Tips and Best Practices for Chibitronics Kits
- Sketch: Draw your design first, so you’ll only have to tape once.
- Single Continuous Copper: Do not tape multiple copper tape pieces together to create electrical connections. This will not work since the glue on the tape is not reliably conductive. If you need to add a patch, try one of the conductive fabric tape patches.
- Smooth: Smooth the surface of the copper tape so that it’s shiny, bright and has a solid connection. If you use a pencil eraser to do so, make sure to clear any eraser bits.
- Set: Press firmly on the circuit sticker and count to five seconds to make a strong bond.
- Keep it Sticky! Wash and dry hands prior to using. Our stickers don’t like water, oil, or dirt to come between themselves and a great connection, so try to touch the adhesive as little as possible before placing your sticker.
Having trouble with a circuit? No worries! Use the guide below to carefully review the circuit, and it’s likely you will discover how to make it shine the way you want. For Love to Code troubleshooting, we also recommend our debugging chapter: here’s the Chibi Script version and the MakeCode version (both versions include detailed suggestions for both code and circuit troubleshooting).
• Is the LED backwards?
If your LED is in reverse, it won’t shine. A quick way to check is to flip your battery over in the battery holder. This reverses the + and – terminals, thus matching the connections of a reversed LED.
• Is the LED connected?
Sometimes a connection just isn’t strong enough. Try pressing on the metal pads of the LED stickers to make sure they are firmly connected to your foil tape. The LED stickers work best with foil that is flat, not wrinkled. Flatten wrinkled foil by rubbing it with a soft pencil eraser.
• Is the battery connected?
Try pressing on the battery and re-clipping the battery to ensure that the copper tape tabs are touching the battery’s contacts.
• Is the battery shorted?
If the + and – sides of your battery are connected directly with a metal such as copper foil, you will drain power from the battery rather than turn on the light. Inspect your circuit and make sure that the foil traces from the + and – sides of the battery are not accidentally touching.
• Is the battery dead?
Sometimes the circuit doesn’t turn on simply because the battery is out of power. Try switching your battery out for a fresh one.
• Are the copper tape connections secure?
If you taped two pieces of copper foil together to make a circuit, try pressing very hard on the intersection to see if there is a connection issue. When overlapping foil, use a large area of overlap to increase connection strength.
• Is there a crack in the copper tape?
If you fold copper tape too many times, it can crack and break the connection. Try using one of our fabric tape patches to make a more durable hinge, or taping copper tape upside-down over the broken connection to bridge it. If you have access to a soldering iron, you can also solder the circuit back together.