MAP4 - Maker's Asylum "Learn to Solder" Badge


MAP4 is a simple “Learn to Solder” badge. We will be using it (hopefully) during Mitch Altman’s visit to the Asylum in June. “Hopefully”, because I’ve ordered 50 boards from PCBpower, but their turn around time is always unpredictable.

The circuit is extremely simple. One CR2032 Coin Battery. Three LED’s. And three current limiting resistors.

The LED’s can be either 3mm or 5mm, clear or diffuse, of any color (Red, Green, Yellow, White, Blue).
It’s also possible to use Blinking LED’s. Board size is 50mm x 50mm.

The resistors are important for several reasons. Some of the colors (Red, Green) have a low forward voltage (about 1.7 Volts) and it definitely helps to limit current. Even with the other LEDs that require almost 3V forward voltage drop, it is still recommended to use a limiting resistor. Adding the resistors extents battery life to several days, compared to just a few hours without the resistors. Here’s a nice analysis of LED Throwies by the folks at EMSL :

For attaching a Safety Pin, the board has four small solder pads. Two component leads cut off from the Resistors are bent in to a “U” shape and soldered on to the board along with the Safety Pin. There’s also a 3mm hole in case some other means of fixing needs to be used.

Design files are available from the Github repository at :


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Received the MAP4 boards today from PCBpower. Green mask with White Legend isn’t the best. We were hoping for Yellow Mask with Black Legend. But PCBpower isn’t really easy to work with. They always keep stopping the process for “exceptions” and every change or interaction takes at least 24 hours to fix.
Any case, they cannot do the color scheme we wanted. Inverse scheme is possible - Black Mask with Yellow Legend. Maybe we’ll try that for the next batch. Here are some pictures.


Assembled MAP4

Safety pin detail #1

Safety pin detail #2


the first batch had the wrong (inverted) footprint for the coin battery holder. I’ve fixed that, and also changed the Silk layers so we can use PCBpower’s Black Mask and Yellow Legend. That required a lot of work on the front legend to get the Maker’s Asylum logo on the silk layer. We’ve ordered a second batch of 100 boards in the Maker’s Asylum color scheme.

Next update when we receive the boards from PCBpower.

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I’ve been running a “battery test” to see how long it lasts. Six days and still blinking. I think those resistors make a huge difference.