve
Pump
Snappy says: touch the light
and feel how warm it is. Only
about 5% of the electricity is
converted into light, the rest
becomes heat. Don’t touch light
bulbs in your home because
they can be very hot.
Water Meter
-18-
Project #10
Flip It
Educational Corner:
Snappy says:
the current
carrying capacity of a switch
depends on the contact
material, size, and the pressure
between the contacts.
The slide and press switches included in
Snaptricity® are simple switches, more
complex types are also available.
Switches come in almost every shape
and size imaginable.
There are
membrane, rocker, rotary, DIP, push
button, and momentary types just to
name a few.
The “on” position of a switch is also called
the “closed” position. Similarly, the “off”
position is also called the “open” position.
This is because the symbol for a slide
switch is similar to the symbol for a door
in an architect’s drawing of a room:
Walls
Door
Push Button
Computer
Keyboards
Rotary
Selector Switch
on Appliances
Rocker
Tools
Slide
Toys,
Household
Items
Very often, a single switch is used to
make many different connections. The
combinations of connections for a switch
are indicated in the symbol for it. Here
are some examples:
Assembly
The electronics symbol for a slide switch
should be thought of as a door to a circuit,
which swings open when the switch is off.
The “door” to the circuit is closed when
the switch is on. This is shown here:
Open Switch (turned off)
Your S5 switch has 2 positions,
so it has a different symbol:
Build the circuit shown.
Operation
The slide switch (S5) directs the electricity to either of two
paths (both lamps here). It is like many switches in your
home, controlling different lights in the same area.
Variant
Replace the 3-snap wire with the press switch (S2). Now
either lamp (L4) is only on when S2 is pressed.
-19-
Closed Switch (turned on)
Left switch position
closed
(turned on)
Rotary Switch
Schematic
Slide Switch
Schematic
Right switch position
open
(turned off)
Electric Paths
Left switch position
open
(turned off)
Right switch position
closed
(turned on)
Project #11
Pushing Electricity
Assembly
Build the circuit and connect the red jumper wire as shown.
Set the meter (M5) to the 5V setting and the slide switch
(S5) to position C at first.
Operation
5V
Snappy says: the battery voltage drops when the lamp is connected because
the batteries have trouble supplying as much electricity as the lamp would like.
Remember that a battery produces electricity from a chemical reaction. Not
only is there a limited amount of the chemicals in a small battery (batteries
slowly get weaker as you use them), but also not all of the material can react
together at the same time.
Read the battery voltage on the meter (the top scale), it
should be about 4.5V. The lamp will be off.
Flip the switch to position B; the lamp lights and the voltage
drops a little. (To learn why the voltage drops now, ask
Snappy.)
Move the red jumper wire from position A on the switch to
position B. The battery voltage is the same here because
none is lost across the switch.
Now flip the switch to position C (OFF); the voltage at the
lamp drops to zero and it shuts off.
Educational Corner:
Electricity is the movement of sub-atomic charged particles (electrons) through a material due
to electrical pressure across the material, such as from a battery.
The electrical pressure exerted by a battery or other power source is called voltage and is
measured in volts (V, and named after Alessandro Volta who invented the battery in 1800).
Notice the “+” and “–” signs on the battery. These indicate which direction the battery will “pump”
the electricity.
Circuits need the right voltage to work properly. For example, if the electrical pressure to a lamp
is too low, then the bulb won’t turn on; and if too high, then the bulb will overheat and burn out.
5V
The electric current is a measure of how fast electricity is flowing in a wire, just as the water
current describes how fast water is flowing in a pipe. It is expressed in amperes (A, named
after Andre Ampere who studied the relationship between electricity and magnetism) or
milliamps (mA, 1/1000 of an ampere).
Record the voltage you measured here, it will be used in project 13:
-20-
Project #12
Pushing a Lot of Electricity
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown; it is the same as the preceding
one except the lamp (L4) was replaced by the motor (M1).
Set the meter (M5) to the 5V setting and the slide switch
(S5) to position C at first.
+
Operation
Read the battery voltage on the meter (the top scale), it should
be about 4.5V. Flip the switch to position B; the fan spins and
the voltage drops - more than it did with the lamp.
5V
Snappy says voltage is
sometimes called electromotive-force (EMF) because
it pushes the electrons
through the circuit.
Turn off the circuit and remove the fan. Turn the switch back on
and read the voltage; it doesn’t drop as much without the fan.
!
!
+
5V
-21-
WARNING: Moving
parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor
during operation.
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Description
It takes a lot of current to spin the fan as fast as it would like
to go, and the batteries can’t produce enough. As a result,
the voltage (electrical pressure) from the batteries drops.
It’s a lot easier to spin the motor shaft without the fan on it,
so the voltage doesn’t drop much without the fan.
Educational Corner:
Wires can generally be as long as desired
without affecting performance, just as
using garden hoses of different lengths
has little effect on the water pressure as
you water your garden. However there are
cases where the length and size of a pipe
does matter, such as in the water lines for
your city. Similarly, wire length and size
are important for electric power lines
transporting electricity from a power plant
in a remote area to a city.
Batteries are made from materials like zinc and
magnesium dioxide, electricity flows as these react
with each other. As more material is used up by
the reaction, the battery voltage is slowly reduced
until eventually the circuit no longer functions and
you have to replace the batteries. Some batteries,
called rechargeable batteries (such as the batteries
in your cell phone), allow you to reverse the
chemical reaction
using
another
electric source.
Project #13
What’s An Ohm?
Assembly
1A
Build the circuit shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 1A setting.
Operation
Set the slide switch (S5) to position B to measure the
current through the lamp (L4).
Snappy says: the Ω
symbol is the last letter in
the Greek alphabet and
is pronounced Omega.
Educational Corner:
The resistance of a circuit represents how much it resists
the electrical pressure (voltage) and limits the flow of
electric current. The relationship between voltage, current,
and resistance is the most important one in electronics. It
is known as Ohm’s Law (after George Ohm who
discovered it in 1828):
Current =
Voltage
Resistance
When there is more resistance, less current will flow unless
you increase the voltage. Resistance is measured in ohms.
The symbol used for an ohm is Ω.
Using the voltage measurement you made in project 11 and
the current measurement you made here, you can calculate
the resistance of the lamp. It is usually 15-20 ohms.
The other parts in the circuit (switch, meter on 1A scale,
blue snap wires, and batteries) also have resistance but
these are much smaller.
Note: Your actual results may vary. Your M5 meter is a
simple meter; don’t expect it to be as accurate as normal
electronic test instruments.
1A
What is Resistance? Take your hands and rub them
together very fast. Your hands should feel warm. The
friction between your hands converts your effort into heat.
Resistance is the electrical friction between an electric
current and the material it is flowing through; it is the loss of
energy from electrons as they move through the material.
The “power” of electricity is a
measure of how fast energy is
moving through a wire. It is
expressed in Watts (W, after James
Watt for his work with engines). It
is a combination of the electrical
voltage (pressure) and current:
Power = Voltage x Current
OR
Voltage x Voltage
Power =
Resistance
= Current x Current x Resistance
Using the voltage and current
measurements you made, you
can calculate the power of the
lamp. It should be about 1 watt.
Compare this to the light bulbs in
your home, which are usually
about 40-100 watts.
Electric
Paths
-22-
Project #14
Be A Scientist
Assembly
?
Build the circuit shown, the
(M5) to the 1A setting.
?
can be anything you want. Set the meter
Operation
1A
Snappy says: the
best conductor ever
discovered is silver,
which
is
very
expensive. Copper
is the second best
conductor, and it is
used in almost all
electrical wires.
Turn on the slide switch (S5, position B) and touch various materials
between the snaps on the switch and meter. See which materials are
good at transporting electricity by watching the meter current and lamp
(L4) brightness. Try string, the electrodes, a shirt, plastic, paper, two of
your fingers, wood, or anything in your home.
If the meter reads zero, switch it to the 1mA setting to see if there is just
a very small current. To help protect the meter, always switch back to the
1A scale before testing a new circuit.
Educational Corner:
Some materials, such as metals, have very low
resistance to electricity will make the lamp
bright and give a large current measurement on
the meter. These materials are called
conductors. Conductors have electrons that
are loosely held to the nucleus and can move
easily.
Other materials, such as paper, air, and plastic,
have very high resistance to electricity. These
will turn off the lamp and give a zero current
measurement on the meter even in the 1mA
setting. These materials are called insulators.
Insulators have their electrons locked in tight
and have no room for more.
1A
-23-
Did you ever hear the term “blown fuse”?
Some special wires are designed to
break when an unexpectedly high
current flows through them. These are
called fuses.
This wire melts to
break the circuit.
Fuses are designed to shut down a circuit when
something is wrong, such as a component
failure, bad design, or a person using it
improperly. This shutdown prevents further
damage to the circuit, and can prevent
explosions or fires.
Fuses are important for safety and most
electrical products have one, especially if they
use electricity supplied by your local electric
company. Small battery-powered products
usually do not have them because the batteries
are not powerful enough to cause harm.
Some fuses need to be
replaced
after
they
“blow”, but others
can be reset by
flipping a switch.
Every home has
an electrical box of
resetable fuses, it
may look like this:
Project #15
Make Your Own Parts
Assembly
Operation
Build the circuit shown, set
the meter (M5) to the 1mA
setting.
Make your parts using either the water puddles method (A), the
drawn parts method (B), or the pencil parts method (C). Set the
slide switch (S5) to position B to turn on the circuit. Touch the metal
in the jumper wires to your parts and read the current in milliamps.
Method A (easy): Spread some water on the table into
puddles of different shapes, perhaps like the ones shown
below. Touch the jumper wires to points at the ends of
the puddles.
1mA
Method B (challenging): Use a SHARP pencil (No. 2
lead is best) and draw shapes, such as the ones here.
Draw them on a hard, flat surface. Press hard and fill in
several times until you have a thick, even layer of pencil
lead. Touch the jumper wires to points at the ends of the
drawings. You may get better electrical contact if you wet
the metal with a few drops of water. Wash your hands
when finished.
Educational Corner:
You can use Ohm’s Law to
measure the resistance of your
puddles and drawings. The
voltage is about 4.5V, and use the
current measured on the meter.
Resistance =
Voltage
Current
The black core of pencils is
graphite, the same material used
in
resistor
components
throughout
the
electronics
industry.
Snappy says: long narrow
shapes
have
more
resistance than short wide
ones.
Method C (adult supervision and permission
required): Change the setting on the meter to the 1A
scale. Use some double-sided pencils if available, or
VERY CAREFULLY break some pencils in half. Touch the
jumper wires to the black core of the pencil at both ends.
1mA
-24-
Project #16
Hydro-Resistors
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 1mA setting. Add
about 1/4 inch of water to a cup or bowl. Connect the jumper wires
and place them in the water, make sure the metal parts aren’t
touching each other. Set the slide switch (S5) to position B to turn the
circuit on.
Operation
1mA
Snappy says: Pure water has very high
resistance because its atoms hold their
electrons tightly and have no room for more.
Impurities (such as dissolved dirt, minerals, or
salt) decrease the resistance because their
atoms have loose electrons, which make it
easier for other electrons to move through.
Measure the current through the water.
