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Author Topic: Maplins Kits  (Read 31100 times)

Circuitbenders

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2011, 04:12:44 PM »

I bought a kit and a cheap soldering iron from Maplin today. It’s taught me a lot about soldering…. And accident repair ! 

I think the biggest struggle you'll have with soldering is the 'cheap soldering iron from Maplin' part of that statement  ;)

Cheap soldering irons are probably the biggest false economy that everybody on this board has made at one time or another. I've been soldering stuff together for about 2 decades, and even i find it impossible to solder with one of those crappy £10 irons from maplins. I particularly enjoy the way they just get hotter and hotter until they destroy the bit or just burn out completely.
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parricide

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 10:09:42 AM »

I bought a kit and a cheap soldering iron from Maplin today. It’s taught me a lot about soldering…. And accident repair ! 

I think the biggest struggle you'll have with soldering is the 'cheap soldering iron from Maplin' part of that statement  ;)

Cheap soldering irons are probably the biggest false economy that everybody on this board has made at one time or another. I've been soldering stuff together for about 2 decades, and even i find it impossible to solder with one of those crappy £10 irons from maplins. I particularly enjoy the way they just get hotter and hotter until they destroy the bit or just burn out completely.

i second this!
my first soldering iron was a cheap maplin one and i ended up having to hold the iron on things for at least 30 seconds to heat it up enough. not only that but i had to use the shaft because the tip didnt get hot enough no matter how long i held it on there for!
i had no experience with soldering at the time and i thought it was just me :(
turns out there was one on rapid for the same price which was perfect for the job.
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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2012, 06:49:01 PM »

I was one of the Maplin kit designers back in the early to mid 80's and it makes me sad to see that the kits that once made Maplin so important to hobbyists and all those starting out in electronics are pretty much gone.
It was CE legislation that had a big part in killing the kit culture, with sales of individual kits already fairly low it just wasn't worth doing the testing and work necessary for a technical file and CE declaration for many kits, and the wonderful range of kits we developed in Essex came to a sudden close.
Older enthusiasts may remember the Maplin synthesisers, the Matinee organ, the unburstable 150W Mosfet amp.... I was deeply involved in the weather satellite system sold in the mid 80's that consisted of a 137 MHz radio receiver, a down converter for the UHF Meteosat transmissions, a WEFAX decoder and (my baby) a Z80 and Yamaha graphics processor based frame store that displayed the satellite images on a TV or monitor.
They were great days for the hobbyist, and I sometimes wonder how many of those old kits have survived to the modern day.
i remembers faxing my order and picking it up on Saturdays was like back then people  new how to build and the the help was great  sad to see it gone to the dogs .
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mariamason02

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2012, 08:41:17 AM »

It's you that's got all of the pens!! My Maplins store has a "Closed" sign completely in place during the components countertop and additionally you must go and persuade a member of staff members to minimize re-arranging phone accessories or toys if you would like anything. That said online are a couple of members of staff in there through a fantastic knowledge of electronics and they are always happy to assist - in fact they frequently look pleased to be speaking about anything different than came home goods...
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Gordonjcp

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2012, 07:42:14 PM »

They were great days for the hobbyist, and I sometimes wonder how many of those old kits have survived to the modern day.

I have a pretty much working Transcendent 2000 here that I got as a non-runner from a friend when he cleared out his studio about ten years ago.  Ten years before that, *he'd* got it as a non-runner from one of his friends who was clearing out his studio...

Lots of sorting of poor soldering later, and it makes noises.  The noise generator based on CMOS chips is dead, so I have tacked on a daughterboard with a "diode noise" circuit and amplifier, and I've modified the envelopes a wee bit to remove some of the clicking that gets crowbarred onto the supply rails.
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robfrom hull

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2015, 10:29:33 AM »

I still have numerous maplin kits from the 1980s all audio kits assembled that still work,I built an amplifier with bass and treble controls,mic inputs,15 tad 2030 amplifier,power supply etc and all of it still works perfect.
After about 28 years of me nuilding it all into a case etc, it still works perfect and sounds amazing
I even still have some original circuit diagrams, pcb layouts etc of various Mapllin audi kits
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listener85

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2015, 08:57:44 AM »

I have thought for years now that there are several other reasons for the demise of Maplin as a serious component and kit supplier. Firstly I think that a lot of young people with the sort of interest that would have once led to them experimenting with building electronic circuits now "build" their projects on computers instead, programming instead of constructing.
Secondly the situation has completely changed from the 1970's when I started out in electronics. Back then there was still a lot of surplus (some ex military) electronic parts and equipment about that you could rummage through and buy for next to nothing in little specialist hobbyist stores (Southend had "The Radio Constructors Centre" run by old Bill Fleming and his wife and son in Westcliff and "Bi-Pre-Pak" not far from the Southend football ground at Roots Hall as well as the original (and only!) Maplin store in the country at that time).
Lastly though and I think probably most off-putting for people, you could build something genuinely unique and special with a handful of components in those days that you couldn't buy in the shops, whereas nowadays almost every small electronic gizmo you could ever imagine is available on auction sites online for a few quid, in a sleek purpose made injection moulded case.
These days anything you build may well cost twice as much as a ready made item and looks by comparison agricultural in a clunky plastic box.
My reaction has been to go back in time, so I work on Valve based guitar and audio amplifiers and valve radios.... my main amplifier at home is a 25W per channel stereo push-pull valve amp I built using vintage valves and a lot of wood, aluminium and brass!
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listener85

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2015, 09:01:28 AM »

Having said all that, I applaud what the circuit benders are doing out there, as it kind of takes advantage of the wealth of ready made inexpensive techy stuff that pours out of China and lets people use their ingenuity to adapt, extend and mutate their original functions to something more or something different, very much in the spirit of the electronic experimenters and constructors of days gone by!
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Ch@s

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Re: Maplins Kits
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2016, 10:18:56 AM »

If anyone is still interested in Maplin stuff, you can get a lot of their products via the Maplin E-Bay store, including replacement parts for their weather stations as mentioned in the opening post.
http://stores.ebay.co.uk/maplin-electronics
I am in the process of building my own weather station using an old Velleman USB A/D kit I bought many years ago but never got the chance of building until I retired earlier this year. I was going to build my own Anemometer and looking for suitable Easter egg plastic cups when I discovered the Maplin unit for their Fine Offset system was only £2.99 on e-bay with free postage. It works well and I now have Wind Speed and Direction inputs working. I'll do a write up once I have it up and working fully.
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