I have decided to start delving into electronics. What should I be looking for? Tools, maybe a beginners kit?
At a minimum
- soldering iron
- helping hands
- flush/wire cutters
- wire strippers
- Jumper wires (male-male, male-female, female-female)
These are the tools I would use 90% of the time no matter what I am doing. Along with this you will need toys to play with such as sensors, development kits etc. If you are starting out then you cant go past Arduino.
I would also recommend a cheap ATX computer supply and a breakout like this one.
Do you have a specific project in mind? It sometimes helps if you have an end goal to work towards. I started with the Short Circuits series of kits from Jaycar Electronics. They gradually introduce you to the fundamentals of electricity and electronics and then ease you into practical skills like soldering and case modding. Some of the projects are pretty cool and they always have a detailed explanation of how each circuit works. There are 3 books in the series - book 1 comes with everything you need in a single kit, while from book 2 onwards you have to buy the kits for each project individually.
Thanks, I picked up Book 1 and the kit, and this looks exactly like a great place to start
I have been working my way through the projects in this kit, I have to say, its not great. So far, projects have required components that are not in the kit, and the descriptions are not great and confusing, and there is little or no direction on what to look at when your project has power applied and doesn’t work, or only partially works.
Which project are you working on and which components are missing? Doesn’t sound like my experience, so hopefully we can work it out. If anything, I found they went into too much detail explaining some of the circuits and it went way over my head at first!
Still, let me know what you’re working on and maybe take a photo of the circuit. I’ll have a look at my kit when I’m home and we’ll see if we can’t troubleshoot it together.
Thanks, 7a atm, leds flashing like a railway crossing. But I just told my niece I would go kick a ball with her, so I’m just putting it away for a while, then I’ll look at it again. One LED lights up and thats it…
and so far, project 3, 200mm tinned copper wire, project 6, 6V torch globe , not in the kit, but in the parts required for these projects
You should start your fault finding by checking the polarity of your components. It is very important that your LEDs, capacitors and transistors are the right way around because any error will have an impact on the circuit. You can put resistors in any which way and they will still work the same way. Here are some images to help you identify the correct polarity for your components:
Double check you’ve got the transistors in the correct way as well by comparing them to the diagram. Are they actually NPN transistors? They should be labelled BC548. The kit also includes PNP transistors which will not work.
I’ve recreated the circuit for you here in this online simulator so that you can better see how the oscillator works. I find it useful to help visualise what’s happening in the circuit. I’ve found that removing either of the transistors, capacitors or the 47k resistors will cause only one of the LEDs to light, so it could be a problem with how you’ve installed one of those components. Double check and triple check your work and I’m sure you’ll find the answer soon enough. If you’re still having trouble, try attaching a photo of your circuit and someone might be able to identify the problem.
As for the missing parts, you should definitely bring it to the attention of the store your bought from. The online description of the kit clearly says that “all” components are supplied, so I’m sure they’ll fix you up.
Edit: Looks like my link to the circuit simulator didn’t work. You can see a YouTube clip of a similar circuit here