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Project for interested novice that will give him most taste of electronics?

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jakub_friso

New Member
I know that there is plenty of stuff on the internet titled: Electronics Projects for Beginners. But I´m looking for a different advice, and for that, I think I need to ask directly professional and more skilled folks that I hopefully will find in here.

I'm very interested in electronics but I want to test my interest by actually building something with electronics. Than. after first experience I will further my studies. or not.

Now, my question is:

What is the project that will give me the most taste of what electronics are about?

What project would you recommend to a novice to introduce him to world of electronics?

With all the nuances but also the rough stuff. It doesn't have to be simple - just full of experience. So that at the end of its creation, I will know REALLY what electronics are about. Or at least partially...

I'm seeking this question because I was looking for many beginner projects - but I'm not looking for to easiest one - that's mostly what these projects are about, connecting this wire to that wire to light this...

I´m looking for the full (and maybe rough) experience, but as a novice, I can't assume what project will give it to me. And internet is not helping on this topic...

I was thinking about few inventions like: speakers, solar charger, watering system ... but how good are they for beginner?

I hope that I'm asking a relevant and understandable question. And I value every piece of an advice...

And please, don't worry about knowledge, I will learn everything that I would need for that project - just give me a platform.

Thank you.
 

Parth86

Member
I know that there is plenty of stuff on the internet titled: Electronics Projects for Beginners. But I´m looking for a different advice, and for that, I think I need to ask directly professional and more skilled folks that I hopefully will find in here.

I'm very interested in electronics but I want to test my interest by actually building something with electronics. Than. after first experience I will further my studies. or not.

Now, my question is:

What is the project that will give me the most taste of what electronics are about?

What project would you recommend to a novice to introduce him to world of electronics?

With all the nuances but also the rough stuff. It doesn't have to be simple - just full of experience. So that at the end of its creation, I will know REALLY what electronics are about. Or at least partially...

I'm seeking this question because I was looking for many beginner projects - but I'm not looking for to easiest one - that's mostly what these projects are about, connecting this wire to that wire to light this...

I´m looking for the full (and maybe rough) experience, but as a novice, I can't assume what project will give it to me. And internet is not helping on this topic...

I was thinking about few inventions like: speakers, solar charger, watering system ... but how good are they for beginner?

I hope that I'm asking a relevant and understandable question. And I value every piece of an advice...

And please, don't worry about knowledge, I will learn everything that I would need for that project - just give me a platform.

Thank you.
Hello
Welcome to forum
Do you have breadboard, multimeter, Resistors led, if not than buy as soon as possible. Then think if you have 9 volt DC battery and you want to light led, what you need, you need resistor, apply the knowledge of your theory knowledge, apply kcl, kvl law and find out which ohm resistor is you need to protect led. Than connect led, Resistor. With battery on breadboard. I think you will learn more, and you will be confident, that you can make electronics project. This is first step for every beginner.
 

atferrari

Well-Known Member
Take a 9V power supply (a battery bah) and put nine resistors (1Kohms each) in series with its terminals.

With a multimeter, in a protoboard if available, measure this:

Current between the + terminal of the battery and the first resistor. Note it.
Current passing from one resistor to the next. Note the 8 measurements.
Current between the last resistor and the - terminal of the battery. Note it.
Compare measurements and make a conclusion.

Measure the voltage across the terminals of each resistor. Note the 9 measurements.
Measure voltage between the junctions between resistors and the - terminal. Note them.
Add all the voltages across all resistors. Check the sum against the battery voltage.

A friend of mine, Georg Simon his name, was playing that game on my bench some time ago and was very pleased with the results.

Come back here and report.

If you deem I am mocking you or making fun of you, I am not. Wish I was told to learn that upfront. Please tell the outcome.
 

MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Hi,

If you want a good 'taste' of electronics then build a cotton candy machine :)

If you want to 'taste' electrons place your tongue gently across a regular 9v battery :)
We used to do this in grammer school with standard 9v batteries not alkaline.

If you want a little project, connect a 1k resistor in series with a white 5mm LED and connect that to a 9v battery. The LED shines. That is simple yet provides something uzeful, light. It's safer than a candle. Candles burn thousands of houses down each year.
 

cowboybob

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Welcome to ETO, jakub!
This site: http://www.sciencekits.com/electron.html has a number of kits.
For my part, my electronic history began with an Allied Radio "Span Master" kit:

And I was utterly hooked. Got my Ham license a year later

The site I suggested above has a similar, although simpler "kit" for an AM/FM radio (Electronic AM/FM Radio Kit, further down the page). Solid state with wire spring type connectors.

That one kit will teach you loads (cheaply, but you'll end up with a device that will "prove" you did it correctly)...

<EDIT> Forgot to add you can come back here and get your questions answered about how and what the various components (or circuits) are doing, and why.
 
