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Make:Electronics, experiment 14

24 January 2012 at 3:41 pm

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Changed my mind and spent most of of last week working on the app idea. Took a while to get the AIR performance to where I wanted it, but it’s really running fast now even on old devices. Didn’t do any Arduino stuff other than making a couple musical circuits/instruments based on light sensors with my son Walter. Simple, but fun stuff. I then took Monday off from app-making to finish up the first half of the Make:Electronics experiments. Have to say that this book is incredibly good for anyone that just want a solid introduction to electronics. Part of the process is to learn about the limits of components and it’s really fun and useful to fry some circuits.

Fiddled a lot on Experiment 11. I simply couldn’t get it to work. While Googling for an answer, I stumbled upon this picture for Flickr. Then I realized that picking a 570 Ohm resistor over a 570k Ohm will probably break the circuit. If you check out the reviews of the Make:Electronics book, you’ll find that they’re sort of divided into two - those that love hte book and those that feel that the instructions are inadequate. After realizing my own mistake, I now understand why a few of the reviews are incredibly negative. They probably made a similar error, but failed to find the culprit.

Experiment 14 is by far my favorite thus far. It’s shown in the video above. It’s not doing much - it’s just blinking / fading a LED. This would be incredibly simple to do with a Microcontroller like Arduino or a Picaxe, but I learned so much from playing with transistors (NPN and PUT) and capacitors while doing the preparing experiments that lead up to this. Soldering it all up on a protoboard and getting it to work on first try was also a kick!

Now it’s time to take a break from blogging though. Will spend the coming week at gotoAndSki Switzerland - the Coolest Geek Conference around!

GotoAndSki 2012!