I’ve owned and played with my fair share of electronics kits. When I was a kid I had a few of those Radio Shack electronics experimenter kits. You know the ones with the spring terminals for wiring? I always had so much fun with those. Eventually I graduated up to building circuits on breadboards and ‘perfboards’. Now that I’m really experienced I’ve even etched my own copper-clad circuit boards at home but, it’s always fun and even a bit comforting to return to experimenter kits from time to time. It can also be a good way to keep in practice. Sort of like an artist keeping a sketch book on hand to doodle with. That’s what I would equate the Minty Geek to; an electronics hobbyist’s doodle pad.
What is a Minty Geek you ask? Well it’s a compact, well rounded electronics experimenting kit that fits in what is essentially an Altoids tin. The kit itself comes pretty packed for its diminutive size. The package comes complete with the tin of course, 4 long jumper wires, varying lengths of smaller jumpers, a 9V battery connector, 3 transistors, a variable resistor, one light dependant resistor, a small adhesive backed breadboard, plenty of standard resistors (of varying resistance), an electrolytic capacitor, 3 LEDs, a 5V relay, a switch, a 555 timer, a speaker and, a little tray to hold all of that in! On top of all of this it also comes with 3 little booklets that walk you through some basic circuits to get you on the road to experimenting.
The guides will walk you through some basic circuit building concepts and show you how to build some fun things like cookie jar alarms along the way. Everything is pretty straightforward in the instructions; after a few minutes even a complete novice should be able to start building some interesting circuits and experimenting with different designs. If you have a little kid that likes to take apart your remote controls you should definitely get them one of these if only to spare yourself the headache.
I have really enjoyed how portable and surprisingly comprehensive this kit is. I’ve put together a few pretty complex circuits on my lunch breaks in the past few days. It’s really nice to just be able to pull this little tin out of my bag and start building things. My only real criticisms are that, while the tray does a good job of organizing everything thanks to its partitions, unless you pack this thing back up just right every single time it can be difficult to get the lid closed. The other issue being that once packed, the components inside have a bad habit of falling out of place and getting mixed up. I’ve found that the best way to combat this is to attach your breadboard to the underside of the tin’s top and place a business card or scrap of paper over the organized parts before closing. Other than these really minor gripes I’ve really loved this little kit. The instructions that come with it are clear and concise and are sure to teach anyone who’s interested in electronics a thing or two. It comes with just about every basic component that you could want. Even better, at £24.99 it can make a great gift for just about anyone who likes to tinker.
Have you bought a Minty Geek? Plan to? Let us know in the comments and be sure to share what you’ve built!