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Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I started with 3 channel Light Organ from sound. These days there are many online deals so reverse engineering how they work with a DMM or find a good kit and use Strip LEDs on a PC pwr sply. 12V

Play with sequencers using pseudo random shift registers and XOR feedback.
Play with CD4060 Osc , counter and outputs to drive LEDs.

For a bigger challenge, get an Arduino to interact with sensor feedback to make a matrix control system for quadrapalegics with different sounds or blow tube scanner selection.

Make a wearable computer system with a Kopin head mounted display for the mobile .

Make a high speed near field reflector for blind spot for your side mirrors using narrow beam pulsed IR with Sharp IR integrated receivers using the carrier f selected 20k-60kHz and LED indicators
 
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Dr_Doggy

Well-Known Member
1) youtube! lots of interesting things to build there
2)200-in-1 electronics project kit -- great for when i was young and a beginner
3) arduino microcontroller -- not so much electronics learning but more of computer processing, but better if you want to get in to switching controllers, that run & simplify the additional circuitry
4) a breadboard and components multi-meter , as mentioned, good for circuits if that is truly where your interest is, also good to have as you build on to the arduino

dont mean to turn your question around, but what would you like to do?
think of simple....
Ohms law is definately the first step to learning theory..

you mentioned a speaker, there are some interesting paper speakers that are simple to do
solar chargers are simple just: solar panel, diode, battery

but if you just want to try building random things the bread board is the way to go, with some leds and resistors maybe, there are tons of ways to make them light up, and give you a feel for basic current and voltage... and can lead to learning about complex matrices such as digital signs

its best in this situation its best to close your eyes and ask yourself "what do i want to build?"
this way you will be more satisfied with the outcome of your project... when you have something you will be happy with.... no single project will teach you everything so dont worry so much about that... but what would you like to do ?
 

MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Hello again,

My first project was probably just wiring up miniature houses for a mini train village probably HO scale. That was just switches and bulbs and transformer.
My first electronic project was probably just a two bulb neon blinker circuit from parts i got out of old radios.
We didnt have transistors back then so it was either neon bulbs, tubes, etc.
I tried to get a transistor but they were not widespread yet and the TV guy would not sell me one i think because he thought i was too young.
Some time later i made a model of a Thunderbird blinker system and again no digital logic or transistors so i had to use a hand crank to get the lighting sequence to happen. That was for a science fair in grammar school.

So there are a lot of possible first projects, far too many really, so you've got to decide what you think would be interesting and how difficult you want it to be. Electronics really includes a very broad range of concepts and devices. You have to pick something that you think you can handle and will still be interesting at least for a while.
 

bountyhunter

Well-Known Member
I know that there is plenty of stuff on the internet titled: Electronics Projects for Beginners. But I´m looking for a different advice, and for that, I think I need to ask directly professional and more skilled folks that I hopefully will find in here.

I'm very interested in electronics but I want to test my interest by actually building something with electronics. Than. after first experience I will further my studies. or not.

Now, my question is:

What is the project that will give me the most taste of what electronics are about?

Thank you.
Depends. The best home projects come from whatever your interested in: stereo, automotive,CB radio, TV etc. Pick something you want to learn about.
 

bountyhunter

Well-Known Member
Welcome to ETO, jakub!
This site: http://www.sciencekits.com/electron.html has a number of kits.
For my part, my electronic history began with an Allied Radio "Span Master" kit:

And I was utterly hooked. Got my Ham license a year later

The site I suggested above has a similar, although simpler "kit" for an AM/FM radio (Electronic AM/FM Radio Kit, further down the page). Solid state with wire spring type connectors.

That one kit will teach you loads (cheaply, but you'll end up with a device that will "prove" you did it correctly)...

<EDIT> Forgot to add you can come back here and get your questions answered about how and what the various components (or circuits) are doing, and why.
My first big project was a Knight Kit Star Roamer five band radio.
 
I started with a crystal AM radio on a breadboard and continued to modify the circuit(s) and antenna until I had a fairly decent 9v transistor radio. Stage 1. First I had the basic coil (wound it myself), antenna (strung it up myself), diode type crystal set. Stage 2: I added an one transistor RF amp. Stage 3: Added an LM386 audio amp and began using a speaker for sound. Stage 4: Swapped out variable capacitor tuner for varactor tuner (electronic diode tuning) Stage 5: Changed from a single diode detector to a three FET detector. Stage 6: Got rid of coil / antenna combo and built a big tuned loop antenna (my brother and I built it one afternoon) to take their place. Stage 7: Swapped the first RF amp for an improved two transistor RF amp. Stage 8: Made selectivity improvements to the antenna by adding a secondary pickup winding to feed the RF amp thereby removing the physical connection to the actual antenna wire (it's now coupled by induction only at a 4:1 ratio.) Stage 9: Made some selectivity improvements with slight changes to the antenna capacitors.

