Snap Circuits Extreme Kit Projects- Project #2 DC Motor and Switch

If you are doing this project with the B1 battery pack, then the project book picture setup works fine and you only need four parts. But if you are using the B6 AC-Snap power supply then you will have to change things up some to use the 3 volt snap connector. The reason is because the case on the M1 DC motor is too big to fit on the 3 volt snap connector of the B6 AC-Snap power supply in the same 3 volt circuit setup as the picture shown.

I placed the positive snap on the M1 DC motor next to the 3 volt snap connector on the B6 AC-Snap power supply then placed a #2 blue wire from the AC-Snap power supply to the M1 DC motor. I also used a #2 blue wire to connector the other end of the M1 DC motor to the #3 blue wire. When you add your power plug to the B6 AC-Snap power supply and put the fan blade on the M1 DC motor. you should be ready to try it out. Push the on/off switch to the on position and the DC motor should power the fan.

What I Did and Found Out!?!

The first time I set up Project #2 I had the M1 DC motor turned with the positive (+) away from the positive (+) on the B6 AC-Snap power supply. This had the M1 DC motor with the negative (-) Snap connector to the positive(+) 6 volt snap connector on the AC-Snap power supply. Note: To follow the project I should have hooked it to the 3 volt snap connector. The B6 DC motor ran but it ran in reverse which is one of the things I found out. When I noticed and thought that it mattered (which it doesn’t) I turned the M1 DC motor around so that the positive (+) snap connector was connected to the positive (+) terminal on the AC-Snap power supply snap connector.

I had to spin the DC motor to get it to work again. Special Note: I have heard this from some of the YouTube videos out there. Others have had the M1 DC motor lock up as well. The DC motor is fine. I will explain as I go. I looked on the internet to make sure because of a book I have been reading and it doesn’t hurt the DC motor. It causes it to run in reverse! While making sure I looked for a part number on the M1 DC motor casing and found none. I wanted to see at what voltage the motor was supposed to run.

When I tried running the DC motor on the 6 volt snap connector, on the B6 AC-Snap power supply, it ran fine. Maybe even a little faster. Just to get the facts straight, I added into the circuit the M2 analog meter and recorded the readings. You should record your readings as well. Special Note: The more you use your M1 DC motor and switch it to run backwards or in reverse, the more your readings from the analog meter will change because of “Electrical Noise.” I got an email from an engineer at Elenco and he told me to use C5 Capacitor with M1 DC motor to even out the power spikes.

A analog meter is used to see how much power a device is pulling or using. With the M1 DC motor positive connected to the positive 3 volt snap connector it read 6 volts without the fan. I turned the B6 AC-Snap power supply around and hooked the M1 DC motor to the 6 volt snap connector and turned on the circuit. Again, without the fan I got 6 volts. All this puzzled me so I contacted the company to make sure. I was told that the M1 DC motor can handle up to 6 volts. By the way, the Elenco support staff and prompt (very fast to answer) and very polite. Even one of the Elenco engineers reached out to me in an email.

If you know anything about electrical circuits voltage readings like that shouldn’t happen! I have read that DC motors produce “electrical noise” or power spikes in the circuit which explains the 3 volt circuit reading 6 volts. Special Note: For these experiments in the Snap Circuits kits this shouldn’t hurt anything. It is when you add in the Snapino Kit to use the Arduino microcontroller board that this becomes a problem. Electrical spikes or “electrical noises” will damage circuit boards.

I still wasn’t happy with the reading. I decided to go a step further. I ran the M1 DC motor without the fan in the circuit to the 5 volt snap connector on the B6 AC-Snap connector. With the M2 analog meter connected I push the S1 on/off switch to the on position. When turned on, I watched the analog meter jump to 5 volt and then down to 3 volts. That shows that the M1 DC motor is using 2 volts of electrical power. If you have studied electricity before then you know that when you are running a device on a closed circuit it uses electricity. That was the most reasonable reading I had gotten so far.

What Have We Learned So Far?

As far as we can tell with what we have in the Snap Circuits Kit the M1 DC motor is a multi volt DC motor. We also know from research outside of Project #2 that the M1 DC motor can be turned either way in the circuit. Turning the M1 DC motor to have the negative (-) snap connector hook to the positive (+) AC-Snap power supply makes the DC motor spin backwards or in reverse. I have not said much about it, but try reading your analog meter set to “High” with the B6 AC-Snap power supply. Place the fan on the M1 DC motor and go through the trials of the different voltages, 3 volt, 5 volt, and 6 volt again. You should record your readings and compare them to the readings you got before. They are totally different! That is because it is under a “load” or more work.

Again, I placed the M1 DC motor in the 3 volt circuit and the motor ran fine. I believe that by running the M1 DC motor at the higher voltages I corrected the polarity of the M1 DC motor, taking out the stored “electrical noise.” As I said, the M1 DC motor is a multi volt DC motor. I think running it in the higher 5 volt and 6 volt circuits in “reverse” and then “forward,” locked up the M1 DC motor so that the 3 volt circuit did not have enough power to turn it. When run at a higher voltage, the “electrical noise” or stored electricity was removed, “unlocking” the M1 DC motor.

Warning: Using the Snapino Kit With the M1 DC Motor!

I have mentioned in a previous blog post that you can use the Snap Circuits Kits with the Elenco Snapino Kit. The Snapino Kit is a Snap Circuits kit with an Arduino programmable microcontroller board. The Arduino in the Snapino kit can be used in this project but do not run the DC motor straight to the Arduino because of the electrical noise or power spikes. This can damage the Arduino! I looked through the Elenco website elenco.com and I didn’t find any manuals to order other than the original manual for the Snapino kit which doesn’t include a DC motor.

Book Recommendation For Extending
Snapino and Snap Circuit Kit Fun!

I have been reading “Exploring Arduino; Tools and Techniques for Engineering Wizardry” Second Edition by Jeremy Blum. Before using your Snapino Kit’s Arduino or any other microcontroller board with the M1 DC motor I recommend reading Jeremy’s book. In the book “Exploring Arduino” Second Edition, Jeremy has lessons on running DC motors. He states that you should not run a DC motor’s power straight from the Arduino’s power terminals. The reason for this is because of DC motors having electrical noise or power spikes that may damage the Arduino board. In Jeremy’s projects, a transistor, a capacitor, a diode and a resistor are used in the circuit with the resistor between the DC motor and the Arduino. These parts are in the Snap Circuit Extreme Kit.

While the programming level in Jeremy’s book “Exploring Arduino,” is advanced and can be hard to follow for the beginner, all the code is complete, and he has code download links with videos on his website exploringarduino.com. Again, I recommend Jeremy’s book “Exploring Arduino” Second Edition, to extend and make your use of the Snap Circuits and Snapino Kits more fun! If you are still wondering what you can do with an Arduino and a DC motor like the Snap Circuits M1 DC motor, in his book, Jeremy explains how to use a DC motor and an Arduino to power a light sensing robot that follows a flashlight around! You can’t use the M1 DC motor in its case to make a robot, but you can get the basics down before ordering any robotic kits to make remote controlled cars or robots.

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