Add salt to the water and stir to dissolve it. The current should be
higher now (if not already at full scale), since salt water has less
resistance than plain water.
Now add more water to the cup and watch the current.
If you have some distilled water, place the jumper wires in it and
measure the current. You should measure close to zero current, since
distilled (pure) water has very high resistance. Normal water has
impurities which lower its resistance. Now add salt to the distilled
water and watch the current increase as the salt dissolves!
You can also measure the current through other liquids.
Don’t drink any water or liquids used here.
Educational Corner:
1mA
-25-
Depending on your local water supply,
your current measurement may
exceed the 1mA scale. You can switch
the meter to the 5V scale to get a
better comparison, though it isn’t
really a voltage measurement.
In the 5V setting, the water resistance
is compared to the internal resistance
of the meter. A low reading means the
water has relatively high resistance. A
high reading of 4V or more means the
water has relatively low resistance.
Project #17
One Way Around
Assembly
Build the circuit and push the press switch (S2). The lamps
(L4) are all on, but are dim.
Description
Most strings will still work if
one bulb burns out because a
special heat-activated bypass
wire is built into each bulb.
When the bulb burns out, the
full house voltage is across
Strings of Christmas lights are
the bypass wire, which heats
little
low-voltage
lamps
it until it turns on. Sometimes
connected in series to the
only half the bulbs in a string
house power (120V). They
are lit. This is because some
are inexpensive, but if one
long strings are actually two
bulb falls out, then the entire
(or more) shorter strings
string will be off.
connected in parallel.
The three lamps are connected in a series. They are dim
because the voltage from the batteries (B3) is divided
between them.
Educational Corner:
Connecting parts in series is one way of arranging
them in a circuit. The advantage of it is that wiring
them together is simple. The disadvantage is that if
one lamp breaks, all three will be off.
In this circuit the lamps are the resistances
which are limiting the flow of electricity. Placing
resistances in series increases the total
resistance. Advanced users can compute the
total resistance as follows:
Snappy says: the 0V or “–”
side of the battery is often
referred to as “ground”,
since in house or building
wiring it is connected to a rod
in the ground as protection
against lightning.
Rseries = R1 + R2 + R3 + . . .
The current is the same through all the
resistances in a series circuit. Ohm’s Law says
that Voltage equals Current times Resistance, so
the highest resistances in a series circuit will
have the largest voltage drop across them.
Equal resistances will have the same voltage
drop. In other words:
Voltage (across one resistor) =
Resistance (of that resistor)
Resistance
Electric Paths
x Voltage
(total applied to the series circuit)
(total of resistors in the circuit)
-26-
Project #18
Many Paths
Assembly
Build the circuit and push the press switch (S2). The lamps
(L4) are all bright.
Description
The three lamps are connected in parallel with one another.
They are bright because each lamp gets the full battery
voltage. The voltage pushes the current with equal force,
because all are 4.5V, down each path.
Educational Corner:
Snappy says: most
of the lights in your
house are connected
in parallel; so if one
bulb burns out then
the others are not
affected.
Connecting parts in parallel is another way of arranging them in a circuit. The advantage of it is
that if one burns out, the others will still work (unscrew one of the bulbs to prove this). The
disadvantage is that wiring the parts together is more complex than with series circuits.
All large circuits are made of combinations of series and parallel circuits.
In this circuit the lamps are the resistances which are
1
1
1
1
limiting the flow of electricity. Placing resistances in
=
+
+
+ ....
parallel decreases the total resistance. Advanced Rparallel
R1
R2
R3
users can compute the total resistance as follows:
The voltage is the same across all the resistances in a parallel circuit. Ohm’s Law says that
Voltage equals Current times Resistance, so the lowest resistances in a parallel circuit will
have the most current through them. Equal resistances will have the same current. In other
words:
Resistance
Current (through one branch) =
(total in all OTHER parallel branches)
Resistance
(total of resistors in all branches)
Electric Paths
-27-
x Current
(total applied to the parallel circuit)
Project #19
Parallel Swapping
Assembly
B
C
Build the main circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 5V
setting.
Operation
Push the press switch (S2); the lamp lights (L4) and the
meter (M5) measures the voltage from the batteries (B3).
Part B: move the meter so it’s across location “B” and then
location “C”. Measure the voltage at each location, it should
be the same.
5V
Part B
Part C
Part C: swap the locations of the meter and lamp. The meter
should still measure the same voltage.
Description
This circuit shows that rearranging parts that are connected
in parallel does not change the circuit, because the meter
measured the same voltage for each arrangement.
Educational Corner:
5V
Snappy says: the order of parts
connected in series or in parallel
does not matter - what matters is
how combinations of these subcircuits are arranged together.
The choice of whether to use
a
series
or
parallel
configuration in a circuit
depends on the application,
but will usually be obvious.
For example the overhead
lights in the rooms of your
home are all connected in
parallel so that you can have
lights on in some rooms and
off in others, but within each
room the light and switch are
connected in series so the
switch can control the light.
Electric Paths
-28-
Project #20
Series Swapping
Assembly
Build the main circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 1A
setting.
Operation
1A
Push the press switch (S2); the lamps (L4) light and the
meter (M5) measures the current through the circuit.
Now swap the positions of any of the lamps, 3-snap wires,
the press switch and the meter (the meter should always be
placed so it hangs out of the circuit). Read the current on the
meter, it should be the same however the parts are arranged.
Note: Your M5 meter is a simple meter. It may read zero on
this scale even though a small current is flowing.
Examples
Description
This circuit shows that rearranging parts that are connected
in series does not change the circuit, because the meter
measured the same current for each arrangement.
Snappy says: In the first moment after you press
the switch, the meter will show a higher “surge”
current. Light bulbs have less resistance when
you first turn them on, then increase resistance as
they get bright.
1A
-29-
Educational Corner:
Which way does electricity
really flow? In the Electric Paths
drawings (schematics), electricity
is shown flowing from the “+”
battery terminal, through the
circuit, and back to the “–” battery
terminal. This is how electricity
was presumed to flow beginning
with discoveries by Benjamin
Franklin in 1747.
Later
discoveries in sub-atomic physics
showed that the charged particles
that were moving (electrons) had
a “–” charge, and that they were
moving from “–” to “+” charged
materials.
However, understanding circuits
is easier if you assume electricity
flows from “+” to “–”, and all circuit
analysis is done this way.
Electric Paths
Project #21
Light Bulb
Operation
Description
Build the circuit and hold
down the button on the press
switch (S2). Two lamps (L4)
are very dim while one is
bright.
All the electric current flows through the top
lamp, then divides between the two lamps on
the left. The top lamp is much brighter than the
others because it has twice as much
electricity flowing through it.
Educational Corner:
Snappy says: most of
the electrical energy
used by these bulbs
becomes heat, not
light.
Why is the top lamp so much
brighter than the others, even
though it only has twice as
much electricity through it? And
why do the left bulbs take a few
seconds before they make any
light?
Incandescent bulbs like these
make light by passing a big
electric current through a
special high-resistance wire,
the filament, which gets so hot
that it glows. The left bulbs get
less current than the top one so
they take longer to heat up and
don’t get as hot.
Electric Paths
Do you want to learn more?
Incandescent bulbs produce lots of heat, and the
glass bulb prevents the filament from reacting with
oxygen in the air and burning. When the voltage
rating of an incandescent bulb is exceeded, the
filament gets so hot it burns out. Filaments are
usually made of tungsten, since ordinary copper
would melt.
The fluorescent light bulbs that come in white 4 ft.
tubes are the standard room lights for offices and
schools. They pass electric current through a gas,
usually argon. This gas emits light as the electricity
passes through it, similar to how a tungsten wire
does. Although larger and more expensive than
ordinary incandescent lamps, they are typically five
times more efficient at converting electricity into light.
The difference in heat produced between
incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs might
surprise you. Find a fluorescent bulb and feel the
heat coming off it; you won’t feel much. Find an
incandescent lamp THAT HAS BEEN OFF FOR A
WHILE and turn it on. Feel the heat it produces; it
soon becomes too hot to touch. Only about 5% of
the electricity used by incandescent bulbs is
converted into light. Without the more efficient
fluorescent bulbs, our society of office buildings might
have been much different.
-30-
Project #22
Batteries in Series
Assembly
Part A
Part B
Build the circuit as shown and set the meter (M5) to the 5V
setting.
Operation
A. Read the voltage on the meter. If your batteries are new
then it should be about 4.5V.
5V
Part C
Snappy says: you can also connect the black
jumper wire to the 3-snap wire, then touch the red
and black jumper wires across the terminals of
any low voltage battery to measure it, or just use
the meter with the jumper wires connected to it.
B. Remove the left battery in the holder (B3) and move the
end of the red jumper wire to touch the left spring in the
holder. Read the voltage on the meter; measuring 2
batteries.
C. Now also remove the center battery and move the end
of the red jumper wire to touch the center spring in the
holder. Read the voltage on the meter; measuring 1
battery.
NOTE: The accuracy of your meter may vary.
Description
When batteries are connected in series, they add together,
making the total voltage higher.
Educational Corner:
Part A: Since the battery holder (B3) has three 1.5V type AA batteries in
series, you should measure about 4.5V (1.5V + 1.5V + 1.5V = 4.5V).
Part B: Since you are measuring two 1.5V type AA batteries in series, you
should measure about 3V (1.5V + 1.5V = 3V).
5V
-31-
Part C: Since you are measuring one 1.5V type AA battery, you should
measure about 1.5V.
Project #23
FOR ADVANCED USERS - ADULT
SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Batteries in Parallel
Assembly
+
1A
Remove the center battery from the battery holder (B3). Build the
circuit as shown. Set the meter (M5) to the 1A setting.
Operation
Touch the red or black jumper wires to the metal contacts for the
center battery as shown. The bulbs (L4) will barely glow and the
motor (M1) will probably need a push to get it started. The meter
measures the current.
Touching both on at the same time connects both batteries in
parallel. This makes the bulbs glow a little more, makes the motor
spin faster, and increases the current on the meter.
Snappy says:
batteries are
pushy little guys.
Educational Corner:
Description
When batteries are connected in parallel they can supply more
current to a circuit. This means more power.
Electric Paths
Part B
Assembly
1A
Remove parts from the circuit until it looks like
the Part B drawing.
Operation
+
1A
Touch the red or black jumper wires to the
metal contacts for the center battery as
shown. The single bulb (L4) will glow brighter
than in the original circuit when only one
battery is connected. Note: Your M5 meter is
a simple meter. It may read zero on this scale
even though a small current is flowing.
Description
Now connecting both batteries at once doesn’t
change the brightness or increase the current
measured, because a single battery can supply
as much current as this simple circuit needs.
-32-
Project #24
Voltage Divider
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Place the meter (M5) on the 5V
setting.
Operation
A. Set both slide switches (S5) to position B and push the
press switch (S2). Both lamps (L4) light and the meter
measures the voltage across the top one.
5V
Wow! It really
does all add up.
B. Set both slide switches to position C and push the press
switch. Now the meter measures the voltage across the
bottom lamp (it should be the same as for the top one).
C. Set the top slide switch to position B and the bottom
switch to position C, then push the press switch. Now the
meter measures the voltage across both lamps (it should
be the individual lamp voltages added together).
