Getting into circuitry
Posted on Tue Oct 27 2015 08:00:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Since I was a kid I always had some fascination with electronics. I never got much further than the most basics of circuits but it's been in the back of my mind to try again for quite a while.
With the hardware and internet of things movement getting well underway, I felt it was about time I got more familiar with modern circuitry tools. Being a software developer, it also fascinated me to start bridging my knowledge from the other side and understanding the origins of computers.
Figuring out where to start
It was hard for me to figure out where to start at first. A few years ago I got my first Raspberry Pi, but quickly concluded it wasn't really low level enough to do what I wanted, and the motivation died for a while. After attending a talk about getting starting with hardware, I learned the Arduino Microcontroller was a much more suitable fit for hardware prototyping. That was good to know, but other than an awareness of the Arduino and its ability to work with various sensors, I still had no concept of what constitues even the most basic circuit. Then I finally found the perfect motivator...
About 3 months ago, I learned of a new subscription startup, called Tron Club, that would ship about $20 of circuitry parts and a booklet every month. With that, I had my perfect motivator. All the hassle of buying parts and creating a lesson plan taken out of my hands.
After 2 kits worth of lessons, how has it been going so far? Really well, I think. The kits have been extremely useful in providing a wide bredth of pieces to tickle one's curiousity. I didn't find all the instructions as thorough as I might have liked at times, but all the answers to my questions have been only a Youtube search away. Tron Club gave me all the right kind of terminology I needed to query the internet effectively.
So what has some of my progress looked like? Well here are a few Vines I captured over the last few months of my progress:
A simple LED light circuit with a photo resistor
A NAND logic gate that I looked up on Youtube after finishing the first booklet
After the second kit arrived and I completed most circuits, I challenged myself to make an LED that would blink then go solid from everything I knew so far.
Combining everything I learned from Tron Club, with my knowledge of C and the Arduino to make a Traffic Light Halloween costume
It just keeps getting better
Since developing a decent foundation in circuitry, my fascination with the subject matter has only increased. I find myself hanging out on /r/electronics every day trying to passively learn from others experiences. I can look at circuit board and actually identify a lot of the peices and how they are connecting. Everything that uses power in my house just seems a little less mysterious now, and that's very empowering.
It's been 2 very fun months of learning so far and I don't see myself stopping this hobby any time soon. Right now I'm fascinated by voltage dividers and their applications. What's a voltage divider, you ask? I'm working on it and I'm sure I'll be able to tell you all about them soon enough!