Top positive review
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THIS TOY IS DA-BOMB!!!
on August 22, 2003
Anyone with even the slightest electronic background will appreciate the value of this toy. As a kid I remember the long frustrating hours of deciphering components from circuit diagrams and soldering them to create projects that were way too much effort. The limited success with these projects, I believe, is the reason I gave up my hobby.
As a parent of a six-year old, I have been trying to introduce him to all facets of science and this is a wonderful tool. He immediately created a circuit - a combination light/fan circuit - in parallel and in serial - and he understood the difference between them. It was just amazing. He always appreciates what we get him, but he fell in love with this toy instantly. He was engrossed for the next hour experimenting with the various components.
There are about 60 components which create a total of 300 projects. Count on there being about 125-150 basic projects (I have not conducted a detail count!) with the remaining coming from tweaks in these 125-150 basic projects. However, I do not want to discount the value of these tweaks...they are designed to teach the value of electronic components and instigate independent thinking. This is definitely a "Learning" Toy. With the limited emphasis on science in our schools, the approx. [item price] is worth the investment.
For people who cannot envision how these snap into place (I couldn't!), the "snap" is from "snap-button". The component is soldered onto a large piece of plastic which have snap-buttons on it. These snap-buttons snap onto a large plastic grid or onto other components. Simple concept - Snap-On and Snap-Off!!
All the components have their respective symbols stamped on them which aids in early familiarization. The pieces are also individually numbered so that there is no confusion in identifying the right component. The Manual is all-color and very easy to follow, however, some might prefer more detailed explanations.
The model I purchased was "Snap Circuit 300 with Computer Interface" an upgrade to the one available here. The interface package includes software and a cable which connects to the "line-in" jack of your PC. The other end of the cable has two alligator-clips which can connect to any two points in your circuit. The software turns your PC into an "oscilloscope" so that you can "see" the electrical activity between any two points in your circuit. I have yet to fully learn and appreciate the value of the oscilloscope.
For teenagers, there is a Snap Circuit 500. I believe it features more components and more complex circuits for about [item price].
WARNING: PLEASE READ UP ON BASIC ELECTRICITY AND EXPLAIN THE PRINCIPLES TO YOUR CHILD. MY SON CONNECTED THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE POLES OF THE POWER SUPPLY FOR ONLY 5-7 SECONDS - THE BATTERY HEATED UP AND POPPED INTO HIS HAND. DID NOT BURN, BUT TAUGHT A VALUABLE LESSON - TO ME!! I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO EXPLAIN BASIC ELECTRICITY TO HIM. THOSE 2 AA BATTERIES REALLY HEATED UP!!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY ONLY ONE TOY THIS YEAR - YOU JUST FOUND IT!