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You are currently reading a thread in /diy/ - Do It yourself

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Old thread:
>I'm new to electronics, where do I get started?

There are several good books that are commonly recommended for beginners and those wanting to learn more. There are also plenty of good Youtube channels that teach about the basics as well as advanced concepts. The best way to get involved in electronics is just to make stuff. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Take something apart or build something you find cool on one of the many electronics websites.

>What books are there?


Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest Mims III
Make: Electronics by Charles Platt
How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic by Michael Jay Greier


All New Electronics Self-Teaching Guide by Harry Kybett, Earl Boysen
Practical Electronics for Inventors by Paul Scherz and Simon Monk


The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz

>What Youtube channels are there?


>What websites feature electronics projects? Where can I get ideas for projects?


>Where do I get components and lab equipment from?

And sometimes even just ebay.

>What circuit sim software do you use?

This mostly comes down to personal preference. These are the most common ones though:

NI Multisim
iCircuit for Macs

>What software should I use to print circuits

Circuit Wizard
we couldnt get a new exciting AND electronics related picture
for fuckin shame
Which free circuit sim do you use and what is the #1 reason LTSpice is superior to all else?
>he thinks plebspice is better than multisim blue

Also good job forgetting to put /ohm/ in the title OP
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it needs to be the same for a reason
easily identifiable in the catalog
... we can make it a gif of RGB LEDs running through the colors.
I can't be bothered.
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>I can't be bothered.

the story of my life lol

So, project idea for while I recover from back surgery:
Make a gear indicator for my motorcycle and a shift light similar to F1/other race cars' steering wheels.

I'm going to make the gear number first and as I learn and have more disposable income the shift lights.

I was planning on using an adafruit trinket as the brains. Probably overkill but at least it gives me options to expand in the future.
Just wondering but are you able to add components such as a speaker to a device by drilling extra holes into a pcb and then soldering the parts in?
Someone answered you question in the previous thread.
well you have to solder it to the place on the circuit you want to connect it to. but why dont you just solder it superficially, it is not worth drilling, you might fuck something else up
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I'll do it over the weekend if someone hasn't by then. I never understood why the gear indicators are so coveted. It's either experience(which on my bike I have little) or something I haven't yet faced. at any rate, I's suggest getting a commercial one, but this is /diy/. Any Ideas on what your sensor will be like?
depends ont the board. if it's singe sided, yes, drilling will provide better mechanical adhesion. in any case, it's simpler to scrape a bit of the solder mask where you want to connect your component and solder a wire which you connect to whatever device you wish.
Ah sorry about that. He hadn't quoted me so I didn't see it.
In the event that I fuck something up, I can just solder the connection right? And does solder mask contribute to the electrical connection?
solder mask does not contribute to the electrical connection. it does however protect your copper traces. If you lift a trace, just make sure that the point at which the trace was broken gets re connected. post pictures of the board, where you want to tap into it, and for what purpose.
That's good to hear. I'll get in touch with the manufacturer instead because he chose to connect his two PCBs together with headers and there's a lot of empty space as a result. So I'd like to use that empty space for a speaker
>I never understood why the gear indicators are so coveted.

I dunno, I'm not coveting it. Just seems like a fun semi-simple project to get me into learning how to read signals from sensors among other things.
I don't need a gear indicator save for when I'm in 6th and upshift thinking I'm in 5th. Bike is torquey and tricks me.
I do however need a shift light, especially in 1st and 2nd gear. You can't look at your tach at those rates of accel and shifting by sound gets you close but it's so easy to hit the rev limiter in those first 2 gears. You need that progressive warning like F1 cars have.
>getting a commercial one
not to rain on your parade, but no manufacturer would advice you to modify anything. Putting a speaker in between two boards may also cause them to rattle. whatever you do, drilling is probably not worth it.
Speaking of the project here's what I have so far. Since I'm also beginning to get into this hobby so I have some other beginner stuff on my list as well. Suggestions very welcome.

Adafruit Trinket (5V, There is also a 3.3V model.)


Adjustable Breadboard Power Supply

5V 2A Wall Power Supply

NeoPixel Stick (8 RGB LED's per stick, buying 2 sticks)

7 segment display (blue)

I need to figure out how to read the gear signal voltage output.
What sensor do I use? Can I use a hall sensor to avoid cutting
the wire?
I understand 8-bit that microchips are pretty unintelligent. What's the best thing that they can do?
be very simple, economical, and reliable. You don't always need an i7 processor to turn on a lamp.
They can do almost anything larger processors can do, but more slowly, because they can only manipulate so many bits per cycle. Also they don't have memory management units, but neither do a lot of 16-bit and some 32-bit processors.

>What's the best thing that they can do?
Hard to answer. Help cure cancer probably, keep the industrialized world automated and running smoothly, control the PLCs that keep your water running and sewage sanitized, time injection and sparks for an engine, and generally be the glue that keeps things together.
Would it be able to play music? What does a memory management unit do?
Yes, like "chiptunes", amiga mod files, or streaming raw sample data from flash memory to a dac.

They probably aren't fast enough to decode an mp3 in realtime though.

Memory management unit is what lets PCs run multiple processes at the same time while disallowing them to access each-other's memory space. Not really important for most microcontrollers.
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What are possible downfalls of using circuit b instead of circuit a?