Description
When equal components are placed in series, each having
the same resistance to the flow of electricity, the total
voltage will divide equally between them.
Educational Corner:
One of the most basic rules for analyzing circuits is
Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law (named after Gustav Kirchhoff, who
stated it in 1847): the total voltage driving a circuit must equal
the voltage drops within it.
5V
-33-
This project proves it because the total voltage across both lamps
equals the voltage from the batteries: (Vbatteries = Vlamp1 + Vlamp2)
Electric
Paths
Project #25
Voltage Shifter
Assembly
Modify the preceding circuit into this one. Keep the meter
(M5) on the 5V setting.
Operation
5V
Both lamps (L4) are on and the meter shows the voltage
across the top lamp, which is half the battery holder (B3)
voltage.
Push the press switch (S2) to bypass the bottom lamp and
remove it from the circuit. Now the top lamp is much
brighter and the meter shows that the full battery voltage is
across it.
Educational Corner:
Sometimes switches are
pretty swift, they can sneak
current around a lamp and
make voltage shift.
Since the battery voltage driving the circuit
is the same, bypassing the bottom lamp
shifts all the voltage to the top lamp. This
follows Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law.
Electric Paths
5V
-34-
Project #26
B
A
Triple Voltage Divider
C
D
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 5V setting.
Operation
5V
Snap the loose end of the red jumper wire to points A, B, C,
or D. Push the press switch (S2) to measure the voltage at
that point using the meter.
You can also connect the red jumper anywhere in the circuit
to measure the voltage there.
Description
This circuit shows how the total voltage from the batteries
gets divided among the components in the circuit, which
are resisting the flow of electricity.
Educational Corner:
Try to count how many
batteries are in your home.
Your count will probably be
low. Many products that
use your house power also
have batteries to retain
clock or programmed
information during brief
power outages (such as
computers).
5V
-35-
If a circuit is given too much
voltage then its components
will be damaged. It is like
having the water in your faucet
come out at higher pressure
than you need, and it splashes
all over the room. If water in a
pipe is at too high of pressure
then the pipe may burst.
Electric
Paths
Batteries can be selected to
give a circuit just the voltage it
needs.
The
electricity
produced by your electric
company comes at a higher
voltage, which must be
converted down for many
circuits.
Project #27
Triple Switching Voltmeter
Assembly
5V
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 5V setting.
Operation
Set the slide switches (S5) to position C. Push the press
switch (S2); the meter measures the voltage across the
right lamp.
The slide switches control the left two lamps (L4),
individually. If the lamps are on (switch position B), the
battery voltage is split among them and less voltage will be
measured across the right lamp.
Description
This is another example of how voltage divides as parts are
added in series.
Educational Corner:
5V
The lamps are acting as
resistors, because they limit
the flow of electricity in the
circuit. As resistances are
added in series, they add
together to reduce the
current.
Electric Paths
-36-
Project #28
Triple Switching Ammeter
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 1A setting.
1A
Operation
Set the slide switches (S5) to position C. Push the press switch
(S2); the meter measures the current through the right lamp.
The slide switches control the left two lamps (L4), individually. If the
lamps are on (switch position B), the battery voltage is split among
them and less current will be measured through the lamps.
Note: Your M5 meter is a simple meter. It may read zero on this scale even
though a small current is flowing.
Description
This is an example of how current decreases as parts are added in series.
When the slide switches are in position C, no current flows
through the bypassed lamp because the switch has very low
resistance.
Snappy says: switches come in many diverse forms. Try to count how
many are in your home or car; you will be amazed. There are slide,
press, membrane, rotary, push-button, and other switches controlling
nearly everything.
1A
Educational Corner:
Most electronic products have
almost all of their components and
wires mounted on special boards. In
these boards, the “wires” connecting
parts are literally “printed” on the
surface of the board; hence the
boards all are called “printed circuit
boards” or PCBs.
Electric Paths
-37-
Project #29
Current Divider
Assembly
1A
Build the main circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 1A setting.
Operation
Part A: Push the press switch (S2); the meter measures the
current from the batteries (B3).
Part B: Swap the location of the meter with the 3-snap wire
marked “B” (“+” side towards the lamp). Push the switch to
measure the current through circuit branch “B”.
Part C: Swap the “B” location of the meter with the “C” 3-snap.
Push the switch to measure the current through the “C” branch.
B
C
D
Part D: Swap the “C” location of the meter with the “D” 3-snap.
Push the switch to measure the current through the “D” branch.
Description
Part B
Part C
Part D
The current from the batteries splits up between the three lamps,
because they are connected in parallel.
Educational Corner:
1A
Snappy says: connecting
parts in parallel allows more
current to flow, so it
decreases the overall circuit
resistance.
If you add up the current you measured
through circuit branches B, C, and D, it
should be the same as the current you
measured from the batteries. (Your
result may be a little different, because
M5 is a simple meter with low
accuracy.)
The total battery current here is much
higher than in project 13, because this
circuit has several lamps in parallel.
The lamps are acting as resistors,
limiting the flow of electricity in the
circuit. As resistances are added in
parallel, they increase the total current.
Kirchhoff’s
Current
Law,
an
important rule for analyzing circuits,
says that all current flowing into a point
must flow out of it.
Electric Paths
(Currentbatteries = CurrentlampB +
CurrentlampC + CurrentLampD)
-38-
Project #30
+
Ohm’s Law
FOR ADVANCED USERS - ADULT
SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
1A
Build the circuit as shown (leave the fan off the motor (M1).
Set the meter (M5) on the 1A setting, place the iron core
rod into the electromagnet (M3), and both slide switches
(S5) to the B position (off).
Operation
5V
Set the left slide switch to position C to turn on the lamp (L4).
The meter measures the electric current through the lamp.
Set the left switch back to B and set the right slide switch to
position C. Now the meter measures the current through
the electromagnet. The electromagnet will attract the
compass needle.
Set the right slide switch back to B and push the press
switch (S2). Now the meter measures the current through
the motor.
Last, place the fan on the motor and measure its current
with the fan on.
Educational Corner:
Since the battery voltage is 4.5V, you can use Ohm’s
Law to calculate the resistance of each part:
Voltage
4.5V
Resistance =
=
Current
Current
Voltage
Current Resistance
Typical
Measured Measured Calculated Resistance
Lamp
4.5 volts
15 ohms
Electromagnet
4.5 volts
30 ohms
Motor
(with fan)
4.5 volts
10 ohms
Motor
(without fan)
4.5 volts
40 ohms
Notes: Your actual results may vary. Unless your
batteries are new, the voltage may be less than 4.5V.
Also, your M5 meter is a simple meter. Don’t expect
it to be as accurate as normal electronic test
instruments. In some cases, the meter may show
zero current for the electromagnet; switch the meter
to the 1mA scale to prove a current is flowing.
-39-
Another problem is that the battery voltage drops a
little if the current is high. This drop may be 1-2 volts
for the motor with fan. For some motors, typical
resistance may be 3 ohms with fan and 20 ohms
without fan.
Optional:
For a more accurate resistance
measurement, you can measure the actual voltage.
Place the meter across the battery holder, set it to
the 5V scale, and place a 3-snap wire where the
meter used to be. Use the switches to measure the
voltage for each part individually, as you did for the
current.
Electric Paths
Description
By comparing the currents you measured, you can see
which part has the most resistance to the flow of electricity.
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
!
+
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
1A
Project #31
Ohm’s Law - Cold Lamp
Assembly
The preceding circuit allowed you to calculate the resistance of
the lamp (L4) by measuring the voltage and current. You did this
while the lamp was bright, but the lamp has much lower
resistance when it is dim.
Operation
5V
Part A: Build the circuit at left and set the meter (M5) on the 5V
setting. Push the press switch (S2) to measure the voltage across
the top lamp, which is bright.
Part B: Move the meter so it is across base grid locations C2-E2.
Push the press switch to measure the voltage across the lower
lamps, which are very dim. Watch the lower lamps closely as you
press the switch. Initially they are dark, but slowly become dimly lit.
5V
Note: The voltage in Part B will be much smaller; in some cases
it may even be too small to measure with your M5 meter. M5 is
a simple meter, don’t expect it to be as accurate as normal
electronic test instruments.
Description
The top lamp turns on faster and brighter because it has a higher
current through it, which heats up the filament quickly. The other
lamps turn on slowly and dimly because they have half the
current, which is barely enough to heat up their filaments.
Educational Corner:
The current through the top lamp is split
between the two lower lamps, so you would
probably expect the lower lamps to be half as
bright and to have half as much voltage across
them. Instead, they are much dimmer and
have a lot less voltage.
This happens because a dim light bulb has
less resistance than a bright one! Your L4 light
bulbs have resistance of less than 5 ohms
when dim, and about 15 ohms when bright.
Voltage
Resistance =
Current
Electric Paths
Snappy says: when a large current flows through
the lamp, the filament (a special high-resistance
wire) heats up and glows. All wires have higher
resistance when they are very hot.
-40-
Project #32
2-Way Switch
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown.
Operation
Whenever you flip either switch (S5), the lamp (L4) will
change (turning on or off).
Description
This switch arrangement is used to control room lights in
almost every home.
Snappy says: batteries are
widely used because they
are easy-to-use, safe, and
portable.
Educational Corner:
Example:
The lamp could be an overhead light in a hallway,
and one slide switch would be at each end of the
hallway. Whenever you walk into the hallway you
flip the switch to turn on the light, and flip the
other switch to turn off the light when you leave
the hallway on the other side.
Light Switch
(on)
-41-
Electric
Paths
Light Switch
(off)
Project #33
Another 2-Way Switch
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown.
Operation
Whenever you flip either switch (S5), the lamp (L4) will change (turning on or off).
Description
This is another common switch arrangement used to control room lights in
homes. It can be used to control many lights at the same time.
The cost of electricity from
the electric company is
much less than the cost of
electricity from batteries.
Educational Corner:
Only a tiny portion of the electricity used in our world
comes from batteries. The rest is produced at enormous
electric power plants, operated by your local electric
company. The electricity from these power plants is
available at each of the electrical outlets in the walls of
your home. The voltage of this electricity is 120V, much
higher than the voltage of the batteries in Snaptricity®.
The current available is very large, since it must power
products like dishwashers and TVs.
Our lives are much easier and more fun by having such
power available by simply plugging into an electrical
outlet. This amount of electricity is also very dangerous,
and it will kill anyone who abuses it. While accidents
involving electricity are rare, they kill people every year.
Never put anything into an electrical outlet except an
electrical plug. Battery-powered products are safe,
since small batteries are too weak to hurt people.
The protective plastic around the wires of a lamp plug are
all that protects you from the full power of electricity.
Damaged electrical cords should always be unplugged
and repaired. Remember that electricity travels through
water, so don’t use electric products while taking a bath
(battery-powered products are fine).
Your home has fuses that automatically turn off the
electricity in your home if there is an electrical problem,
such as a short circuit. These fuses prevent electrical
problems in your home from affecting your neighbors, but
they do not protect you.
Electric Paths
-42-
Project #34
3-Speed Motor
Assembly
Build the circuit. Set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale and
leave the fan off the motor (M1).
