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This weekend, learn how to put your projects on a breadboard! Start off by going to the Sparkfun site and go through their tutorial about getting power set up on your board. – Link

Then get out Make: Volume 10 (Note: I mistakenly called it volume 11 in the podcast, but it’s Volume 10) and look up the article on 555 timers by Charles Platt. We’re going to make a timer that you can use when playing chess to know when your partner’s turn is up! I’ll also put this article in the pdf that goes along with this video. – Subscribe Link

32 thoughts on “Intro to Breadboard Electronics – Make: Video Podcast

  1. So let’s say I have the basic tools and want am wanting to drop, oh, let’s say $50-$100 on bits and pieces to play around with and actually teach myself enough electronics to be vaguely useful. What should my shopping list look like?

    Is there anybody out there selling assortments of capacitors, transistors and so forth the way there is for resistors and LEDs?

  2. Resistor assortments are the most common, and you can find them at Radioshack or Jameco: http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&categoryId=201010
    Electric Goldmine also has a bunch of assortments: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/departments.asp?dept=1409

    Be careful when you are buying capacitor assortments, though, especially at Radioshack. They often contain values that are rarely used, and now I have a bunch of odd value ceramic capacitors sitting around.

    Kyle

  3. ::maybe yelling will help::

    TURN OFF THE GODDAMN AUTOPLAY, PLEASE!

    It really makes me want to skip my daily visit to the site.

  4. @Austringer

    I would not recommend to spend money on capacitor assortments or similar. Of course they are great if you you do a lot of electronics, on a regular basis. They are probably not so great if you just want to get started. Most of it will just collect dust. Often when doing a project you’ll find that you “never” find the right value and type of a component in such an assortment.

    I have a shocking suggestion instead :-) Spend $20 or so of your budget on a … book. Then spend the rest on the components used for the experiments in the book.

    Which book? Well, you have to have a look at a few. Particular to find the one which has the right mixture of theory and experiments for you. As an Electrical/Electronics Engineer I can vouch that one can learn electronics without touching any components first, but just learning theory and calculating your arse off… I guess that’s not what you want :-)

  5. I would only use Radio Shack if you need something quick. Jameco has MUCH MUCH better pricing. Here is an example;

    470 ohm, 1/4 watt, 5% resistor
    Radio shack 5 pack – $0.99
    Not too bad right? buck for 5, until you go to Jameco
    Jameco 100 pack – $1.09
    That’s right kids, basically same price except Jameco throws in another 95 resistors for a dime more! Granted you have to take shipping into account, but for any decent order Jameco is the way to go!

  6. Thanks for the advice Smithe-Wells but, to the best of my understanding, even perfect knowledge of capacitor charge rates will not cycle a 555. I’ve always got more out of lab classes anyway.

  7. A comment (although I should take a little time and actually put together something, I just don’t have the time at the moment): I have fooled around with the LM555 IC for many years, but I favor the LM3909 LED flasher for a number of reasons. For an IC, the 555 is a bit of a power hog in comparison (using between 3-15 mA and sinking or sourcing up 10 200 mA).
    One of the advantages of the LM3909 is the low power usage: 1 – 5 v input with a low current drain of about .5 mA which, if you choose to use a battery, comes in really handy for extending the life of it.
    If no one has submitted anything using this IC within a few weeks, I may have time then to show the magic that can be done with it.

  8. Whoa, sorry about that, just shows how long I’ve been out of the loop.
    I still have a supply of 3909’s (about 3 ) at home, but if they are not easy to get, then I retract some of my last post’s claims.

    I would recommend using the LCM7555 CMOS timer, & although not as easy to use, it does lower the need for excessive power, if a batter must be used for a project.

  9. I will make one last apology, and back off from monopolizing the comment board: I just realized I was getting a bit carried away and that this is an “introduction to breadboarding” podcast and not a “let’s upgrade a circuit to make it more efficient” site. My apologies for my apparent onset into senility. :(

  10. I’m demonstrating my lack of electronics 101 knowledge here…but could anyone comment on whether polarized capacitors will make a difference in this project?

    I bought all my components from allelectronics.com, and the smaller capacitors are non polarized ceramic…but the larger ones (2.2uf, .47uf, 4.7uf) are all (I think) radial polarized ones.

    The schematic in the pdf shows a non polarized capacitor in the larger sizes…and the breadboard picture shows these funky square ones. Is there a particular type I need to buy (ceramic vs. some other material)…any recommendations on where?

    Thanks!
    aaron b

  11. please help!! iv’e built figure 2, or the first thing he built in the vid ( the flashing led ) and it doesent work, it only flashes once and then stops, i replaced 120 ohm with 100, and replaced 600 ohm with 560 cuz they dident have the exact ones, is that why, becuase of the small diffrence? becuase i thought that the 5% tolerance would allow it… please e-mail me, or pm me

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