Newbie Diving in, definitely crazy and already stuck!

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by PeteW, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. PeteW

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 6, 2012
    Wow, this looks like a great site site! Somebody has put in a lotta love and hard work.

    So as the title says I'm a newbie to electronics. Had a life long interest, since I bought a radio hobby kit at Radio Shack back when light bulbs were the new big thing. I was only a teenager and as I remember the radio did not work after I finished it. That kind of discouraged me at the time so I did not pursue it further.

    Anyway here I am 45 years later with time on my hands (that always spells trouble, just ask the wife). I was doing some soldering and suddenly got a hankering to get a soldering station and from there I got carried away on the damn internet. Next thing I know I'm at Radio Shack picking up the Electronics Learning Lab.

    As I'm certain many on this site know the Electronics Learning Lab was developed by Forrest M. Mims. It comes with two 96 page workbooks and is largely project based. My 12 year old grandson thinks it's cool so now we have something besides video games we can do together. Thanks god! There's nothing worse than getting continuously spanked at video games by a 12 year old.

    Having just begun this past week we've assembled the 555 "black box" test circuit on page 19 which it says to keep intact (with the exception of disconnecting the +6v power feed) as you build the following projects. To keep this as brief as possible we had success until we built the 5th project on page 20 (bottom of the page).

    This project did not work. We traced over it many times, checking the directions and our work to no avail. I hoping for some advice. Here is a link to a pdf file of the workbook, 2800027_P1_PM_EN.pdf. The black box circuit is on page 19 and we're currently stuck on project 5 on page 20, "use the DPDT switch to actuate to devices at different voltages". For the record I've also tried projects 6 and 7 on page 21 with no result.

    Please help it's this or getting spanked at video games!

  2. MrKitty

    New Member

    Oct 6, 2012
    Hi Pete,

    It's nice to see your grandson and yourself are interested in electronics and tinkering with projects!

    I myself am not a big wiz of electronic components such as diodes IC chips and such but I do have some experience with switches, it would look like you're either connecting the poles of the switch the wrong way or the switch might be faulty. Perhaps you should use a multi-meter on continuity mode to check the poles of the switch to make sure you are connecting the wires to the right poles on the switch. Alternatively try using the switches mentioned in project 8, specifically S1 and S2, it looks to me that they are latching switches, try using them to see if you can make this project work at all.

    I hope I helped and not completely confused you :)
    PeteW likes this.
  3. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    Try trimming the pdf down a bit. I can't justify downloading such a large file on a satellite link with a tight daily limit. I suspect that is preventing others as well, since even if they can download large files, they don't see a reason to.

    For communications like this, try to keep files to no more than a few hundred KB and, if possible, a few tens of KB.

    It's great that you and your grandson are having fun working with electronics -- hopefully you can keep that going.
    PeteW likes this.
  4. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    Doesn't look like there's much wrong with the instructions. Could you take a photo of the board?
    PeteW likes this.
  5. PeteW

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 6, 2012
    To all above,
    Thanks for your suggestions. The DPDT switch works fine. The suggestion to check continuity was a good one. I have enough electrical knowledge to do uncomplicated house wiring and that's about it. Turns out I didn't need to do the continuity check though. The problem was a ground wire connected to the left top pole of the DPDT switch and connected to the breadboard common ground. It was part of the set up of the "black box" circuit tester. Once I pulled that ground loose everything began to work. Hallelujah!

    Quite a bit of head scratching, but it made sense once I did it.

    As for the size of the pdf file, advice taken. The link I posted was to the file I found when I did a search. I actually did think about it's size, but I didn't consider it from a satellite link standpoint. When I travel I have to use a mobile Hotspot so I appreciate exactly what you are saying and I should have thought of that. Next time (and I'm sure there will be one :)) I'll try and post just the needed pages.

    I'm sure my grandson will be very happy to move forward. For being 12, his attention span is pretty good, but bogging down was pretty boring for him. To his credit he hung in there for a while and did several check overs with me Friday night.

    Thanks one again for coming to my aid.