+
Operation
1A
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the motor and use
the slide switches (S5) to control its speed. The meter (M5)
measures the current. You may need to give the motor a
push to get it started, but do not touch it while it is spinning.
Description
Here you control the motor speed by diverting some of the
current to the lamps.
Educational Corner:
!
1A
+
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
Snappy says:
This is one way to
control the speed
of a motor.
Do you want to learn more?
Friction
Place the fan on the motor. Set both slide
switches to position B and push the press
switch. The motor will not spin.
Now set the slide switches to position C, push
S2 to get the motor spinning, then set the slide
switches back to B. The motor could not start
spinning with the other lamps on, but it will
keep spinning as long as you keep pushing
S2. Why?
The surfaces touched by the motor shaft offer
some resistance to motion, called friction.
Once the initial friction is overcome, it doesn’t
take much effort to keep the motor spinning.
Motor performance may vary, in rare cases it
may spin in all switch settings.
-43-
Electric Paths
Project #35
3-Speed Motor (II)
Assembly
5V
Build the circuit. Set the meter (M5) to the 5V scale and
leave the fan off the motor (M1).
+
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the motor and use
the slide switches (S5) to control its speed. The meter
measures the voltage across the motor. You may need to
give the motor a push to get it started, but do not touch it
while it is spinning.
Description
!
Snappy says: the name “short circuit” refers
to how the current through the circuit
bypasses (jumps around) other components
in the circuit. It is the “easiest” path through
the circuit, it is not always the “shortest”.
WARNING: Moving
parts. Do not touch
the motor during
operation.
5V
+
Here you control the motor speed by diverting some of the
current to the lamps (L4). Turning on the other lamps diverts
current away from the motor, reducing the voltage across it and
slowing it down. This circuit is the same as project 34, except it
measures the motor voltage instead of the circuit current.
Educational Corner:
When wires from different parts of
a circuit connect accidentally then
we have a “short circuit”. You’ve
probably heard this term in the
movies; it usually means trouble.
turning on a circuit. See page 7
for examples of short circuits.
Electric Paths
A short circuit is a wiring path that
bypasses the circuit resistance,
creating a no-resistance path
across the batteries. This will
damage components and/or
quickly drain your batteries. Be
careful not to make short circuits
when building your circuits.
Always check your wiring before
-44-
Project #36
3-Speed Motor (III)
+
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) on the 1A scale.
1A
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the motor (M1) and
use the slide switches (S5) to control its speed. The meter
measures the current through the motor. Be careful not to
touch the motor or fan while it is spinning. You may need to
give the fan a push to get it started, but do not touch it while
it is spinning.
Description
Snappy says: the current is
lower when the lamp is bright,
because the lamp filament
has the most resistance when
it is glowing hot.
Here you control the motor speed by diverting some of the
current to the lamps (L4).
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
!
Educational Corner:
1A
-45-
+
Turn off the slide switches (S5 Electric Paths
position B) and get the fan
spinning fast. Now turn on one of
the other lamps (S5 position C)
and watch how long it takes to
light. The lamp takes a few
seconds to get bright because it
takes time to heat up the filament
with a low current.
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Project #37
3-Position Switch
1A
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale.
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the right lamp and
use the slide switches (S5) to control the other parts. The
meter measures the circuit current.
+
Description
This circuit uses both slide switches to simulate a larger
switch controlling many things.
Snappy says: watch how the right lamp gets
dimmer when the motor is turned on. The
batteries can’t supply as much current as the
motor wants, so the voltage drops a little.
This circuit has 3 lamps and 1 motor. When the press switch
is pushed, 2 of these will always be on - you can’t set the
slide switches to control more or less.
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do
not touch the fan or motor during
operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Educational Corner:
Some switches can be very complex, switching groups of parts on or off at once.
+
1A
Electric Paths
-46-
Project #38
1A
3-Position Switch (II)
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale.
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the right lamp (L4)
and use the slide switches (S5) to control the other parts.
The meter measures the circuit current.
+
Description
This circuit uses both slide switches to simulate a larger
switch controlling many things.
This circuit has 3 lamps and 1 motor (M1). When the press
switch (S2) is pushed, either 1 or 3 of these will always be
on - you can’t set the slide switches to control more or less.
!
A “blackout” occurs when part of a city is cut off from the power plants supplying
it with electricity. The city will appear “black” from the air at night, since there are
no electric lights on. This is usually due to accidents or storms, but is also done
to confuse attacking bombers during war.
+
1A
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not
touch the fan or motor during operation.
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Educational Corner:
The electricity supplied to your
home and school by your local
electric company is not a constant
voltage like that from a battery. It
averages about 120V but is
constantly changing, due to the
design of the generators that
produce it. This is not a problem,
since all equipment that uses it
accounts for this change.
Electric Paths
-47-
!
Electrical current that is changing
is called an alternating current,
or AC. Because of this, the power
from the electric company is also
called AC power. An electrical
signal that is constant and
unchanging is called a direct
current, or DC. The power from a
battery is also called DC power.
Project #39
4-Position Switch
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale.
1A
Operation
Set the slide switches (S5) to all positions and see what lights.
Description
This circuit has four different lamp (L4) combinations, as if
the two slide switches were acting like one four-position
switch. The right lamp will always be on but its brightness
varies. The other lamps may be on or off.
This right lamp is always on but there are four different
paths to complete its circuit, because there are four slide
switch combinations. The meter measures the current
through one of the paths, see if you can find the others.
A “brownout” occurs when power plants cannot supply enough current to a
city during high demand, and must reduce the voltage below 120V. This
sometimes occurs on hot days in summer when everyone is using their air
conditioners.
Educational Corner:
Actual electrical connections are
made with solder, not snaps.
Before Soldering
Solder is a special metal made
mostly of tin that melts at relatively
low temperature (about 500OF).
Solder is applied and melted
around a joint where a connection
is being made; it creates a solid
bond between the metals.
Electric Paths
1A
After Soldering
Solder
-48-
Project #40
And
Assembly
Build the circuit shown.
Operation
Use the switches (S2, S5) to turn on the lamp (L4).
Description
The lamp will only light if there is a complete (“closed”)
circuit. This means that the left AND right slide switches (S5)
have to be on (position C). The press switch (S2) must be
on (pushed).
Educational Corner:
Snappy says: Engineers refer to this
switching combination as an AND
sub-circuit (short for “this AND that”).
It even has its own symbol.
AND Gate
Having to turn on a lot of switches just to turn on a lamp seems
simple but is very important. The press switch could represent
an on/off switch on an electric saw, one of the slide switches
could be a safety switch on the saw, and the other slide switch
could be a fuse box in your basement. Safety is very important
in electrical wiring.
AND circuits are used in home security systems, where contacts
across windows and doors are wired together in a series circuit
like this one. Opening any door or window breaks the circuit and
triggers an alarm.
Electric Paths
-49-
Project #41
+
Snappy says: this type of
switching combination is a
NAND sub-circuit (short for
“NOT this AND that”). It
has its own symbol.
And NOt
Assembly
Build the circuit shown.
Operation
NAND Gate
Hold down the press switch (S2), then use the slide
switches (S5) to turn the fan on or off.
Description
If the press switch is on, then the fan will be off unless both
lamps (L4) are on. In other words, the fan will be off if the
left lamp AND the right lamp are NOT off.
Educational Corner:
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
+
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Suppose you wanted to monitor the voltage
to a circuit, to see if the batteries were
getting weaker. You could use the meter to
measure the voltage, then read and record
every hour. Then you have a series of
numbers showing how the voltage was
changing. Even if you watched the meter
continuously, you probably wouldn’t
remember what the voltage was a week
later unless you wrote it down.
radios). Many products use both methods
on the same information but at different
times. The disadvantage of digital systems
is that they are more complex since they
have to store and process all the numbers.
The advantages are that IC technology
makes it inexpensive to store and process
information, and digital systems are more
protected from interference.
Electric Paths
Representing an electrical signal as a
series of numbers is digital electronics.
Computers store and process almost all
their information as series of recorded
numbers.
Sometimes it is easier to process
information as a digital series of numbers
(computers), and sometimes it is easier to
use a continuously changing voltage (AM
-50-
Project #42
Or
Assembly
Build the circuit shown.
Operation
Hold down the press switch (S2), then use the slide
switches (S5) to turn the fan on or off.
Description
If the press switch is on, then the fan will be on if either the
left OR right slide switch is set to ON (position C) OR both
slide switches are set to ON (position C).
+
The same type of circuit is used throughout your home,
such as having several sensors controlling a security light.
!
Snappy says: this type of switching
combination is an OR sub-circuit
(short for “this OR that”). It has its
own symbol.
OR Gate
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not
touch the fan or motor during operation.
-51-
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Educational Corner:
Simple switching circuits like this are the basic building blocks of
computers. Large arrays of simple sub-circuits like AND, NAND, OR,
and others are used to add and multiply numbers together in the heart
of advanced microprocessors. In computers, the switches used here
are transistors controlled by other parts of the computer.
Electric Paths
+
!
Project #43
Compass
Operation
1. Hold your compass away from everything, notice that the red
arrow always points north. Spin it around, the red arrow will
adjust and resume pointing north.
1
2
3
4
2. Now place the compass next to a large iron object, such as a
refrigerator or car. If the object is heavy enough, the red arrow
will point toward it.
3. Now place your magnet near the compass. The red arrow will
immediately point toward the black “S” side of the magnet,
ignoring a nearby refrigerator.
4. Pull out a 2-snap wire, a paper clip, the electrodes, the iron
core rod, and the thin bar. Decide which of these you think the
magnet will pick up, then try it and see if you were right. Do
the same for other materials in your home.
Description
Refrigerator
Door
1. The earth’s core is made of iron, which has a magnetic field.
The compass points north because it is attracted to this
magnetic field. This allows compasses to be used for navigation.
Educational Corner:
All materials have tiny particles with
electric charges, but these are so well
balanced that you do not notice them
unless an outside voltage disturbs
them. The same tiny particles also
have magnetic charges, which are
usually so well balanced that you do
not notice them unless a magnetic field
disturbs them.
Magnets are materials that concentrate
their magnetic charges at opposite
ends. One side attracts while the other
repels, but the overall material is
neutral. Most magnets are made of
iron. The name “magnet” comes from
magnetite, an iron ore that magnetism
was first seen in.
The earth we live on is a giant magnet,
due to its iron core. A compass needle
always points north because it is
attracted to the earth’s magnetic field.
The opposite ends of a magnet are
often labeled north and south,
representing the north and south poles
of the earth. For centuries ships have
used
suspended
magnets
for
navigation.
2. Large iron objects also exert a small magnetic field, which may
attract a nearby compass. The magnetic field is much weaker
than the earth’s, but much closer to the compass.
3. Magnets have been induced to have a concentrated magnetic
field at either end. This magnetic field is much stronger than
ordinary iron objects that may be nearby.
4. The physical properties of iron make it easy to induce a
magnetic attraction in. This doesn’t work for other metals or
other materials.
Snappy says: a compass
actually points to the earth’s
magnetic north pole (which is in
the Arctic Ocean just north of
Canada), not the geographic
north pole.
