As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

How Do I [Build Simple Circuits]

blakfeldblakfeld Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay, so, electrical engineering and building circuits has always interested me, but a guy at work has finally convinced me it's something I need to pursue on a hobby level. This guy is amazing. I work at a tech bench, and the instant he finds some cable we need, or some broken part, he whips out the soldering iron and goes to town. It's ridiculous.

So, I figured it's best to start small. I know how to solder, I've wired up a guitar, fixed inputs, that kind of stuff, but never built a circuit. So I think my first challenge is to wire a toggle switch to an LED light.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to do that? Or even a better place to start? Or preferably even a place to go after I have that working?

blakfeld on

Posts

  • Options
    rfaliasrfalias Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'd start with an Arc Reactor.

    rfalias on
  • Options
    kuhlmeyekuhlmeye Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you can, start off on a breadboard to be sure you have the correct build down before you start soldering. I've only done inverting circuits on a breadboard before, so I'm not sure how much I could help with building switches, but try looking up circuit diagrams, as those should help some.

    kuhlmeye on
    PSN: the-K-flash
  • Options
    DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Could you grab a used lab book from an electrician program or something so you have diagrams in front of you at the work bench and some sample examples to work from?

    Also the obligatory "try not to electrocute yourself with your new hobby" :P

    Dman on
  • Options
    AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you do guitars, you can build simple effects pedals. It's lots of fun. Back when I did it I found http://www.smallbearelec.com/ to be an awesome resource.

    Aioua on
    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
  • Options
    OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Wiring a toggle or spst to an LED light is pretty simple stuff. Get wire & solder one giant series loop of power source, switch, LED. The only possible thing to fuck up is not having the right voltage or current.

    There are lots of other fun little projects you can do. Go buy a cheap digital multimeter and start poking things. Toy around building on breadboards like mentioned. The easiest things you can learn to build are operational amplifiers and if you said you like work work on guitars, you use the fundamentals of RLC circuits to build filters for your guitar of whatever frequency- you can make some crazy modulations like a lot of professional guitarists do to find their own unique sounds.

    Edit: I mean learn to play with op-amps, learning V(in) versus V(out) and such, not expecting to build a transistor.

    Octoparrot on
  • Options
    PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'd buy some breadboards, wire, a power supply(you can use an old computer power supply it has 3.3, 5 and 12 volt supply) and then get a couple kits and follow the instructions.

    http://www.sparkfun.com has a pretty good community, maybe more for the embedded community but they have a lot of stuff and good forums.

    If you are going to be building musical equipment I'd learn how to wirewrap, you can still breadboard to prototype but wirewrap anything you intend to use.

    Actually with an LED you need to moderate the current flowing through it so you need power, switch, resistance and led.

    PracticalProblemSolver on
  • Options
    OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Actually with an LED you need to moderate the current flowing through it so you need power, switch, resistance and led.

    He's just going to have to check what his LED's operating values are versus his power supply. I was imagining just using an alkaline battery to start.

    Octoparrot on
  • Options
    beefbeef Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    One way to start is by playing with Circuit Maker:

    http://babbage.cs.qc.edu/courses/cs343/Circuit_Maker/circuitmaker_student.exe

    You can test your circuit virtually before you build it.

    beef on
  • Options
    OrestesOrestes Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Start with a breadboard or a superstrip, they're easy and simple.
    Logic Gate programming is also quite fun.

    The problem with "building" a circuit is that designing a circuit and building a circuit are two very different things.

    It takes years of training and education to design a circuit, but not nearly half that long to analyis a circuit.
    This is why engineers and technologists are very similar, but at the same time extreamly different.

    If you simply want to build a circuit, make a few tweaks here and there; by all means pick up a book, read some hobbiest website, start with a simple breadboard, or superstrip.

    If you want to design a circuit of complexity, you'll have to do some education. (EG: RL, RC, and RLC circuits, etc).

    Orestes on
  • Options
    OrestesOrestes Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    OH OH OH!!!

    If you can get your hands on an OPAMP or anything, you can make sweet as inverters and rectifiers!

    That stuff is mad awesome, full wave rectifiers, etc...

    Sorry, I'm in Elec Eng, these things make me go giddy.

    Orestes on
  • Options
    blakfeldblakfeld Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Dman wrote: »
    Could you grab a used lab book from an electrician program or something so you have diagrams in front of you at the work bench and some sample examples to work from?

    Also the obligatory "try not to electrocute yourself with your new hobby" :P

    Unfortunately not, I don't know anyone even close to the field, of my non-work pals, I'm the only one that even knows how to solder. Any books I should be on the look-out for?

    Guitar Pedals, I didn't even think of that. That should be fun.

    Breadboard! Totally bought. That looks like a great place to start. Any guides on what the other stuff does and how to use it? I know what all the components are, just no idea on how to use them. Is this a jump in and figure it out kind of thing does anyone have anything I can read on it?

    Also, OPAMP.... I read the wikipedia article... and I'm still not sure what exactly it is.

    Either way, thanks for the advice, I'll be heading out to Radio Shack tomorrow to start work on this LED switch.

    blakfeld on
  • Options
    PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Basically you need to understand your goal enough to figure out how to achieve it, for instance with your led problem: an led works because current flowing through it causes it to emit light. So you want to turn one on and off, you need to figure out how to control current flowing through it, using a power source, resistance and a switch is the easiest way to do it. There's pretty much limitless ways to achieve your goal though.

    So the led thing is a good start, the 'hello world' of circuits, you'll learn quite a bit about components and how they work, after that pick another simple problem and figure out how to achieve it. A good next step would be to get the led to blink automatically, then being able to control the rate of blinking.

    If you have a goal in mind, start working on simple circuits in that field.

    PracticalProblemSolver on
Sign In or Register to comment.