Anyway, the reason I think this is good way to learn is that you get to see how each part and circuit is used and what effect they have on your project. You start with something that barely works and turn into something that is pretty serviceable. Granted it's not the best possible design, but it works pretty well. It's still on the breadboard and I listen to it everyday while I'm working on my computer. Believe or not, every part of this project was the result of my reading about electronics / radios and searching the web for circuit diagrams of the various stages. I basically combined all the different circuits I found on web into the final product. Kind of like learning how each type of Lego be can attached to another one to build the kit. You won't find this "plan" anywhere as a single schematic, but you could find all the pieces that comprise it if you looked hard enough. I had to a lot of reading and asking questions to get this to work. The people here were quite helpful. Along the way I also picked up a lot of parts and some test equipment that I had to learn to use too. It was great fun. Someday I'll get back to it and start making more improvements!
 
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JLNY

Active Member
My two cents: I did a lot of my early learning making (or trying to make) speakers and audio amplifiers from scratch, but I had very little success until I went to school and got a much better grounding in electronics and design theory. Perhaps I just never had proper mentoring in that area, but making good, proper amplifiers is a very deep, complex subject and may not be suitable for a beginner. YMMV.
 

Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Make a proximity switch that detects stray line noise being reflected by the waving of your hand over a concealed wall plate.
Then use that signal to control the brightness of a light with a pulse detection for toggle and a step ( hold hand for a sweep ramp) or whatever
 

dr pepper

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Liked your span master bob, and I like those glowing glass thingies too.

Jakob if you like the idea of digital logic or microcontrollers google arduino, its a platform designed for beginners and experienced builders and is very popular, there are a few projects for the likes of solar chargers and watering systems on the net.
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
I don't think building something is the way to find out if you like electronics. Perhaps the debug of something you build. I discovered that by taking various college classes I was able to find a subject that interested me. In my opinion, If I were you, I would take a basic electronics class (one with a lab) through your local community college. After being in the class awhile, you should learn if it interest you or not. And if it does not interest you, at least you knocked out one of the physical science requirements of college:)
I'm assuming that your of college age.
 

JLNY

Active Member
I don't think building something is the way to find out if you like electronics. Perhaps the debug of something you build. I discovered that by taking various college classes I was able to find a subject that interested me. In my opinion, If I were you, I would take a basic electronics class (one with a lab) through your local community college. After being in the class awhile, you should learn if it interest you or not. And if it does not interest you, at least you knocked out one of the physical science requirements of college:)
I'm assuming that your of college age.
On a sorta similar vein to this, a good way I found early on to learn about electronics was to take things apart. Many places, especially college campuses, have tech dumps or electronics recycling bins where folks throw out old computers, VCRs, TVs, stereo equipment, etc. where you can find great stuff to take apart that is just going to get junked anyway. I would often harvest components out of them that I liked (I still have a box of VFD tubes I saved from all the VCRs I tore down, and all the computer PSU and CPU heatsinks I salvaged are now going into the audio power amplifiers I make). Seeing similarities and differences in certain designs gradually helped me learn about design and how things are constructed. Once you pull apart a few switching power supplies, for example, and you begin to learn a bit about how they work just from seeing what components are used to make them, and looking up chips and controllers for various applications can often yield interesting insights and example designs.

All the obligatory safety recommendations apply. As always, be careful around high voltage capacitors, flyback transformers and the like, as they can still hold a charge even though they aren't plugged in.
 

djsfantasi

Member
My first experience was also wiring up model trains in a classic common rail block system with reversing sections.
Next, I played with hooking up 16-20 8 Ω speakers to an amplifier (and calculating the wattage requirements and balancing the power)
My next experience was with digital logic, making a single digit random number generator and 30 second countdown timer, which controlled a tape player.

My point is there was a progression to my projects. From a simple wiring exercise, involving both parallel and serial circuits. To a project that required calculations of power in a serial-parallel circuit. To digital logic!

Thus there may not be one best project for you. What you need is s project appropriate to your current skills and provided a stretch,..
 

throbscottle

Well-Known Member
Crystal radio gave me many hours of interest and entertainment. Like StellarRat I tried various ways to modify and improve the basic design. Never added a powered stage though, it was always about getting the best out of the signal with what I had.
Had fun making noises with various circuits, started with a 75-in-one electronic project kit, modifying the various noise-making projects in that.
A basic audio amplifier is a good project too. You can use a transformer (eg LT700) for the output stage to keep things nice and simple.
And whilst you play with it, you can learn how it works.
 

dr pepper

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Something worth mentioning, as a fairly experienced hobbyist I can say that circuits and projects rarely work first time, you spend a lot of time debugging with this interest, something to bear in mind, you need patience and plenty of it.
Also no matter how much you know it will never be enough.
 
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