November 2013


Exercise ten, “Transistor Switching”.  This exercise introduces a very important component which has characteristics similar to the relay.  Whereas both components can switch the flow of electrical current. That said, the documentation explains the ins and outs of transistors, in that they are naturally off until turned on; considered a limitation.  Relays on the other hand offer more switching options, i.e., can be normally open, normally closed, or utilize a


Exercise nine, “Time and Capacitors”.  This exercise demonstrates how one can measure time by simply placing a capacitor in series with a resistor.  The importance of this concept is related to the “time constant”.  That said, by placing a capacitor and resistor in series, the amount of time it takes for the capacitor to charge will be much longer than if both components were placed in parallel. To fully implement


Exercise eight, “A Relay Oscillator”. This exercise is a slightly revised version of exercise seven in which the direct connection was between the push button and the coil.  In exercise eight, the voltage arrives at the coil as a result of traveling through the contacts of the relay.  Therefore, when the push button is depressed, the contacts of the relay feed the voltage to both the coil and the leftmost

Make: Electronics – Chp 2 Exercise 7

Exercise seven “Relay-Driven LEDs”.  This experiment introduces the Relay component and is used to drive two LEDs.  The heart of a relay is basically an iron core wrapped around wire.  The electricity running through the coiled wire will produce a magnetic reaction,  triggering an internal lever that closes two contacts.  During this process the relay is said to be energized, allowing a low voltage signal or low current to travel

Make: Electronics – Chp 2 Exercise 6

Exercise six “Very Simple Switching”.  Looking back to exercise four we covered how to turn electricity into a functional property and lit an LED.  This exercise follows up that concept and is the beginning stages of controlling electrical power via switches. Putting together the discrete components is quite simple but can feel a little tedious without using a bread board.  I could imagine that someone who has not done this

Make: Electronics – Chp 1 Exercise 4

Exercise four “Varying Voltage” is an introduction to the manipulation of voltage via a pot (potentiometer). One of the initial requirements of this exercise is to dismantle a pot and perform a visual inspection of its inner-workings.  Personally, I am not a fan of ruining a perfectly functioning component. However, if you are careful, it is pretty easy reassembling the pot. A DMM is used to reveal the resistance bandwidth

Make: Electronics – Chp 1 Exercise 3

Exercise Three “Your First Circuit”.  At this point we finally begin to make something that resembles an electronic circuit.  The purpose of the experiment is to show you how to turn electricity into a functional property and power a light-emitting diode. One of the key take-a-ways from this experiment is what is learned about the general properties of an LED.  The longer wire (Anode) is the more positive side and

Make: Electronics – Chp 1 Exercise 2

Exercise Two “Shorting a Battery” exposes the reader to the concept of voltage, current, and resistance.  The end result is non-eventful as there are no visual effects of the short. However, the battery itself becomes very warm.  This is a result of increased current and electrical flow through the wires and the electrolytic properties of the battery. A second exercise involves placing a 3-amp-fuse in-between the battery terminals.  The idea

Make: Electronics – Chp 1 Exercise 1

Exercise one “Taste the Power!” is a nice approach to demystifying electricity for a beginner. In addition to the background information covered, such as the fundamentals of Ohms and how a battery actually works. One of the first tasks kind of reminded me of a “Hello World” introduction. Those of you that write code know what I mean.  The author asks that you “taste the power” and place the terminals