The grey bitsnaps are very handy when you want to design and use your own bits in combination with existing bits.
Also when you damage a bit these grey bitsnaps can be used for repair. (see the last item)..
They are however not very easy to handle and in this forum topic I like to share with you some of the things I experienced during my “adventure” with these bitsnaps from the hardware development kit.
(as also discussed with @Philip_Verbeek)
A standard 0.1” perf board with isolated circular copper soldering islands can be used. If you want to make your home made bit with the same dimensions as the existing bits, first pick one of the possible designs. There are a few different dimensions, for example: small (the latch bit), medium (the oscillator) or large (the sequencer). The only tools I used to make this perfboard part are a jigsaw and a small file. Remove a rectangular part from each corner with the following dimensions:
The bitsnaps must be firmly secured on the perfboard, do not make the board edges too small. If they are too small, the bitsnap will still wriggle after soldering.
The two plastic pins left and right of the three electrical connections are used for mechanical fixation of the bitsnap on the perfboard after soldering. Just melt them with your soldering iron into the perfboard holes.
These two plastic pins are a bit thicker than the inner dimensions of the perfboard holes, so I used a small drill with a power tool to enlarge these holes a little.
I found that the plastic pins of the grey output bitsnap are NOT in line with the connections, and those from the input grey bitsnap are in line:
See this picture: (the top bit is the output bit and the lower one is the input bit).
The copper circular islands from the perfboard are rather small and can easily be separated from the board during soldering.
To avoid this and to make a more secure connection, I added an additional wire connection in front of each soldering point:
Repairing a normal bit:
Once upon a time I left a bit on the floor and ran over it with my chair.
Both bitsnaps were completely bent and partly separated and the electrical connections were pulled off the board. I removed the damaged parts and replaced them with grey bitsnaps.
The through hole soldering connections of the board were not damaged and after removing the original solder with a vacuum desoldering tool I could easily mount the grey bitsnaps:
Last note on my adventure:
It is a real challenge to remove a grey bitsnap once it is mounted on a perfboard.
I could not do this quick enough, the bitsnap started to melt and one of connections was pulled out and the small spring mounted connection fell apart so the whole part became useless.