-52-
Project #44
Magnetic Fields
1
Operation
1. There is an area around a magnet
where it can affect other objects,
called a magnetic field.
It is
strongest at the ends of the magnet.
2
2. Slowly move your compass around
the magnet and watch its pointer to
see the magnetic field.
3. Shake the iron filings pack to
spread the filings evenly. Move the
magnet over the filings and you can
see the magnetic field in them.
4. Loop two paper clips together.
Hold them near the magnet and
move them around it to see the
magnetic field.
Educational Corner:
A magnet has a magnetic field, and a
battery has an electric field. The north and
south poles of a magnet are comparable to
the positive and negative terminals of a
battery.
3
Magnet - magnetic field
4
-53-
Battery - electric field
Electric and magnetic fields affect each
other. If you place a magnet next to a radio
your reception can be disturbed.
Project #45
1
Iron Extension
2
Operation
1. Place the iron core rod on one side of the
magnet, making a chain. Hold/move the
compass along this chain to see how the
magnet’s magnetic field has been extended
through the rod. You can also use the iron
fillings pack to see the magnetic field.
2. Hold the compass close to the iron core rod,
then remove it from the magnet. See how
the compass reacts to this change to the
magnetic field.
3. You can use the iron core rod to help the
magnet pick up paperclips at a greater
distance than normally possible.
Snappy says: Permanent magnets
are made by exposing iron (or other
metals) to a much stronger magnetic
field, usually from an electromagnet.
3
Educational Corner:
Magnets can magnetize
other materials (usually
iron), concentrating their
magnetic
charges
at
opposite ends. This causes
the magnetic attraction/
repulsion that you see.
Magnetization can be
temporary or long-lasting,
depending on the materials
and magnetic force used.
For example, Paper Clips
attracted to a magnet
sometimes stick together
after the magnet is
removed. Most magnets
can be demagnetized using
heat or vibration.
-54-
Project #46
Electronic Magnet
Iron Core Rod
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Place the iron core rod inside the
electromagnet (M3) and secure it with the rubber grommet.
This project works best if you have new alkaline batteries.
Rubber Grommet
Operation
Hold the electromagnet near something made of iron and
push the switch (S2). While pressed, the electromagnet will
attract small metal parts like nails or will stick to a hammer
or refrigerator. Release the switch and the attraction
disappears.
Description
Pressing the switch turns on an electric current which
transforms the electromagnet from an ordinary coil of
copper wire into a magnet.
Educational Corner:
Snappy says: an electronic
magnet is much better than
an ordinary magnet because
you can turn it on or off with a
switch!
-55-
An electron current flowing in a
wire has a tiny magnetic field.
By looping a long wire into a
coil the tiny magnetic field is
concentrated into a large one.
The strength of the magnetic
field depends on how much
current is flowing in the wire
and how many loops of wire.
Project #47
ElectroMagnet Magnetic Field
Iron Core Rod
2
Rubber Grommet
Operation
1. Use the circuit from the preceding project, with the
iron core rod in the electromagnet (M3). An electronic
magnet has a magnetic field just like an ordinary
magnet.
Hold your compass next to the
electromagnet and push the press switch (S2). Move
the compass all around the electromagnet and watch
where the compass points.
2. The magnetic field created by a magnet occurs in a
loop. You can see this using paper clips.
3
3. Remove the iron core rod from the electromagnet.
Now push the press switch again and try to pick up
things with the electromagnet. The attraction is now
very weak.
The iron core rod concentrated the magnetic effects
of the electromagnet. You can use the compass to
see that electronic field is now much weaker.
4. Materials made of iron concentrate their magnetic
effects at both ends. The center of the material is
magnetically neutral because the attraction from
each end is the same.
4
1
Note: the compass needle
may point opposite to how
it’s shown here, depending
on how you connected the
jumper wires.
The magnetic field created by the electromagnet
works the same way. It is strongest at both ends but
neutral in the center. But the electromagnet is hollow
- so iron at one end will be sucked into the middle.
Lay the electromagnet on its side. Hold the thin rod
next to the center hole and push the press switch to
suck it inside. Hold the switch and gently pull the rod
to see how much suction the electromagnet has.
Snappy says: you can turn on
the switch to pick up things with
the electromagnet, then release
the switch to drop them. This is
done with large magnets at
factories or junk yards.
-56-
Project #48
ElectroMagnet Tower
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown and drop the thin rod into the
electromagnet (M3).
Operation
Note: the magnet poles may be opposite of how it’s
shown here, depending on how you connected the
electromagnet (M3).
Coils store energy in a
magnetic field, while static
electricity stores energy in an
electric charge across a
material (an electric field).
Push the press switch (S2) several times. The thin rod gets
sucked into the electromagnet and can be suspended
there, or you can bounce it up and down.
When you push the press switch, the thin rod gets sucked
up and wiggles up and down until settling in position just
below center. Measure how high you get the thin rod to go,
then try with old and brand new batteries. Remove a 1-snap
from under each side of the electromagnet, then see how
high the thin rod will go.
Part B: With the switch pressed and the thin rod suspended
in mid-air, hold the magnet near the thin rod. Notice that the
red (N) side of the magnet repels the thin rod but the black
(S) side attracts it.
Educational Corner:
Magnets concentrate their
magnetic effects at both ends.
The magnetic field is strongest
at both ends but neutral in the
center, because the attraction
from each end is the same.
But the electromagnet is
hollow - so iron at one end will
be sucked into the middle.
-57-
The magnetic field produced
by the electromagnet has
direction just like a normal
magnet. Opposite ends of
magnets attract, while like
ends repel each other.
Find two magnets in your
home. Try putting them
together, then flip one around.
They will attract one way but
repel the other way.
Project #49
ElectroMagnetic Suspender
A transformer is a magnetic
bridge,
since
we
use
magnetism to cross an air
gap that electricity cannot
cross by itself.
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown and drop the thin rod into the
electromagnet (M3).
Operation
Set the slide switch (S5) to both positions and push the
press switch (S2) several times; compare how high the thin
rod will go. Next, flip the switch slide back and forth WHILE
keeping the press switch pushed; the thin rod stays
suspended but its height changes.
The lamps (L4) are used to reduce the current through the
electromagnet, they will not light.
Educational Corner:
If a current through a coil can
magnetize an iron bar, what if
you had another coil from a
different circuit wrapped around
the same iron bar? The
magnetization of the iron bar
would create a current in the
other circuit.
This is a
transformer, which allows one
circuit to create a current in
another circuit using magnetic
fields.
Original Current
Iron Bar
Created
Current
convert this to smaller or larger
Transformers allow
voltages as needed.
circuits
to
be
High Voltage
isolated from each
Power Plant
Power Lines
other, since the
connection between
them is magnetic Typical
and not electrical. Transformer
Transformers can
also change the voltage by
using coils with more or less
loops of wire.
When electric power companies
transport electricity across great
distances (like between power
generating plants and cities),
they use very high voltages and
low currents since this reduces
power loss in the wires. Large
transformers convert this to
120V, which is supplied to
homes and offices.
Many
products (like computers) then
use small transformers to
Transformer
120V House
Power Line
Electric Paths
-58-
Project #50
Electromagnet Direction
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Place the iron core rod in the electromagnet (M3),
set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale, set the slide switches (S5) to position B.
Operation
Push the press switch (S2). The meter shows a current is flowing
and the compass needle is attracted to the electromagnet.
1A
Airport metal detectors work by
detecting a magnetic field change using
electromagnets.
Note: in some cases your M5 meter may not be sensitive enough to
measure the current. If your meter shows zero, switch to the 1mA
setting, then switch back (the 1mA scale prevents the compass from
working here).
Now flip both slide switches (to position C) and push the press switch
again. The meter shows no current (because electricity flows in the
other direction) and the other side of the compass needed is
attracted to the electromagnet (magnetic field is reversed). In some
cases you may need to hold the compass closer to the
electromagnet for the needle to change sides.
If you remove the iron core rod from the electromagnet, the compass
needle attraction will be much weaker.
Description
The direction of a magnetic field from a current flowing in a wire (or
coil of wire) depends on the direction of the electric current.
For more fun: with the press switch pushed, try lifting the iron core
rod out of the electromagnet with a paper clip.
1A
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
-59-
Project #51
Wire magnet
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown. This circuit works best
with new alkaline batteries.
Notes:
1. Place the red jumper wire near the 6-snap wire
at the bottom of the circuit. Keep it as far away
from the compass as you can.
2. The 5-snap wire is connected on level 4 on the
left side and at level 3 on the right side, over the
compass. Make sure it is securely snapped.
Operation
In 1820 Hans Christian Oersted of
Denmark noticed that an electric
current affects a compass needle. This
was the discovery of electromagnetism!
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
Set the slide switches (S5) so that the lamps (L4)
are on. While watching the compass, flip both
slide switches (reversing the current through the
lamps). You should see the compass needle
move a little - indicating a change in the magnetic
field from the wire.
Description
Any electric current flowing in a wire has a
magnetic field, but it is usually very small. An
electromagnet creates a noticeable magnetic
field by looping the wire very many times to
concentrate the magnetic field from it.
Note: The magnetic field produced by the wire is
very small. If the compass needle does not move,
check your batteries (B3), make sure you are not
close to any iron objects, and make sure the red
jumper is far from the compass.
-60-
Project #52
magnetic Induction
Assembly
1mA
Build the circuit as shown. Place the iron core rod into
the electromagnet (M3) and set the meter (M5) to the
1mA scale.
Operation
A. Move the magnet left-right or up-down near the
electromagnet. You may see the meter pointer
wiggle, which indicates a small current.
N
S
A
B. Place the magnet on the iron core rod and use it to
move the rod up and down IN the electromagnet.
The meter pointer should move or wiggle slightly,
showing a current is produced.
Snappy says: many vending
machines sort coins using
magnetism, since fake coins
will have different magnetic
properties.
B
1mA
Educational Corner:
Description
In separate experiments in the
1830s, Michael Faraday and
Joseph Henry discovered that
electric currents could be induced
by changing magnetic fields.
The meter shows an electric current even though no
batteries are used. By moving the magnet near the
coil, you have induced (created) a current in the circuit.
You have made electricity from magnetism - an electric
generator!
This simple concept became
extremely important to our society.
Today, high pressure water or steam
(heated by burning oil or coal) spins
large magnets in coils to produce
the electricity that runs our cities.
-61-
If you have a more powerful magnet in your home, use
it in place of the Snaptricity® magnet. A more powerful
magnet will create a larger current and be easier to
measure.
Battery-less flashlights and watches use this idea. By
shaking the flashlight or watch, you move a magnet in
it, which makes a current in a coil of wire, which
powers the unit.
Project #53
Motor
+
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown.
Operation
Set the slide switches (S5) so that both are set to the same
position (B or C), and push the press switch (S2). The lamps (L4)
light and the fan spins.
Flip the slide switches to the other position and push the press
switch again. The lamps still light and the fan spins the other
direction.
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
!
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Description
Motors are used throughout our society to convert electricity into
mechanical motion.
Snappy says: the switches reverse the
direction of electric current through the
motor, changing the direction it spins.
But the lamps don’t care which way
electricity is flowing.
Educational Corner:
To prove the motor
has a magnet
inside, move your
compass around it.
