Electronics 101

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Playing with Gadgeteer fuelled my enthusiasm so I dusted off my solderless breadboard and basic electronics components that came with the basic kit I bought a while ago.

Electronics

I don’t know what most of those things are but I decided to start with a simple circuit that lights an LED. After burning a few LEDs I learned that it would be a good idea to use a resistor in the circuit in order not to fry the LED. Reading resistors turned out to be a pain though! They are colour-coded and you have to know the value of each colour. I found here a nice calculator to free myself from that unnecessary waste of time: http://www.csgnetwork.com/resistcolcalc.html

Yet there was another problem. All the sources I had found were talking about 3 bands. But my resistors had 5 colour bands! After spending some more time I learned that there is also a 5-colour version of resistors. Here is the calculator for the 5-band version: http://www.diyalarmforum.com/5-band-resistor-calc

The problem is they are so tiny that it’s not always easy to distinguish the colours. Anyway, I decided to pick one and hope for the best.

The next challenge is using the breadboard. Even though it’s meant to make life easier for circuit builders there’s a still a few things to learn about it which are not very intuitive. I found a nice video on Youtube to learn the basics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9jcHB9tWko

After playing around a little bit a finally managed to light a LED which was nice but didn’t feel like much of an accomplishment. It required too much time to achieve something so trivial.

Electronics

I think I’ll need various components to build something significant. The kit I have looks very limited. But before I invest more money into this I think I’ll keep playing with more high-level products like Gadgeteer, Netduino and Arduino. If I can incorporate breadboard and lower-level components into systems using those that would a bonus but without such powerful controllers I don’t think I’ll get satisfying results with circuits built on a solderless breadboard.

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