Novice project suggestions

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Fieldinator89, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Fieldinator89

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 8, 2014
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    Hello everyone,
    My name is Jeremy and I am a new member of the forums although I have used / browsed the site and the e-books throughout the semester for guidance. It's good to be here and I look forward to making acquaintances that are interested in these types of things as none of my friends are. I am approaching the end of the semester and have been looking around for novice-level type projects that I think I would be able to handle in order to get a more hands-on learning experience. Also, I just want to make something cool! So, I was just wondering if anybody had any suggestions on such projects (what you did for your first projects, etc). I have looked over several online and found a few that I would like to do but I'm not sure I am at that skill level yet. I have yet to use but plan on buying and learning how to use a soldering iron. So that's where I plan on starting but I'd like to use it for something!

    Thank you very much and have a good day!
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Start with the soldering iron, get a perf board or similar and a variety pack of resistors and caps, then get a 555 timer and some LEDs. Start with those components on a prototyping board and see if you can get it to flash. Once you do, move the circuit to the perf board and solder. Hopefully you will see flashing lights there too.

    You have to start somewhere and this is a cheap option. It sounds boring but you would be surprised how many mistakes can be made. We'll be here to cheer you or help you (I might make fun of you but that is just because I make mistakes too and I like knowing I am not the only one).
     
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  3. Fieldinator89

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 8, 2014
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    Thank you!! Boring + beer, good to go. And cheap option +++++ as college student
     
  4. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I completely agree. Visual feedback from LEDs can really help learn what's going on, as well as look fun and cool. They're sort of a poor man's oscilloscope in that sense. And the 555 is one of the most used ICs ever made.

    The only thing I would add is a transistor, such as a MOSFET, that would allow you to control something with more current in the same way you control the LEDs. Motors, fans, bigger LEDs, regular light bulbs, etc. Many folks get their transistors by pulling them out of old electronics, fyi. I also have a handful of IRF540N MOSFETs for general purpose use.

    If you want to pool things to order to save freight, I'd also add an LM339 quad comparator, and an op amp such as LM358N or TLV272IP. If you're interested in audio, the LM386 IC is well known to DIYers. And of course you'll need solder, hookup wires that fit your breadboard (I think 22 gauge is common?), a good wire stripper. Don't go too cheap on that tool.
     
  5. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Forget about the cool part. Just get started.

    Get some resistors and LEDs and make the LEDs light up without blowing them.

    Then get out the soldering iron and build yourself a 5V @ 1A voltage supply using a transformer and a LM7805 regulator or similar. Build it in a metal box with a power switch, fuse, LED power indicator and two banana posts. You will be glad you did this.

    I still use mine that I built in my school years.
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Build a crystal radio.

    Build a joule thief to power an LED from one 1.5V battery.
     
  7. AnalogKid

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 1, 2013
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    + 1 ^ 9

    ak
     
  8. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    A pending matter for me.
     
  9. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Yup, first electronic thing I ever built was a crystal radio. Piece of wood with brass nails hammered into it and solder the components on to the nails. You can stick the circuit diagram down to the wood so you can see where the parts go.
     
  10. Fieldinator89

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 8, 2014
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    Thank you guys! I have never even heard of a crystal radio until you suggested it, pretty damn cool! I actually just got a multimeter today! Next purchase is the soldering iron. Would you guys recommend a soldering iron or is it worth the extra coinage to invest in a soldering station? I read that a soldering gun doesn't work as well because it gets to hot or something of the sort. Is this true? I've never soldered anything so I need to look into that also, have run across a few 'guides' here and there.
     
  11. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Yes, a soldering station is easier to use. There are technically simple and reliable soldering stations (Weller with a magnetic switch) and a complex styles with electronic controls. The simple ones can be repaired by users and replacement parts are widely available. The complex ones make you feel great that you can control the tip peppers true to within 0.1 degrees but lead to broken hearts.

    I own a Weller that is about 30 years old. Tips and other parts are still available.

    By the way, the benefit of a station is that you get a 35 watt system that heats up quickly but doesn't overheat the tips. The self regulating temp control also prevents you from having to set up a garage full of soldering irons depending on what you are soldering. A 35 w station will let you de-solder a big glob of wires from an atx power supply and turn around and solder a small SMD op amp without ever adjusting or changing anything.

    Also, the old sellers don't have a temp control, you just buy a tip that suits your needs, 600, 700 or 800 F.

    Just my recommendation.
     
  12. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Depends on your budget, for a beginner soldering discrete components you can get by with a cheap 15W iron but as GopherT says a station goes a lot further.
     
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