The red needle will
be attracted to one
side but repelled
from the other.
How does electricity turn the shaft in the motor? The answer is
magnetism. The motor is the opposite of an electromagnet.
Moving a magnet near a coil of wire can make a current flow in it
(like the electromagnet), but a current flowing can move a magnet.
Inside the motor is a coil of wire mounted on a shaft. The motor
shell has a magnet on it. When electricity flows through the coil
of wire, it repels from the magnet on the motor shell and the shaft
spins. If the fan is on the motor shaft then its blades will create
airflow.
Power Contacts
+
Magnet
Shell
Electric Paths
Shaft
Electromagnet
-62-
Project #54
Propeller and Fan
Assembly
+
Build the circuit shown.
Operation
Set the slide switches (S5) to position B and push the
press switch (S2). The fan blades suck in air around
the motor (M1) and push it straight up. Hold a sheet
of paper above the motor, it will get pushed up and
away from the fan.
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Snappy says: switching circuits like this are
commonly used to control motors in products like
remote-controlled cars. Electronic controlled
transistors are used in place of the switches, and
the motor drives the wheels in the car.
Flip the slide switches to position C and push the
press switch again. The fan spins the other direction
and sucks in air from above and pushes it down to the
table. If the fan is spinning fast enough, then it will
rise into the air when you release the press switch. If
you hold a sheet of paper near the motor, it will get
sucked into the fan.
Description
When the motor is blowing air up, it is a fan - just like
the ones in your home. It will cool you off on a hot day.
When the motor is sucking air in, it is a propeller - just
like the ones on helicopters or small airplanes.
Educational Corner:
+
-63-
How does the fan rise? Think first about how you swim. When
your arms or legs push water behind you, your body moves
ahead. A similar effect occurs in a helicopter - the spinning
blades push air down, and create an upward force on the
blades. If the blades are spinning fast enough, the upward
force will be strong enough to lift the helicopter off the ground.
While the switch is pressed, the motor rotation locks the fan
on the motor shaft. The fan does not spin fast enough to lift
the entire circuit off the ground. When the motor is turned
off, the fan unlocks from the shaft. The fan rises into the air
like a helicopter, since it is no longer held down by the weight
of the full circuit.
Electric Paths
Project #55
Back EMF
+
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown, leave the fan off the motor (M1).
Operation
Place your finger on the top of the motor shaft to prevent it
from spinning, then push the press switch (S2) - the lamps
(L4) are bright. Now release the motor shaft and press the
switch again - the lamps get dim or go out as the motor
speeds up. DO NOT TOUCH THE MOTOR WHILE IT SPINS.
Next, place the fan on the motor and push the press switch
again - the lamps stay bright as the fan speeds up.
Description
The voltage from the batteries (B3) pushes an electric
current through a coil in the motor, which spins the shaft
using magnetism. But the spinning shaft also uses
magnetism to produce a current in the coil, which opposes
the current from the batteries.
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
+
!
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
The result is that the motor has low resistance when the
shaft isn’t spinning fast, allowing a higher current to make
the lamps bright. When the shaft is spinning really fast
without the fan, the motor has high resistance, limiting the
current and keeping the lamps dim.
Educational Corner:
The voltage/current produced by a motor when it is
spinning is called its Back Electro-Motive-Force (Back
EMF); this may be thought of as the motor’s electrical
resistance. The motor’s Front Electro-Motive-Force
is the force it exerts in trying to spin the shaft. This
circuit demonstrates how the Back EMF increases
and the overall current decreases as the motor
speeds up.
Electric Paths
-64-
Project #56
Generator
Assembly
1A
BE SURE THE SLIDE SWITCH IS SET TO POSITION C BEFORE
COMPLETING THE CIRCUIT. Build the circuit as shown, leave the
fan off the motor (M1). Set the meter (M5) to the 5V scale for now.
+
or
Operation
5V
Set the switch to position B to get the motor spinning, then set it back
to C and watch the meter to see how much voltage is produced.
Next, set the meter to the 1A scale and set the switch to B for a
few seconds, then back to C and watch the current produced.
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Snappy says: the most important aspect of
electricity in our society - more important than the
benefits of the Internet - is that it allows energy to
be easily transported over distances.
Now put the fan on the motor and repeat the above tests to see
what voltage and current are produced with the fan on the motor.
Description
This circuit uses the batteries (B3) to get the motor spinning, then
disconnects the batteries and uses the motor as a generator. A
generator uses mechanical motion (here the spinning motor
shaft) to create electricity (a current in a coil in the motor). The
meter shows how much current and voltage are produced by the
spinning shaft, with and without the fan.
Educational Corner:
1A
or
5V
+
Nearly all of the electricity used in our world is produced
at enormous generators driven by steam or water
pressure. Wires are used to efficiently transport this
energy to homes and businesses where it is used.
Motors convert the electricity back into mechanical form
to drive machinery and appliances.
Not only can electricity be transported over long
distances, it can also be transported over tiny distances.
Try to imagine a plumbing structure of the same
complexity as the circuitry inside a portable radio - it
would have to be large because we can’t make water
pipes so small. Electricity allows complex designs to be
made very small.
Electric
Paths
-65-
Project #57
Make Your Own Generator
Snappy says: gears are used between
two wheels or shafts. One wheel spins at
low speed but with great force, while the
other wheel spins at high speed but with
much less force. This can increase
efficiency or give greater control.
1mA
Assembly
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to the 1mA scale.
Operation
Spin the motor (M1) top clockwise with your fingers and watch
how much current is produced. (Clockwise means in the direction
in which the hands of a clock rotate.)
+
Now spin the motor in the other direction (counter-clockwise). You
won’t see much current produced now because it is produced in
the other direction - the meter needs to be flipped around. Instead
of flipping the meter around, flip the motor around to see this.
Description
This circuit is a true generator, using motion (and magnetism) to
make an electric current.
Notice that this circuit used the 1mA meter setting while the
preceding circuit used the 1A setting (1000 times greater). You can
produce a much higher current by spinning the shaft much faster.
Hand-cranked generators like this are used in some flashlights
instead of batteries. They use gears to spin the shaft much faster.
Educational Corner:
1mA
+
In electric power plants, the same thing happens but on a
much larger scale. High-pressure steam or water spins a
shaft, which uses magnetism to make an electric current
in a coil of wire.
Changing the direction you spin the shaft changes the
direction of the magnetic field produced, which changes
the direction of the electric current produced. This is
known as Lenz’s Law, after Russian physicist H. F. E. Lenz
who studied electromagnetic induction in the 1800’s.
Magnet
Coil of Wire
Water Flow
-66-
Project #58
String Generator
FOR ADVANCED USERS - ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
1mA
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to either the 1mA or
1A scale.
Operation
+
Using the string, make a small loop at one end and put it on
a prong of the motor (M1) top. Wind a few feet of the string
around the motor shaft (wind it so that pulling the string will
spin the motor shaft clockwise). Then pull the string gently
but fast, watching the current produced in the meter. Get an
adult to help with this if needed.
If you can spin the shaft really fast
then you may be able to light the
lamp:
If you wind the string well and pull it fast, you can move the
meter on the 1A scale. If not, you can use the 1mA scale
to easily see the effect.
A spare motor top is included with this kit in case you break
any of the prongs on the motor top. Use a screwdriver to
pry off the broken piece, then push the new one on.
Description
This circuit shows how much more
current is produced when you spin
the motor shaft faster.
1mA
-67-
+
In many power plants, coal or oil is
burned to heat water creating steam,
which spins a turbine to make electricity.
Project #59
Motion Enhancer
Assembly
Build the circuit. Leave the fan off the motor (M1). Set the
slide switch (S5) to position C. Leave the red jumper wire off
for now.
Operation
Give the motor shaft a spin with your finger. Notice how
easily it spins, in both directions.
Now connect one end of the red jumper wire to the 3-snap
wire, and hold the other end to the center spring in the
battery holder (B3). Spin the motor shaft with your finger
again, while still touching the red jumper snap to the spring
in the battery holder. In one direction (clockwise) it will spin
more easily than before, but less easily than before in the
other direction (counter-clockwise).
Description
+
There is a small current through the motor, this helps to
spin in one direction but resists spinning in the other
direction.
The slide switch adjusts the motor current, position B will
not enhance/resist the spinning as much as position C.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
+
-68-
Project #60
+
Holding Down
Assembly
Build the circuit. Set the meter (M5) to the 5V scale,
place the fan on the motor (M1), and drop the thin
rod into the electromagnet (M3).
Operation
5V
Push the press switch (S2). The fan spins, the lamps
(L4) light, and the meter measures the voltage.
Nothing happens to the thin rod. Notice that the
voltage is much lower then the normal 4.5V; the
motor and lamps are overloading the batteries (B3),
so the voltage drops.
Part B
Part B: Remove the motor and lamps from the
circuit, then push the press switch again. Now the
measured voltage is much higher, and the thin rod
gets sucked up by the electromagnet.
Description
5V
+
5V
The motor and lamps overloaded the batteries and
prevented the electromagnet from sucking up the
thin rod.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
-69-
Project #61
Make Your Own Electromagnet
FOR ADVANCED USERS - ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
Build the circuit. Place the rubber grommet on one end of the iron
core rod and wrap the red jumper wire tightly around it, as shown.
Connect the red jumper wire to the circuit. Set the slide switches
(S5) so both are in the same position (B or C).
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) and move the iron core rod (with the red
wire around it) around the compass and watch how it attracts the
compass needle. The lamps (L4) also light when the switch is pressed.
Flip both slide switches to reverse the current. Push the press switch
again and watch the compass to see how the magnetic field has changed.
Part B: Now take off the rubber grommet and remove the iron core
rod, but keep the red wire wound in a coil and connected to the
circuit. Push the press switch and watch the compass while moving
the coiled red wire around it. Now the compass needle has much
less attraction to the red wire.
Iron Core Rod
Rubber Grommet
Part B
Snappy says:
Your electromagnet (M3) is
just like the coiled red wire
except that it has many
more loops. This gives it a
stronger magnetic field.
Description
This circuit shows how wrapping a wire into a coil concentrates the
magnetic field from the wire. The more loops of wire a coil has, the
stronger the magnetic field produced. So if you only loop the jumper
wire around the iron core rod a few times, the magnetic field will not
be nearly as strong. You can also see how looping the wire around
an iron core increases the magnetic field produced.
Educational Corner:
The iron core rod may remain
magnetized for a while after you
turn off the circuit. Magnets are
usually made by subjecting iron
bars to powerful magnetic fields.
Some
iron
ores
hold
a
magnetization for a long time,
while other ores lose it as soon as
the magnetizing field is removed.
Heat and vibration can speed up
demagnetization.
Electric Paths
-70-
Project #62
Note spring
direction of
1-snap
Relay
FOR ADVANCED USERS - ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Three 3-snaps are stacked together at base grid
location D3-F3. Snap the 4-snap onto the 1-snap at B4, then place it so
it lays on the snap at D2 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON). Place the nut-snap on
the 4-snap so it will be under the electromagnet (M3). This circuit works
best with new alkaline batteries.
Place the rubber grommet on the iron core rod and push the rod into the
electromagnet until it is just barely above the nut-snap without touching
it (0.025 inches).
