Welcome to the first "Exordium" post. These are not tied to a specific project, though may appear in the middle of one if I feel some additional information would be handy. Basically, these are intended to be 'introductions" to a subject matter that may appear or play a prominent role in current or future projects. As the following Proton Pack project posts will dive into some electronics work, I figured something like this would be timely and handy.
So, I should clarify my competency in electronics. I would describe myself as "amateur." I can wield a soldering iron fairly well and can read circuit diagrams. I can "solder by numbers" as it where. But I couldn't design a complex circuit to save my life. I vaguely understand both the functioning and use of a few different electronics components, but don't ask me how I'd put them together to make something fancy happen. But as I keep working at projects featuring electronics work I hope to learn even more, and that's precisely what I want to happen to any reader as well!
Many reading along after that warning are probably either equally novice or worse, so this first electronics post will be used for some extreme basics to help you follow along the subsequent posts.
It also lets me cheat content-wise while I'm away from my lab on holiday ;)
What is meant by 'circuit'?
A circuit is basically what it sounds like. It's a full circle of electrical potential. A simple battery powered DC circuit is basically comprised of a circle in which the positive (+) lead of a battery travels out and back again into its negative (-) lead.
Generally we want the electricity in a circuit to do stuff. So we run it through components that do certain things. Like a resistor to limit the current(as to not blow up other components, cause the wire to melt in a heated mess or drain the battery in a few seconds), an LED to produce light or a DC motor to make something spin.
Take the following basic circuit as an example:
In the circuit diagram above, a 5 Volt battery pack(indicating by a sandwich missing a bun) has its positive lead connected to a 'resistor' which is a component which kinda 'calms' the electrical current. That's because the battery wants to blow as much of its load as possible as fast as it can. The LED (Light Emitting Diode, denoted by that arrow hitting a wall and swearing about it) takes in 5V to light up, but the current the battery is capable of providing heat it up so much it'd effectively burn itself out over time. So that resistor is there to keep things calm and cool.
Hook it all up and you have a little circuit producing a good amount of LED light. And that's pretty much it at the core of it.
Now, in this case, we use an LED to do something constructive (produce light), but many other components obviously exist to produce other useful things or effects. Here are a few fundamentals:
(Some) Basic Components:
Some Basic Tools:
You'll see me using these tools quite a bit. Some you'll likely be familiar with already:
This is certainly not a deep dive into electronics and likely offers nothing new to anyone who's dealt with electronics before, but may help provide some context and clarification as to what I'll be going over in terms of electronics on the Proton Pack project and others to those who are just starting out.
If you have any questions about the above, feel free to comment to tweet me at @realyst2k on Twitter!
"Inside every sane person there’s a madman struggling to get out."
Réal is a jackass of all trades, master of none, with interests in politics, human interface design, animation, video games, VR, technology, and making random stuff. Has a skill to have both too much time on his hands and nowhere near enough to get stuff done.