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“Circuit starving”

Ranjit is finishing up another February of his annual instrument-a-day project!

My favorite form of circuit bending, because it’s the easiest, is what I call circuit starving: stick a potentiometer into the battery connection so you can turn down the voltage until the circuit has just barely enough power to work. That’s where interesting stuff starts to happen.

You don’t need to open the toy’s case, solder, or cut anything for circuit starving. Make a sandwich with a piece of paper between two scraps of aluminum foil attached to the leads of the potentiometer. Insert it between one of the batteries and its spring contact, and the potentiometer becomes part of the power circuit. Then you can tweak the pot, in very tiny increments, until the weirdness happens.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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