Reading a text while learning circuits can be tedious. As you learn circuits in class, it’s great to start wiring up circuits immediately. It even gives you a flexibility to experiment new ideas/configurations.
The following steps will help you get started in your quest for electronic circuits:
- Grab a multimeter and a breadboard. These are essential tools. The breadboard is where your circuit elements are connected. A multimeter is a measurement instrument that measures the physical parameters of the test. It is used to determine nodal voltage, current drawn, and other such parameters. You will find it to be your most reliable friend when you are circuit debugging.
- Next, as you begin with your classes, you’ll start learning about electronic devices, right from diodes to transistors. Experiment the basic rectifiers and voltage regulators and move on to verifying switching & amplifying actions of a transitor. So, you must now include a bunch of diodes (try both pn junction and zener) and some transistors.
- Let’s get digital. Get yourself some digital ICs of 74 series TTL family. These work on 5V DC supply and are quite handy to use too. You can now implement different logic operations combining NAND gate (7400), NOR gate (7432), NOT Gate (7404) , and others, and work out boolean equations. Then quickly move on to flip-flops, and proceed on to make your own digital counter.
- Enjoying Circuits already ? Well wait for this. A 555 Timer IC is what you would enjoy next. The clock signal now comes into play significantly. Start with implementing PWM signals, and experiment with making simple alarm systems and what not. Google out more on 555 IC. Next try IC-741 Opamp, and implement different operations such as a summer, subtractor, integrator,etc.
- After implementing all these discreet functions, let’s get intelligent. Work with a micro-controller. You may wanna start with Arduino. Fetch some analog sensors. Measure temperature ( temperature sensor LM35 IC), measure distance (ultrasonic sensors HC-SR04), etc. and have fun making some small projects along the way. Quickly move on to an AVR platform and buy an ATmega series MCU (ATmega 16/32 would do), learn it inside out, or maybe TI’s MSP430 is your choice. That’s great too.
- Oh, I just completely forgot. Setting up your small lab would also include buying a number of resistors, pots, capacitors, leds, maybe a 16*2 LCD, Seven Segment Displays, etc. You’ll always need them along the way. Get proper jumper wires to connect on your breadboard. Also, include a DC Adapter, a 9V one would be great. You may also buy voltage regulators or DC to DC convertors such as 7805 IC which would bring the voltage under TTL logic operation range. (5V= high)
- Here’s a great website for beginners: Instructables: Electronics Search Results
- There are many tutorials that will help you learn. You’ll find a lot of tutorials that you can use to learn. Another important point. You should make it a habit of reading the datasheets for every IC and component in your circuit, from the beginning with your diodes up to the intelligent MCUs. This will be of great benefit to you. You can Google different terms that you don’t understand or are unfamiliar.
- Are you confused about where to purchase all this stuff? Make a list of the components that you require, then contact a local vendor. You might have to pay extra shipping costs if you order stuff online.
That’s all. Remember, the most important thing to remember is to work hard and have fun with each led blink.