Drawdio Workshop

I love Drawdio, invented by Jay Silver, and often use it in Soldering workshops.


Troubleshooting tips:

  1.  Does it make a sound when you touch both ends of the Circuit board (where the tape is attached?) If so, your circuit is working fine, but there may be a problem with pencil attachment. If not, you may have a cold solder joint (or possibly a dead battery, never rule that out…) Try a new battery, and if that fails, touch up each pad of solder (see soldering tips below)
  2. If while holding the pencil with your fingers around the bottom spiral section of tape, you touch the tip/lead of the pencil with your other hand, the Drawdio is working, and the problem is with your drawing technique (not a value judgement!) You need a rather thick line, scribble back and forth, making sure the graphite on the paper is “solid.” If your hands are dry, it helps to wet your finger (don’t worry, it’s not actually lead, but graphite a form of carbon) when touching the other end of the line.
  3. Make sure the copper tape is making good contact to the ends of the board, and the thumbtack is making good contact with the tape and the lead. If the tack is bent, it may have missed the graphite. You can try reinserting the tack, including from the side. If you have trouble getting the tack to make good contact to the tape, or the tape to the circuit board, you can apply solder once you’ve established you have good contact between the graphite and the copper tape.
  4. If you suspect your speaker isn’t connected properly (especially if you used the surface mount technique) you can check it by using a multimeter set on Ohms (range< 20) and testing the two points where it says speaker + and -. If properly connected it will read around 8 ohms.

Soldering tips

  1. Check to make sure there is no solder bridging between nearby pins. If there is, drag your soldering iron between the pins, this usually clears the problem.
  2. If you have balls of solder, it means that it didn’t properly flow onto the pins. If they are big, I recommend removing some of the solder with solder wick. Otherwise, just touch the soldering iron to each of the pads/component legs together briefly until it flows. (make sure the soldering iron is properly hot!) If you have liquid flux, it helps to apply it before trying to reflow. It dries quickly so only apply it to a few pads at a time before you solder, and don’t breath the fumes!