MAKE Presents: The Inductor

The deceptively simple coil proves incredibly useful in the world of electronics – the inductor’s ability to store energy in an electromagnetic field is the key to making transformers, electromagnets, and many more components work. It truly is an awesome device!

I knew little of how inductors worked before starting out on this vid. In fact, none of the circuits I’ve built ever called for them specifically. But after a bit of research, I was honestly amazed to learn how they work. The process of mutual induction even inspired this little action-painting/diagram


As always, feel free to leave a comment with your ideas/experiences/corrections/take on the matter.


16 thoughts on “MAKE Presents: The Inductor

  1. Interesting video. The editing and presentation of these concepts have gotten more professional and interesting. I can’t wait until you get into more challenging concepts, such as core saturation.

  2. How do you figure out how many fewer coils you need on one side of the transformer to drop the voltage a certain amount?

    1. It’s all about ratios. If you have 100 turns on one side, and 10 on the other, it’s a 100:10 (or 10:1) transformer. So if you input 50 volts on the side with 100 turns, you’ll get 5 volts (1/10th) out the side with 10 turns.

  3. Great instructional video! I wasn’t able to find any info about how you guys are licensing it, though (if at all). Can we reuse/remix/etc. this content?

  4. would it be possible to get a air coil video? I have been wondering about how these work for a while now.

    1. An air coil works the same as a coil with a core, except the air core has less inductance than the one with a core. As an example, if you have a cored inductor with 100 turns, and it measures 100 milli henries, another coil with the same number of turns but without a core might be 100 micro henries. The only thing a core does is to give a place for the magnetic field to stay. If the core is “nice” to magnetic energy and can hold a stronger magnetic field, then there is more potential energy that can be stored in it. I like to think of an inductor as a storage device and converter. It converts electrical power into a magnetic field and store it for a while, and can convert a magnetic field into electrical power.

  5. Very nice presentation on inductors, Collin. I like how you break it down so nicely. Trying to get my non-technical friends to watch and learn!

  6. Could you make one video like this about crystal oscillators? It would be cool to see one video like that!


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