If you would like to learn how to tinker with electronic devices, the best place to start is by building your own. Once you design a few simple projects, you will create the basis for more complex configurations down the road. We’ve put together a progressive starter’s guide of simple projects that can help you become acquainted with electronics and what it takes to create a reactive electronic circuit. In no time, you’ll be designing and building whatever you can imagine.
1. Make a Stripboard Circuit
If you solder designated components together, you can piece together a stripboard circuit. A stripboard circuit eliminates the need for creating a printed circuit board as a base for an electronic device. Like all electronic projects, you begin by gathering all the parts and a drawing a diagram as a guide for the circuit.
Since a stripboard is nothing more than a circuit board with holes, it’s useful to create almost any type of circuit on the board. You merely need to connect all the designated components you need with the proper wiring. The most significant challenge to building a stripboard circuit or a full-blown printed circuit board is knowing exactly where to put the wires. This may require some additional research or knowledge of all the stripboard parts.
2. An FM Transmitter
This may be one of the easiest yet most enjoyable devices you can make. A frequency modulator — FM — transmitter allows you to send and receive transmission via an audio source such as a microphone. When an audio source like an mp3 player or an iPhone is connected to a transmitter, it broadcasts through the transmitter and creates a sound or frequency. The frequency is then picked up by a source such as headphones or a stereo.
3. A Rain Alarm
A rain alarm is simple to make and can be a useful tool. The operation is easy. The device is valuable for those who are putting out clothes to dry or want to know when it’s raining so they can ensure their plants are getting enough water. The circuit sounds an alert when it comes into contact with rain. Since water is a natural electrical conductor, it triggers a circuit when it touches a sensor or a rod. You can create the circuit on a printed circuit board and enclose everything by the sensor in an outdoor weatherproof box.
4. Flashing Lamps
You may use a flashing lamp as a signal or an alarm in a wide range of scenarios. A flashing lamp works by increasing the intensity of the signal, thus making the lamp light brighter as the signal intensifies. To make it flash, the signal has to increase and decrease at intervals. If you add a resistor to the unit, you can control how much and how often the lamp flashes. You can try different resistors to make the electronic device as dim or as bright as you want it.
5. DC Lighting Circuit
If you like flashing lamps, then a primary DC lighting circuit should prove to be quite quick and straightforward to build. In a DC lighting circuit, you’ll use a direct current supply to power an LED light. The LED light contains an anode and a cathode that act as terminals. The anode has a positive charge, and the cathode has a negative charge. Together, these create a circuit. What stops the circuit is a switch that is connected to the DC power source. When the switch is turned on, the circuit reaches the light bulb and ignites it.
A standard temperature monitor works like this: A 9-volt battery produces nine volts of a charge into the device. When the voltage reduces to less than nine volts an LED bulb lights up to indicate that the voltage is lower than where it was set. You can also use this same set up for 12-volt batteries. A standard temperature monitor can be used as a burglar alarm.
When the battery voltage maintains a charge of nine volts, the base-emitter terminals will remain constant. With enough voltage, the transistor and LED light will receive no power. When the batter falls below nine volts due to regular use, the transistor voltage is reduced while the emitter voltage stays the same. The unbalance in the circuit is what causes the base terminal of the transistor to turn on. The circuit then discharges through a capacitor and on to the LED light.
7. Touch Sensor Circuit
It’s all in the name. The touch sensor circuit activates when someone touches a sensor, thus activating a circuit. The model has to be created so that the circuit is generated upon touch. There are mainly three components that cause this action: a resistor, a transistor and a light emitting diode (LED). The resistor controls the current while the transistor and the LED light form the connections at two exposed ends. One connection is positive, and the other establishes the base terminal at the transistor. All you have to do is create the connection by touching both exposed ends with your finger, and the LED will illuminate.
8. A No-See Burglar Alarm
This simple device acts on an infrared ray that is triggered by movement. The circuit includes a phototransistor and an infrared ray LED. When there is no obstacle to block the infrared ray, the alarm remains silent. If the infrared ray is interrupted, however, it will trigger the circuit that ends with a loud buzzer sound. All components and circuits in the burglar alarm are easy to put together. The entire unit can be assembled in 1 meter or less, which is why burglar alarms can afford to be compact.
Like many of the other inventions on this list, the light sensitivity metronome requires a primary circuit and only a few components to operate. A metronome is a device that produces a steady pulse, beat, click or other sound at even intervals. The key is to keep the beat going at the exact same intervals indefinitely.
Creating it starts by using two kinds of transistors that can create frequency circuit. They establish the pulse or the beat. Once you establish the circuit, you need a loudspeaker that can produce the sound. The loudspeaker connects to the circuit.
Time to Get Creative with Your Electronic Projects
Now that you have some ideas, you can start creating your own projects. These beginner projects have given you the basis to understand how electrical signals work within components to create different types of actions. Now that you’ve mastered these concepts, you can begin building more complex electronic devices that use smaller components (even tiny devices that can fit inside a key fob case). Share your ideas for beginner electronic projects below!