I got one of these “kits” (for lack of a better word) for Christmas back when I was in junior-high, and just recently had a flashback on how much fun I had messing around with it.
Best way I can remember it, to describe it, would be as a “circuit board”. You’d take the top off the wooden box, and on this “circuit board”, you’d have a dozen or so different sections, with all these electrical “springy” connectors spread around all over it.
There were all sorts of different colored wires (of different lengths), and you’d go through the instructions and decide which “project” you wanted to put together. The instructions for that project would be “connect the purple wire from Section A, spring # 10, to Section F, spring # 15”, etc. Repeat that about 15-times over, and your project would be complete.
Then you’d press a button somewhere else on the circuit board, and either a light would light up, or it would make an audible noise, or whatever.
If I remember, it was supposed to be sort of a “kid’s introduction to science and electronics”.
I had one of those as a kid in the 70s, so when I came across the same kit at the thrift store, I had to buy it. It lives in my game cabinet now. I don’t play with it, but I have it, and that’s enough.
I had one as a kid in the 60s. Don’t remember the brand, not a major name. One of the more basic kits. A front “panel” with switches, knobs and a DIY galvanometer. A handful of components: one transistor, battery holder, simple telegraph key, one each of basic parts, etc.
But it was the best crystal radio ever. The ferrite tuning coil was screw adjusted and very accurate. I could get stations over 800 miles away.
I scrounged up parts and added things. I eventually figured out how to make a very crude AM transmitter. I used the crystal earphone as a mic and everything. Wonderful.
I took it with me on vacations despite it’s bulk. Lots of fun.
But, it had to go into the trash when I moved out and none of the kits out there today are at all like it.
I have a Radio Shack 100[and something]-In-1 electronics kit around here somewhere. As I recall, the speaker is missing. Loads of fun when I was a kid, but I wonder if some of the transistors, resistors, etc. are even being made nowadays.
Is this the same as a Heathkit? Mr. Legend had one of those he remembers fondly, and my brother had one, too. That was in the late 60’s - early 70’s. We still have one of them around the house somewhere.
No, from what I remember, Heathkits were actual DIY electronics kits that required soldering and stuff like that, and made a single functional electronic device. The X-in-1 kits were just a bunch of electronics components in a frame/box, connected to springs. You would then learn about electronics by going through the X-in-1 book, creating X amount of projects by interconnecting various electronic components via springs and short wires. Click on the various links above to see. Those are not Heathkits.
I don’t recall it having the Heathkit brand but I recall having a simple Heath Company spring-and-wire kit that was handed down from one of my brothers. It was from the late '50s/early '60s; I think it built a transistor radio.
Heathkits were dumbed down by the mid '80s, virtually all circuilt boards came presoldered and just needed to be connected to each other.
I had a couple of those, and man, I knew how to use them. My crowning glory was using one to make an analog-to-digital converter that I designed myself. Admittedly, it was literally a two-bit project, but still.
Nowadays, though, I can’t remember any of that. Man, I wish I had retained that knowledge.