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Projects for Newbies

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by SkeptiDad, Jan 10, 2014.

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  1. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    Jan 10, 2014
    Hi everyone, I've been interested in electronics for a while and finally decided to start fooling around with it as a hobby. I was wondering if anyone had some beginner projects they could recommend to start really learning how to do stuff. Also any ideas for projects that involve salvaging some part of old electronics would be fun.

    I have a good background in math, and a basic understanding of some of the different components and equations for working out circuits. I also have a couple of boxes of old electronics that I never had the heart to throw out. I also love learning new things and I am excited to start being able to do some projects.

    Also if anyone has some good resources for a beginner to start learning more, it would be appreciated.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    It all depends on what parts you have and what you're interested in.

    These days, a good start can be to program a microcontroller and use that to drive simple electronics. You can get a lot of functionality without a lot of effort.

    Do you have any programming experience?

    We've tutored a guy from not knowing how to wire up a switch (well almost) into being able to understand some pretty advanced programming concepts allowing him to control a model railway signalling system. It's amazing how quickly you can get things done.

    https://www.electronicspoint.com/ar...g-led-power-supply-control-panel-t255905.html
     
  3. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    Jan 10, 2014
    As for parts, I have some old cell phones (I'd really like to learn how to repurpose one of the old lcd screens), some old computers, a couple of old vcr's, and some other random stuff.

    I have some programming experience, all self taught. I've done a couple of simple games.

    I also have a good base of knowledge when it comes to household wiring and electrical as I work in the construction industry.

    I few projects I was thinking of was making a power station from an old pc psu. I thought it might be a good beginner project as it could be used down the road for different voltages for different projects (12v, 5v, 3v).

    Also building something battery powered my 5yo could play with (and maybe start getting interested in how things work).
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    It's always tempting to build things using PC power supplies since so many get discarded. They're not perfect as power supplies (they don't have a variable current limit and they aren't that well regulated) but they're cheap and powerful.

    Just be careful that they can kill you and that they can bite you really hard even after the power had been turned off for some time...

    Salvaging parts from the sources you mention can be problematic. As a beginner, you're not going to know if the failure of your project was caused by a construction error, or a faulty part.

    The other issue is that it's probably a lot harder to desolder components that it is to solder them, and people often have trouble with soldering. Also, salvaged parts may be harder to use on a breadboard.

    Having said that, there's no reason why you can't salvage LEDs, resistors, switches, etc, and make something which lights up various lights as buttons are pressed. With a bit of effort you could make some sort of puzzle.
     
  5. Arouse1973

    Arouse1973 Adam

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    Dec 18, 2013
    Also some comp PSUs require a power good signal to work. Spent ages wondering why it wouldn't work. LOL. Been there done that.
    Adam
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2014
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,491
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    Jan 21, 2010
    Also some require a load to regulate... But that sort of stuff is in the descriptions of these projects.

    However, if you're doing it yourself, both can come a surprise if you don't knoe about them. (I guess that's often the nature of things you don't know)
     
  7. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    Jan 10, 2014
    I thought desoldering parts off of old scrap electronics would make for some good practice.

    Having something where switches would light up led's as some sort of puzzle sounds like it would be fun to make.

    As for a workbench power supply, what would you recommend. What I was thinking of making would have each output individually switched for more control. I was thinking along the lines of something that I could put a vehicle power outlet in as well to make it easier for me to test car chargers as well.

    Like I said I'm interested in any projects you could recommend that would help towards learning.
     
  8. quantumtangles

    quantumtangles

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    Dec 19, 2012
    There are a some great beginners books in the 'evil genius' series, with titles such as Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius.

    The projects provide clear instructions and bills of parts (what you need to make them).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_Genius_(book_series)

    I also highly recommend electronics kits where the Printed Circuit Boards are supplied and you then populate (by soldering components to the board) the PCB and make useful devices.

    If you are motivated to learn about electronics, it will amaze you, entertain you, protect you and always be there to help you. Best of all, the knowledge that inevitably accompanies it can never be taken away from you. Welcome to the roller coaster and be safe :D
     
  9. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    Jan 10, 2014
  10. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    That kit looks very good. My only concern is the soldering station. It looks like a Weller but at that price I think it must be a lookalike. Replacement Weller tips are readily available, but is it compatible with them? But even if it can't be maintained, you should get a few years' use from it, and at that rate, the kit is still very good value.

    BTW I assume you're a Skeptic... it's cool to have another skeptic here; we see a lot of bullsh*t - overunity, creative physics, etc. If you want a laugh, search for threads that include "woo woo" (Steve flags them with that tag LOL)
     
  11. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    Jan 10, 2014
    The kit comes with 2 replacement tips, a second point tip, and a small flat tip. I thought even if I get a dozen or so projects out of this soldering iron it would be a good value.

    Funny thing is, overunity and "free energy" was one of the things that got me into skepticism. After a friend told me about it, I decided to learn about the physics and electrical theory behind it.
     
  12. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Good, and good! :)
     
  13. dietermoreno

    dietermoreno

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    Dec 30, 2012
    It is too over whelming for a beginner like me to start from scratch, I found alot of fun in building a kit that came with the PCB and all the components, and even gave tips on soldering and teaching the different types of capacitors.
     
  14. SkeptiDad

    SkeptiDad

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    0
    Jan 10, 2014
    After doing some searching I found a project that might be interesting. Using an old pc cooling fan to build a mini extractor. I have a couple of old pc's lying around, and I just found a 13.5v battery charger for something that doesn't work any more.

    Should I get a 12v adapter, or is it possible to lower the voltage ti run the fan?

    Does it sound like a reasonable project for a beginner?
     
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