I moved this post to its own topic, thinking that others will be interested.
Currently the best way to attach a bitsnap to any circuitboard, Arduino bit included, is by snipping a wire bit in half [ http://littlebits.cc/bits/wire-bit ] and then separate and strip the wires. Viola! two bitsnaps ready for connection to a PCB or bread board. It is safe to solder directly to the Arduino bit through holes.
If you’re new to soldering, I’d suggest practicing on some broken circuit boards first.
We are aware that there is a lack of easy places to connect to VCC and GND and have made it easier in the new revision. On the current Arduino bit you can connect to power from the 2 x 3 pin ‘In-Circuit Programming’ [ ICSP ] header.
Looking at the top of the bit with all the text upright, VCC is the bottom left through hole and GND is the top left through hole. These six through holes are in the bottom middle of the board and unlabeled.
ASCII ART ALERT:
GND ---> O O <--- Reset Digital Pin 16 / MOSI ---> O O <--- Digital Pin 15 / SCK VCC ---> O O <--- Digital Pin 14 / MISO
As for protection, the underlying hardware is fairly rugged but here are some tips:
1 - Don’t connect a pin directly to GND or VCC, this could create a ‘short circuit’ at points. Instead connect pins a 10 kOhm resistor, and the other end of that resistor to power.
2 - Research your specific application. Connecting to a +/- 15 volt modular synth system requires a very different connection when compared to a headphone output or an audio mixer input. Search for examples using old Arduinos, these examples apply to the Arduino bit as well. If you are just connecting to the Synth Kit, the both the Synth and Arduino are safe for every connection I can think of right now.
3 - Measure twice. A $5 multimeter will save your expensive circuit many times over. Watch a quick howto video if you have any questions how to use an electrical meter. Many times its the only way to know why something isn’t working; unfortunately we humans can’t see much of electricity directly…
4 - Don’t work on live hardware. Turn things off and disconnect from powered electronics first and then it doesn’t matter if your hand slips, etc…
5 - Secure your wires beyond the solder. Solder is not a strong physical connection, it is a strong electrical connection. You will save a lot a frustration if you glue/tape/wrap/etc all your wires down in addition to soldering. Thin wires+solder can break with 3-5 bends.
Hope this helps and happy hacking!
Continuing the discussion from Ask a littleBits engineer: