I bought this new kit from here:
There is this thing called an arduino expansion shield which comes with a mini breadboard too.
Does anyone know exactly how to use this, and there are so many holes in the middle, without much of any specific connections given(nothing is specified). Also, is the mini breadboard necessary?
Some of the holes are connected. Others are not.
It is to let you build your own circuit.
I take it you don't have a soldering iron, otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question. As mentioned above, you can solder up your own circuits on the shield, e.g. adding a clock module. You may find that breadboard can be fixed to the shield. It can also be used independently. Either way, it can be very useful.
Yes, i do not have a soldering iron/rod. Is it necessary to use the shield?
Also, can we solder any holes?
How are the holes connected to each other? Is it in rows or colums?
Yes, regarding your 3rd point-the other holes can be connected in any way you like-how can we do that?
You can connect them with a large blob of solder. Or you can use the end of wire or the legs of components. For example if you use a hole for one leg of a resistor, and the hole next to it for one leg of an led, you can insert both components, fix them in place with small solder blobs, then bend the leg of one component flat against the board to touch the leg of the other component, solder that in place, then trim off the remaining parts of the legs.
... and when you're done, stick a layer of gaffer tape over the whole mess so that a) nobody can see how sh!t you are at soldering but more to the point b) to insulate the sticky-out bits from shorting somewhere.
With great imagination and little bits of wire. I guess gaffer tape isn't a bad idea.
Thank you very much for helping me out with this problem! I will try the gaffer tape and the soldering!
Good idea. I say that because it is nearly impossible to get the shield you want without making your own, and doing that means you use Arduino the way you want to and not the way somebody you don't know thinks you should. I'm not an expert in soldering irons, but I think you should stay away $20 30w toys, and pay a little more for about 80w. You need to quickly apply a lot of heat into a small point, and that takes power.
Oh thank you. Sure, I will definitely look into buying a better soldering rod.
I used a simple 15W soldering iron for years. It was a good brand (Antex) and my wife now uses it for making jewelry. Low power is not often a problem in practice, because the thermal inertia of the element and bit means that in normal use, the temperature stays in a suitable range. I would rather have an inexpensive low power iron than an inexpensive high power iron. Higher power it not always better. Temperature control is important. I would say don't buy a high power iron unless it is temperature controlled.
So if you can't afford an expensive temperature controlled higher power iron, just get a low power iron from a good brand.
The downside of low power irons include: they take longer to get up to temperature; they often can't be used on components with high thermal mass (rare in electronics circuits). And they can't be used outdoors. I tried to use my old Antex to tin some wires that I had previously burried underground and did not want to dig up again to take indoors. There was only a slight breeze, but the iron would not heat up enough to melt solder.