Operation
Turn on the slide switch (S5, position C). The lamp (L4) should be on (if off,
make sure the 4-snap is touching the 2-snap at D2 without being snapped there).
Push the press switch (S2) to turn on the electromagnet. This should raise
the 4-snap slightly and turn off the lamp (adjust the position of the grommet
on the rod if it does not). If you still can’t get it to work, rotate the 1-snap
at location B4 to the proper spring direction as shown, this may make the
4-snap move more easily.
Relays are electronically controlled switches,
which allow a low-voltage circuit to control a
high-voltage or high-current circuit. You may
never have heard of them, but they are used in
many appliances in your home.
Description
This circuit is a relay, which uses one circuit to create a magnetic field
that controls another circuit. The current through the electromagnet
makes a magnetic field that attracts the nut-snap, which breaks the
circuit to the lamp.
Educational Corner:
When you need a relay for a circuit, you usually buy
one instead of building one.
Electrical Symbol for Relay
-71-
Actual Relay
Electric Paths
Project #63
Relay (II)
Note spring
direction of
1-snap
FOR ADVANCED USERS ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. Three 3-snaps are stacked
together at base grid location E4-E6. Snap the 4-snap onto
the 1-snap at D2, then place it so it lays on the snap at F4
(DO NOT SNAP IT ON). Place the nut-snap on the 4-snap
so it will be under the electromagnet (M3). This circuit
works best with new alkaline batteries.
Place the rubber grommet on the iron core rod and push
the rod into the electromagnet until it is just barely above
the nut-snap without touching it (0.025 inches).
Operation
Part A: Set the left slide switch (“X”) to position C and the
right slide switch (“Y”) to position C. The lamp (L4) should
be on (if off, make sure the 4-snap is touching the lamp
snap at F4 without being snapped there).
Set the left slide switch (X) to position B to turn on the
electromagnet. This should raise the 4-snap slightly and
turn off the lamp (adjust the position of the grommet on
the rod if it does not). If you still can’t get it to work, rotate
the 1-snap at location D2 to the proper spring direction as
shown, this may make the 4-snap move more easily.
The electromagnet pulls the 4-snap up
to break the flow of electricity.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
Part B: Keep the left switch (X) on B and flip the right
switch (Y) back and forth a few times, waiting a few
seconds in each position. When the right switch (Y) is set
to C, the lamp should come on for a few seconds, then turn
off automatically. This circuit requires precise adjustment; if
it doesn’t work then make sure the grommet and 4-snap
are positioned as described above and start over.
Description
This circuit is a variation of the preceding relay circuit.The
current through the electromagnet makes a magnetic field
that attracts the nut-snap, which breaks the circuit to the
lamp.
Switch Y turns on the circuit and switch X controls the
electromagnet. In part B, the lamp flashes briefly because
it turns on faster than the electromagnet.
-72-
Project #64
FOR ADVANCED USERS ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Relay (III)
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. At base grid location C1-C3, 3snaps are on levels 1 and 3 and a 2-snap is on level 4. Snap
the 4-snap onto the 1-snap at B5, then place it so it lays on
the snap at D3 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON). Place the nut-snap
on the 4-snap so it will be under the electromagnet (M3).
This circuit works best with new alkaline batteries.
Place the rubber grommet on the iron core rod and push
the rod into the electromagnet until it is just barely above
the nut-snap without touching it (0.025 inches).
Operation
Set the left slide switch (“X”) to position C and the right
slide switch (“Y”) to position C. Lamps B and C should be
on (if off, make sure the 4-snap is touching the lamp snap
at D3 without being snapped there).
Note spring
direction of
1-snap
Set the left slide switch (X) to position B to turn on the
electromagnet. This should raise the 4-snap slightly, turn off
lamp B, and turn on lamp A (adjust the position of the grommet
on the rod if it does not). If you still can’t get it to work, rotate
the 1-snap at location B5 to the proper spring direction as
shown, this may make the 4-snap move more easily.
In a relay, the controlling signal and the
signal being switched do not affect each
other. This is done by using magnetism
to open or close a mechanical switch.
Description
This circuit is a variation of the preceding relay circuits.The
current through the electromagnet makes a magnetic field
that attracts the nut-snap, which breaks the circuit to the
lamp. Switch Y turns on the circuit and switch X controls
the electromagnet.
Educational Corner:
Most home appliances operate at
120V. However, the electronic
circuits used to control them
(either automatically or by
interfacing with people) operate
at lower voltages (usually 5-15V).
Relays allow these low voltage
circuits to control high voltage
machinery and appliances.
-73-
Electric
Paths
Project #65
Note spring
direction of
1-snap
Buzzer
FOR ADVANCED USERS ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
Build the circuit shown. At base grid location B6-B8, 3snaps are on levels 1, 3 and 4. Snap the 4-snap onto
the 1-snap at A4, then place it so it lays on the snap at
C6 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON). Place the nut-snap on the
4-snap so it will be under the electromagnet (M3). This
circuit works best with new alkaline batteries.
Place the rubber grommet on the iron core rod and
push the rod into the electromagnet until it is just barely
above the nut-snap without touching it (0.025 inches).
Operation
Snappy says: this circuit also works if you replace
the lamp with the meter, use the 1mA scale.
Since the circuit is sometimes on and sometimes
off, the meter pointer will be vibrating.
Set the slide switch (S5) to position B to turn on the
circuit. The lamp (L4) should be on; adjust the position
of the grommet until you hear a buzzing sound. If the
lamp is off, make sure the 4-snap is touching the lamp
snap at C6 without being snapped there. Make sure the
4-snap lays centered on the snap at C6 (vibration tends
to move it off-center).
Educational Corner:
This circuit requires precise adjustment; if it doesn’t
work then make sure the grommet and 4-snap are
positioned as described above and start over. If you still
can’t get it to work, rotate the 1-snap at location A4 by
90 degrees, this may make the 4-snap move more
easily.
Description
Electric Paths
As in the preceding relay circuits, the current through
the electromagnet makes a magnetic field that attracts
the nut-snap, which breaks the circuit to the lamp.
However in this circuit attracting the nut-snap also
breaks the circuit to the electromagnet, which then
releases the nut-snap. This creates a feedback loop
which raises and releases the nut-snap in a repeating
cycle. The buzzing sound you hear is from raising and
releasing the nut-snap many times a second.
-74-
Project #66
Buzzer (II)
FOR ADVANCED USERS ADULT SUPERVISION RECOMMENDED
Assembly
5V
Build the circuit shown. Two 3-snaps are stacked together at base grid location B2B4, two snaps are stacked together at grid location B4-C4, and three 2-snaps are
stacked together at grid location C5-D5. Snap the 4-snap onto the 1-snap at A6,
then place it so it lays on the snap at C4 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON). Place the nutsnap on the 4-snap so it will be under the electromagnet (M3). This circuit works
best with new alkaline batteries.
Place the rubber grommet on the iron core rod and push the rod into the
electromagnet until it is just barely above the nut-snap without touching it (0.025
inches).
Snappy says: This
circuit is similar to an
electric bell. Instead
of having a snap piece
vibrating, there is a
hammer hitting a bell.
Operation
Note spring
direction of
1-snap
Set the slide switch (S5) to position B to turn on the circuit. Adjust the position of
the grommet until you hear a buzzing sound. Make sure the 4-snap lays centered
on the snap at C4 (vibration tends to move it off-center); it should lay there without
being snapped. The meter measures the current.
This circuit requires precise adjustment; if it doesn’t work, then make sure the
grommet and 4-snap are positioned as described above and start over. If you still
can’t get it to work, rotate the 1-snap at location A6 to the proper spring direction
as shown, this may make the 4-snap move more easily.
Description
Educational Corner:
Sound is a variation in air pressure created by a mechanical vibration. For a demonstration of this, lay
one of your stereo speakers on the floor, place your hand on it, and turn up the volume. You should feel
the speaker vibrate. Now place a piece of paper on the speaker; if the volume is loud enough, you will
see the paper vibrate.
Electric Paths
-75-
This circuit is a feedback loop which raises and releases the nut-snap in a
repeating cycle. The buzzing sound you hear is from raising and releasing the
nut-snap many times a second.
When you hear buzzing, the current is very small but the meter (M5) needle will
be vibrating, because the circuit is turning on and off rapidly. If there is no sound,
then the current should be about 0.1A, due to the resistance of the electromagnet.
Project #67
Reed Switch
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown. Place paper clips at base grid
locations B1 and B3, beneath all the parts (this is used to
raise the parts slightly). Snap the 6-snap at F5, then place
it so it lays on the snap at B2 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON).
Place the nut-snap on the 6-snap.
N
Operation
Set the slide switch (S5) to position C to turn on the circuit,
lamp A (L4) should be on.
S
Paperclips
Now hold the magnet about 0.1 inch above the nut-snap to
attract it, this should turn off lamp A and turn on lamp B.
Moving the magnet up and down slightly above the nut-snap
should attract and release it, flipping the lamps on and off.
Description
W. B. Elwood invented the reed switch at
Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1936.
This circuit acts as a reed switch, which is an electrical
switch operated by a magnetic field. In this case, the magnet
uses the reed switch to control the lamps.
Reed switches are used as proximity switches and in door
and window sensors for burglar alarms. Speed sensors on
bicycles use a reed switch to detect when a magnet on the
wheel passes the sensor.
Educational Corner:
An actual normal open reed switch has two metal
tabs inside a glass tube. A magnetic field brings
the tabs together to complete a circuit. Here is a
typical reed switch:
Glass Seal
Glass Tube
Electric
Paths
Thick Wire
Contacts
-76-
Project #68
Reed Switch (II)
Assembly
N
S
Build the circuit as shown. Place paper clips at base grid
locations A7 and C7, beneath all the parts (this is used to
raise the parts slightly). Snap the 6-snap at B2, then place
it so it lays on the snap at B7 (DO NOT SNAP IT ON).
Place the nut-snap on the 6-snap. Drop the thin rod inside
the electromagnet (M3).
Operation
Set the slide switch (S5) to position B to turn on the circuit, the
top lamp (L4) should be off and the bottom lamp should be on.
Now hold the magnet about 0.1 inch above the nut-snap to
attract it, this should turn on the top lamp, turn off the
bottom lamp, and suck the thin rod into the electromagnet.
Moving the magnet up and down slightly above the nutsnap should attract and release it, flipping the lamps on and
off and bouncing the thin rod.
Paperclips
Description
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
-77-
Snappy says: a reed switch
could be used in a door
alarm. If a reed switch is in a
wall and a magnet is on a
door next to it, an alarm
could be triggered if the door
is opened.
This circuit acts as a reed switch, which is an electrical
switch operated by a magnetic field. In this case, the
magnet uses the reed switch to control electrical and
mechanical devices (the lamps and thin rod).
Project #69
Cola Power
Assembly
1mA
Set the meter (M5) to the 1mA scale and connect the
jumper wires to it. Hold the metal snap of the jumper
wires to the electrodes (red to copper), and place them
in a cup of cola soda.
Operation
Read the current on the meter. You may switch the
meter to the 5V scale to also measure the voltage
produced, but the voltage may be too small to
measure accurately with a simple meter like M5.
