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Welcome Shads!


0.  Examples:

Download the talk here (pdf, introtoelectronics-shads-2011July, 4Mb)


1.  Download the Arduino Software



2.  Electronics components

Download the PDF “Super-Quick Intro to Electronics



3.  List of Electronics components

Component Pic Function
Breadboard Connections in a Breadboar » 

Correct way to connect components to a breadboard

9V Battery Clip red = positive = 9V
black = negative = ground = 0V
Resistors Used to control the amount of Electrical Current in the circuit (higher resistance value = lower electrical current).
Diode Allows electricy to flow in only one direction, sort of like an electronic valve
Light-Emitting Diode Note that the longer-side always goes to the postive terminal, the shorter to the positive terminal. 

Always use an LED in-line with a resistor. Avoid connecting directly to the battery without a resistor (too much current, might break the component)

Capacitor Holds electrical charges.  Acts like a “temporary battery” 

Make sure you connect the negative terminal on the capacitor to ground (it is always marked with “- – -” ) , otherwise  part may break down and possibly explode (very smelly, not healthy).


Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT)

An electronic switch / amplifier.  Many different styles, we use the 3904 NPN BJT.

Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET)

An electronic switch /amplifier.  Many different styles to use, we will be using an N-Channel enhancement type (HUF-75321)
Push-button switches Push button down to connect the two wires inside the switch,

3.  Arduino Example Software

You can copy and paste these examples into your own Arduino setup:

  • Arduino example – analog input through the serial port
  • Arduino example –   controlling the DC motor through the serial port
  • Arduino example – look up under “Sketchbook –>  Servo –> Sweep”.



4.  Ideas and Components

  • McMaster-Carr – they sell just about every mechancial device and component you can think of
  • Sparkfun – electronics projets and parts for prototyping.  Their forums are incredibly helpful.
  • Newark and Digikey – two electronics vendors that sell everything.


5.   Sites to see common elec and mech devices

  • iFixIt Teardowns – A particularly instructive website for learing about what key elements are in modern electronics (and I mean very modern – they had tear-downs of the recent iPhone 3GS and Nintendo DS XL on the day of release). The tear-down of the Pleo dinosaur is particularly fun:
  • Tech Online has a regular feature analysing new electronics products
  • For mechanical systems, not surprising that there’s quite the community of people documenting motorcycle rebuilds and repairs
  • the most detailed mechanical analys I can find are machinists and others doing repair-work on old mills, lathes and other machine tools. They are particulary detailed if not engineering analysis-heavy.