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RadioShack Electronics Learning Lab and Sensors Lab

Discussion in 'Sensors and Actuators' started by Omega Supreme, Oct 9, 2014.

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  1. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Hi All,

    I've been working through the projects in both the RadioShack Electronics Learning Lab and RadioShack Electronic Sensors Lab. I've noticed many of the projects are similar to each other, with a slight change.

    Are there more circuits that can be built using these labs beyond those in the manuals? Can you suggest any circuits that will wow me? I'm not a very creative person. I don't have any ideas really. I'm sort of like the character of Emmett in The Lego Movie.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Many circuits are the same, just tweaked a little based on the application. Then they can be daisy chained to other circuits to make more complex circuits.
    Can you post better details of the lab kits you have? The one I had as a kid let me make an AM transmitter ;)
     
  3. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    RadioShack Electronics Learning Lab Product Summary:
    Electronics made easy.
    Build your own electronic circuits with the Electronics Learning Lab. It has over 200 projects that teach you about transistors, diodes, capacitors, oscillators, electronics circuits and schematic symbols. Plus, it has light-emitting diodes, an LED display and an analog panel meter that gives more visual options when building projects.

    • Easy circuit connectors allow you to test project connections
    • Light-emitting diodes and LED display
    • Switches, push buttons and volume control add more options to projects
    • Analog panel meter show project levels
    • 69 contact springs for easy connections
    • Battery compartment for AA cells and 9-volt battery (batteries not included)
    • Sets of ICs, resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors
    • Speaker and piezoelectric buzzer element and a relay and transformer
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    RadioShack Electronic Sensors Lab:
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Are Circuit Simulator software programs helpful to anyone? I get bored and frustrated by them personally. I'd much rather put the parts on a breadboard myself. I feel a sense of pride and pleasure from doing that. Anybody feel differently?
     
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Well, the point is that if you are reasonably sure of what's going to happen, and it does, then a circuit simulator probably won't help.

    If you're unsure of the former and/or if it doesn't work as expected then a simulator can help show you that (or why) it may be so.

    However circuit simulators can be difficult to use properly (especially where your circuit requires some external signal -- and if you're working with sensors it will) and may actually require more knowledge than is needed to just put the devices on a breadboard and see what happens :)
     
  7. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    The really important thing about these project kits is not just getting a circuit working, but to understand *HOW* it works. Explicitly seeking to discover why this is so in each circuit you construct will have the effect of giving you a far greater understanding of electronics and subsequently allow you to design your own circuits.
     
  8. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    What level of mathematics do I need to know to design my own circuits?

    I read Darren Ashby's "EE 101". Is that sufficient knowledge for me to become a successful electrical engineer?
     
  9. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Is it okay to "just put the devices on a breadboard and see what happens"? Isn't that dangerous? Couldn't I burn up the components and breadboard? Isn't it possible that I might get electrocuted or blow something up (ie. cause an explosion)?
     
  10. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    For basic circuits, I'd say most can be done with basic math. Division, multiplication.

    Also, before you use a part, google it.
    You run the risk of damage typically by connecting a voltage to the wrong pin, or a voltage that is too high to the pin.
     
  11. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    As mentioned above, you may need very little.

    I'm not familiar with that, but "101" really means that it is an introductory text or unit (often one taken in the first semester of the first year of a course).

    And there is a difference between reading it, understanding it, and being able to apply it.

    WHat I'm getting at is that you need to progress from reading/doing to understanding, before you can start to apply your knowledge.
    Again, this has been answered. I would just add that the voltages and currents (in general the power levels) of anything you do on a breadboard should not be dangerous (and that's both an observation and a recommendation).

    Sure, you can damage components, but components are replaceable.

    If you start from a point where you have some understanding you will probably damage less.

    If you can successfully apply your understanding you will damage far less (no, you can never eliminate the risk of error).

    It all comes down to how you learn the best. If blowing things up and breaking things is the way that works for you, then that's fine. If you can gain the understanding without that, and apply it thoughtfully then you're on your way to doing things the way an electrical engineer would approach a task (you don't see them blowing things up until they get it right -- well not usually)
     
  12. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Is there a connection between chess and electronics? Will studying chess help with my development in electronics? Don't they both require logical thinking? Does playing chess stimulate one's electronics design creativity?
     
  13. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    I think chess is probably as good for your electronics understanding as learning to juggle.

    Both develop mental skills, but neither are directly related to electronics.

    I'd probably concentrate on reading explanations for circuits and trying to understand them.
     
    KrisBlueNZ likes this.
  14. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    I like building and playing with circuits. Is there value in taking that route to learning?
     
  15. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    There is value, but what you get out will be determined by what you are willing to put in.

    If you just follow construction instructions without much thought then you will learn very little. If you look at the circuit, read the description (which is hopefully present) and try to understand *how* it works then you will learn a lot more.

    You can't learn by osmosis.
     
  16. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Yes, definitely. Experiment with the circuit to see the effect of changing component values. Ideally you should have some idea of what you're doing, or be prepared to replace the components you damage! Also, Google the circuits and components you're using, and read the information that came with the kit very thoroughly. If there's anything in there you don't understand, Google it and make sure you figure it out. This may take a while; don't rush, and don't put yourself down if you don't understand it all at once. It takes a while to develop an intuitive feeling for how each type of component behaves.
     
  17. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    What are some good, useful, practical circuits to have in my repertoire, my personal cookbook? I'm interested in real-world applications.
     
  18. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    How about using a transistor in common emitter configuration as a switch.
     
  19. Omega Supreme

    Omega Supreme

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    Oct 9, 2014
    Good idea. Now what's the advantage of this electronic switch over a mechanical SPST switch?
     
  20. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Think about it...

    What do you need to turn on a mechanical switch?
     
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