Explore Electronics Basics and More in Collin’s Lab

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3992 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3992 Articles

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Several weeks ago, I posted a piece about the Make: Presents video series that we did in 2010 with Collin Cunningham. In addition to those videos introducing electronics basics and tools, Collin also produced an equally excellent series called Collin’s Lab.

These “Lab” videos gave Collin an opportunity to experiment with and explore aspects of electronics that he was curious about, and to do it in the same approachable, charming, and vastly educational style and the Presents series. I decided to go back through the entire collection, clean them up for today’s web, and re-present them here so that current Make: readers can make sure to see them. If you’re at all interested in beginner-to-intermediate electronics, they are well worth your time.

Collin’s Lab: Electronics Tools

In this video, In this video, Collin runs through basic and indispensable electronics tools to help get newcomers to the hobby properly geared up.

Collin’s Lab: Schematics

Schematics are the functional diagrams of electronic circuits. Understanding how to read them can unlock a world of possibilities for the electronics enthusiast. In this episode of Collin’s Lab, he runs through the basic ideas and symbols behind these drawings.

Collin’s Lab: The REAL Breadboard

Ever wonder why they call it an electronics “breadboard?” Way back in the day, folks had to be pretty resourceful in pursuit of their electronics hobby. So power down your soldering iron now and go grab a hammer, it’s time we try building on a real breadboard.

Collin’s Lab: Switches

Elemental to electronics hardware components, manually-operated switches are the simplest of electromechanical devices, and likely the most familiar. Let’s take a look at this lowly, but essential power management component.

Collin’s Lab: USB Hacking with Arduino

USB devices are so common nowadays, wouldn’t it be nice to use one with your homebrew electronics projects? Collin wanted to use his compact USB-MIDI keyboard with his homebrew synth circuits, so in this Lab, he sets about figuring how to do just that.

Collin’s Lab: DIY Cymatics

In this video on “cymatics,” Collin explores the amazing effects that sound has on liquids and some downright bizarre effects that can be observed in non-Newtonian fluids.

h3>Circuit Skills: PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)

As part of Collin’s Lab, we did a series of sponsored videos with Jameco, called Circuit Skills. In this installment, Collin explains Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), a simple method for controlling analog devices via a digital signal. PWM is also a very efficient way to drive motors, lamps, LEDs, and more.

There are many more where these came from. You can see all of the Collin’s Lab (and Circuit Skills) videos here. And don’t forget to check out the full Make: Presents series, too.