You can buy a cola-powered clock.
Try replacing the cola with other flavors and compare
them.
Throw away the soda used in this project. Wash off the
electrodes.
Description
If you want to watch
this for a while without holding it,
place the electrode between two
2-snaps as shown here.
Cola-flavored soda is lightly acidic.The acid is similar
to the material used in some types of batteries, though
not nearly as strong.
The acid in the cola will react with the copper and zinc
electrodes to make an electric current, just like the AA
batteries that run your Snaptricity® kit or the larger
battery in your family car. As some of the acid in the
soda is neutralized, the current produced drops.
-78-
Project #70
Fruit Power
Assembly
1mA
Squish or roll a lemon a few times to break up some of the cells
inside (tomatoes or grapefruit also work). Stick the copper and
zinc electrodes into the lemon. Set the meter (M5) to the 1mA
scale and connect the jumper wires to it. Hold the metal snap
of the jumper wires to the electrodes (red to copper).
Operation
Read the current from your “lemon battery” on the meter.
Try placing the electrodes in different parts of the lemon to
see how the current changes. You may switch the meter to
the 5V scale to also measure the voltage produced, but the
voltage may be too small to measure accurately with a
simple meter like M5. You may see the current/voltage
slowly drop as the “lemon battery” is used up.
Snappy says: you are
converting
chemical
energy into electrical
energy.
If you don’t measure any current, move the electrodes
closer together or to a different place on the fruit.
Replace the lemon with other fruits or vegetables such as
a tomato, grapefruit, orange, carrot, or onion; see how
much current they produce.
Throw away the fruits and vegetables when you are finished
with this project. Wash off the electrodes.
If you want to watch
this for a while without holding it,
place the electrode between two
2-snaps as shown here.
Description
Some fruits and vegetables have a sour taste because they
are lightly acidic. The acid in them is similar to the material
used in some types of batteries, though not nearly as strong.
The acid in the fruit will react with the copper and zinc
electrodes to make an electric current, just like the “AA”
batteries that run your Snaptricity® kit or the larger battery
in your family car. As some of the acid in the fruit is
neutralized, the current produced drops.
-79-
Project #71
Water Impurity Detector
Assembly
1mA
Set the meter (M5) to the 1mA scale and connect the
jumper wires to it. Hold the metal snap of the jumper
wires to the electrodes (red to copper), and place them
in a cup of water.
Operation
Read the current on the meter, if it is zero then your
water is relatively free of impurities. Having impurities
does not mean your water is unsafe to drink. You can
try dissolving salt in the water and see if the current
changes.
If you have some distilled water, test it. It should have
zero current.
Replace the water with fruit juices and see how they
compare. Sour tasting juices like lemon or grapefruit
juice usually produce the most current.
Don’t drink any water or juice used in this project.
Wash any juice off the electrodes.
If you want to watch
this for a while without holding it,
place the electrode between two
2-snaps as shown here.
Description
The water in some areas is slightly acidic due to
impurities in it. This may be strong enough to produce
a current by reacting with the electrodes, similar to
how a battery works. These impurities should be safe
to drink.
Some fruit juices are more acidic and will produce a
higher current.
-80-
Project #72
Indian Rope Trick
Operation
Part A: Secure the magnet in place with nothing
beneath it. Tie a paper clip to the string and place it
on the magnet. Slowly pull the string away so the
paper clip is suspended in air. Hold the paper clip in
place with a weight, as shown.
Next, hold the magnet near the paper clip and lift it
off the ground, without it touching the magnet. Move
it around in mid-air.
Part B: Build the circuit shown and place the iron
core rod in the electromagnet (M3). Secure the paper
clip-string with a weight above the circuit, as shown.
Push the press switch (S2) to pull the paper clip
towards the electromagnet. Attract and release the
paper clip by pressing and releasing the switch.
Do you feel like a magician?
-81-
Project #73
+
Hypnotic Discs
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown. Cut out the red spiral pattern shown and tape it on the fan.
Operation
Part A
Spin the pattern by briefly pushing the press switch (S2). You will see the most interesting effects when
the pattern is spinning slowly. See if you can hypnotize someone into a trance.
Part B
Replace the pattern with the colored lines pattern shown. When the switch is pressed, the arcs turn into
colored rings with a black background. Notice how the color drops when it is stretched to make a
complete circle.
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not
touch the fan or motor during
operation.
!
WARNING: Do not lean over the
motor.
Part C
Place the circuit under a fluorescent light in your home and spin the disc slowly. As the speed changes,
you may notice the lines first seem to move in one direction, then they start moving in another direction.
This effect is because the lights are blinking 60 times a second and the changing speed of the motor is
acting like a strobe light to catch the motion at certain speeds. This doesn’t work with all fluorescent
lights, due to differences in their circuitry.
Try to make your own hypnotic disc!
Educational Corner:
When a person is hypnotized, some
thinking capabilities of their mind are
bypassed and they are in a new frame
of thinking and perception. This can
help them relax during medical
procedures or other stressful times.
-82-
Project #74
+
!
WARNING: Moving parts.
Do not touch the fan or
motor during operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean
over the motor.
Spin Draw
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown (the same as the preceding project). Using the
fan as a guide, draw a circle on a piece of cardboard or paper. Cut the circle
out with scissors and tape it to the fan blade so it can be easily removed
later. Obtain some thin and thick marking pens to use as drawing tools.
Operation
Spin the paper by pressing and holding the press switch (S2) down. Gently
press the marker on the paper to form rings. To make spiral drawings,
release the press switch and as the motor approaches a slow speed, move
the marker from the inside outward quickly.
You are getting sleepy...
Change the colors often and avoid using too much black to get hypnotic
effects. Another method is to make colorful shapes on the disc then spin the
disc and watch them blend into each other.
Description
Spin Draw is an old toy that your parents may have played with when they
were young.
+
-83-
Project #75
Morse Code
Snappy says: Years ago
Indians would send
messages to other tribes
using smoke signals and
a special code.
Operation
This simple circuit can be used for communication.
Push the press switch (S2) in long and short bursts to make
a pattern of light flashes representing the dots and dashes
shown in the Morse Code table above. You can use Morse
Code and this circuit to send secret messages to some
friends in the room without others knowing what you’re saying.
If you have a strong flashlight or searchlight then you can
send messages to friends far away at night. During World
War II Navy ships sometimes communicated by flashing
Morse Code messages between ships using searchlights
(because radio transmissions might reveal their presence to
the enemy).
Educational Corner:
Morse Code: The forerunner of today’s
telephone system was the telegraph,
which was widely used in the latter half
of the 19th century. It only had two states
- on or off (that is, transmitting or not
transmitting), and could not send the
range of frequencies contained in human
voices or music. A code was developed
to send information over long distances
using this system and a sequence of dots
and dashes (short or long transmit
bursts). It was named Morse Code after
its inventor. It was also used extensively
in
the
early
days
of
radio
communications, though it isn’t in wide
use today. It is sometimes referred to in
Hollywood movies, especially Westerns.
MORSE CODE
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
._
_...
_._.
_..
.
.._.
__.
....
..
.___
_._
._..
__
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
_.
___
.__.
__._
._.
...
_
.._
..._
.__
_.._
_.__
__..
Period . _ . _ . _
Comma _ _ . . _ _
Question . . _ _ . .
1
.____
2
..___
3
...__
4
...._
5
.....
6
_....
7
__...
8
___..
9
____.
0
_____
-84-
Project #76
+
Flying Saucer
Snappy says: This circuit is
similar to project 54 but
may launch the fan a little
higher. Project 54 has the
slide switches and more
blue snap wires; together
these add a slight amount
of additional resistance to
the circuit.
Assembly
Build the circuit as shown and place the fan on the
motor (M1). Be sure the “+” side of the motor is on the
left.
Operation
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not
touch the fan or motor during
operation.
!
WARNING:
Do not lean over the motor. Fan may
not rise until switch is released.
+
-85-
Push the press switch (S2) until the motor reaches full
speed, then release it. The fan blade should rise and
float through the air like a flying saucer. Be careful not
to look directly down on fan blade when it is spinning.
If the fan doesn’t fly off, then turn the switch on and off
several times rapidly when it is at full speed.
Description
The air is being blown down through the blade and the
motor rotation locks the fan on the shaft. When the
motor is turned off, the blade unlocks from the shaft
and is free to act as a propeller and fly through the air.
If speed of rotation is too slow, the fan will remain on
the motor shaft because it does not have enough lift to
propel it. The motor will spin faster when the batteries
are new.
Project #77
1A
Power Light Regulator
Assembly
+
Build the circuit and set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale.
Leave the fan off the motor (M1).
Operation
Push the press switch (S2); at least one lamp (L4) lights
and the meter reads the current. The slide switches (S5)
add the other lamp and motor to the circuit.
Educational Corner:
Now set the top slide switch to position C (disabling the
motor) and the bottom slide switch to position B (enabling
the second lamp). While holding down the press switch, flip
the top slide switch to position B - the motor may need a
push to start. Now release the press switch and push it
again - the motor starts without a push.
!
1A
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
!
+
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Why can’t the motor start as easily when the lamps are
already on? The lamps have more resistance when they
are bright, and the motor needs a higher current to start
spinning. When the lamps start dark, more current flows
until they warm up. This extra current enables the motor to
get going.
Electric Paths
-86-
Project #78
RAISING THE BAR
Assembly
1A
Build the circuit as shown. Drop the thin rod into the electromagnet
(M3). Set the meter (M5) to the 1A setting.
Operation
Push the press switch (S2) to suck the thin rod into the
electromagnet. The meter measures the current.
The slide switches (S5) adjust the rod height and meter current
a little.
+
Description
The slide switches add one or two lamps to the circuit, reducing
the current through the electromagnet and meter.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
1A
+
-87-
Project #79
Electromagnetic Playground
1A
N
S
Assembly
+
Build the circuit as shown, set the top slide switch (S5) to position
C, place the fan on the motor (M1), place the iron core rod in the
electromagnet (M3), set the meter (M5) to the 1A scale, and lay
the magnet on the base grid in the spot shown (red side toward
the compass).
Operation
Push the press switch (S2); either the lamps (L4) will light or the
fan will spin, depending on the position of the lower slide switch.
Now, set the top slide switch to position C. When you push the press
switch, the compass needle moves; when you release the switch,
the compass returns to pointing toward the magnet. Hold down the
press switch while moving the magnet closer to and then away from
the compass, and watch how the compass needle points.
The meter always shows the current.
Description
!
WARNING: Moving parts. Do not touch
the fan or motor during operation.
+
!
1A
WARNING: Do not
lean over the motor.
Congratulations,
you’ve finished!
The switches direct the electricity between the lamps, motor, and
electromagnet. When activated, the electromagnet fights with the
magnet for control of the compass needle.
Educational Corner:
Electric Paths
-88-
Notes
-89-
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Wheeling, IL 60090 U.S.A.
L4
Red Jumper Wire
2
2
x2
x2
M5
Small Parts Bag
B3
S5
Fan
L4
S5
1
M1
x1
1
S2
L4
4
1
Magnet
M3
Compass
Iron Filings
Black Jumper Wire
2
x2
6
x1
5
x1
3
x2
3
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