Friday’s Tips & Tricks: Buttons & Switches

These great input Bits give you the ultimate control over your projects. With the simple flick of a switch or push of a button, you can bring your creations to life. Our favorite is the button. Here are some great tips to try out with the button, and the other switches.



Get started with your button by building a simple circuit. Place the button between a blue power Bit and a green output Bit. We put an LED after our button. The function of the button is very simple. By pressing it you activate your output, but once you release it the output turns off.


6 Things you need to know about the button:

1. The dot
The white plastic cap on your button Bit measures .45in(11.4mm).


2. Take it off
DId you know that the plastic white cap comes off? Underneath the plastic cap there is a small square that the cap snaps to. You can remove the cap and attach different materials to style your own button. The side of the square is .15in(3.8mm).
take it off


3. 180º
Regardless of whether the you keep the white cap on or not, the press part of the button is still higher than the Bit snap connectors. That means that you can flip the button Bit over, press the back of it’s diagram board and it will still function, triggering the bits that follow.
photo (4)


4. Aesthetic
The button is one of the most beautiful Bits in the littleBits family. It’s a simple, elegant, little white dot. We frequently see the dot referenced in POP art culture, representing a wide range of ideas. Let it be a period, which is not just the end, but also as a trigger to light up your whole sentence. Create a face on your dot, or let it represent the eyes or nose of your creation. It’s easy to mount other materials to the flat surface of the button, so if you’re not a fan of the “dot”, just create your own graphic and paste it on!


5. Companionship
The button works best when it has friends. Here are some other Bits that work well with our little button.
  • Timeout Bit: The timeout Bit is a special input Bit that works best when it has an additional input placed before it to trigger it. The button is the perfect Bit for this. In the demo video you’ll see we’ve created a circuit power + button + timeout + vibration motor.

When you press the button it triggers the countdown for the timeout. 3…2…1…and the motor is on!

A great example of this circuit is the project “April Fools’ Desk Hack“. With the press of a button, the elaborate circuit is triggered, setting off vibration motors all over our co-workers desk.
april fools' day circuit

    • Inverter Bit: Adding an inverter to your circuit allows your button to be both the ON and OFF trigger to two outputs. In the short demo, the two vibration motors go on and off inversely when you press the button, all because an inverter is placed before one of the vibration motors. Using the same theory, we also placed two RGB LEDs with the vibration motors, creating our own mini Transformers’ fighting scene replace the vibration motors with two rgb LEDs, and created this Transformers’ fighting scene. Another tip, we placed a seesaw shaped mounting surface onto the square under the white cap for the robots to stand on making them wobble.

6. “Input=Output”
A classic example of “input=output”  is the “Mother’s Day Wheel o’ Fun” project, where we mounted fan on top of the button, and then we mounted a spinner on the top of the fan Bit. With this double mounting system the input trigger also becomes the output scenario.

In general all the switches are superb ways to control your creations. The slide switch and toggle switch, provide simple ways to turn your projects ON and stay in that state until you decide it should turn OFF. The slide switch is just like the switch that turns your power Bit on and off, but unlike the power Bit you can place it anywhere in your circuit. You aren’t limited to having it at the start of the circuit.
The toggle switch is great because you can cut a hole just big enough to slide the toggle through. This way you can hide the Bit behind materials but still access the switch. Check out this amazing community project, Backflip Machine, which uses a toggle switch to activate the backflipping LEGO character.

More Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks
Friday’s Tips & Tricks: 3 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of the Dark

Overcome your fear of the dark with these fun light-up projects

Tips & Tricks
Introduction to Arduino Programming 5: Troubleshooting Your Code

Why you buggin’: Troubleshooting your Arduino! One of the most frustrating moments of your early programming career will be ...

Tips & Tricks
Synth Tips & Tricks: Record your Music

When you make sweet beats with the Synth Kit, you might want to record them and share with your friends. This is a basic overview ...