Note the diodes are actually LEDs. (Like i need to tell you guys this, just in case someone gets confused.)
current is not shared evenly across diodes when they are in parallel like in circuit b.
With circuit b, you need to carefully choose diodes that have the same voltage drops for proper current sharing.
LEDs seem to light up when connected in parallel.
I just replaced some capacitors in a monitor powerboard which were causing the backlight to not turn on. It's still not turning on, is it possible I didn't close the circuit properly or something by not having enough solder (does solder even work on the circuit)? Or is it more likely that one of the other capacitors is also blown and needs to be replaced.
>not having enough solder
That's probably not the case. solder is just there to create a connection. Then again you could just add more solder to check.

Chances are the capacitors are shot, or maybe they were not the (only) problem at all!
Try it with LEDs that didn't come in the same bag. Only the one with the lowest voltage drop will light up.
So using circuit b would be okay as long as i use the LEDs from the same bag?

I want to build a usb lamp so it'll probably have lots of led, i thought if i could get away with only one resistor as opposed to 10 (Price is not a problem, i just suck at soldering.)
Alright guess I'll just replace them all. There's 7 possibly blown capacitors and I already did 4 so I'll just replace the other 3.

It isn't a problem with the solder not making a connection since the backlight is still turning on for 1 second before it goes off which I imagine wouldn't happen with an open circuit.
it is literally impossible to do
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Here I've got circuit b built using 5v, a 100 ohm resistor and three 3v 20mA blue LEDs. These all came from the same supplier on the same day. They light up evenly.
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Now look what happens when I add a 2v 30mA red LED in parallel with the blue ones. It lights up, but the blue ones don't. The red LED is sucking up all the current because it has a lower voltage drop. This would not happen in circuit A.

LEDs can have slightly different voltage drops even if they're the same colour, model, and came in the same bag. They can also change over time. Do not use circuit b.
Also the led is sure to be burnt unless the resistor was so high that all the current wouldn't have burnt a single resistor in the first place.
So my samsung monitor started having this problem where the backlight would be on for like a second when you first turn it on then it'd go off.

I ordered some new caps and replaced all the old ones but it's still happening. Does it look like any of the smaller capacitors could be having troubles? Or maybe that big one?

I heard that some have problems with the backlight CFL arcing, how would I check for that?
That's not how it works.
>mfw my entire monitor is thinner than that single capacitor
have you tried using a different monitor on your pc?
maybe it is the vga/dvi cable or the gpu that is causing the problem
the flicker could caused by practically everything responsible for displaying the image on the screen

dont know if you already tried but this is worth a shot
i hope your monitor was already out of warranty and you havent voided it by buying into the "if it doesnt work replace the caps"-gypsy magic
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No. That's not how it works.

With the 2v 30mA red LED in place there isn't any current going through the blue LEDs, so they can be ignored. The voltage drop across the red LED is 5v - 20mA * 100Ω = 2v.

With the 3v 20mA blue LEDs and no red LED it's 5v - 30mA * 100Ω = 3v.

The 100ohm resistor provides the correct voltage drop in both instances.
(I deliberately chose LEDs with different voltage drops but the same power so I wouldn't destroy any for this experiment)
If you sized your resistor expecting to get 60mA divided three ways, 20mA per LED, and then only one LED is lit, how much current is going through it?
You know what shits me about this board? "replace caps" has become a canned response sprouted by idiots with not a fucking clue about diagnosing a piece of equipment.

I hope you did not waste much money.

What you should ACTUALLY be doing is tracing the power supply for the backlight back to its point of origin and working out what controls it, and why it is dropping off after a second. I like to call it "troubleshooting". You should try it some time.
Probably not the place to ask, but is getting a vocational school electrician diploma the best way to start?

I live in southeastern Kentucky, so there aren't many union jobs.

Is this a good field to go into in this day and age? I'm looking for a versatile trade so I'm either diving into this or welding.
Check your math.
If you wanted to power 3 pieces of 3V 20mA LEDs with 5V supply, you would either connect 100ohm to each, or (in an ideal world where there is no thermal runaway) 33ohm to 3 LEDs in parallel.
How do you think I'm on the PC right now? It's definitely just the backlight, if I shine a torch on it I can see the image coming through. I don't know where you're getting flickering from there's no flicker.

It had nothing to do with this board or 4chan, I searched the problem on google and found a bunch of threads about this model having problems with the caps. These caps ARE what controls it.

Jesus if the only responses in this thread are two people who don't know what they're talking about but act like they do I think I might be better off going elsewhere.
>Jesus if the only responses in this thread are two people who don't know what they're talking about but act like they do I think I might be better off going elsewhere.
oh shit
someone call the fire station
>replace caps
Blame this guy:

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What's this shit? Circled in red.
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I took a closer picture, it seems like some sort hardened brown liquid, kind of caramel coloured.
I have three hypothesis:

#1 its some sort of chinese shit. The chinese worker that assembled that board took a shit in his hands because he isn't allowed in the bathroom.

#2 its some sort of poisonous chinese chemistry, glue or some shit

#3 its rosin.
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This is what it looks like when you turn it on or change input. It'll come up as normal for a second then the backlight turns off.
You can't see here but if you shine a torch on it the video is still being displayed on the LCD you just can't see it because no backlight.
> What you should ACTUALLY be doing is tracing the power supply for the backlight back to its point of origin and working out what controls it, and why it is dropping off after a second. I like to call it "troubleshooting". You should try it some time.

Stop asking the same questions over and over when they have already been answered. Find inverter for the backlight, see if its DC supply line is dying, or if it is the inverter itself. Learn to diagnostics. The whole thing is a chain. Work your way backwards till you find the broken link.
No dad you don't understand, like I said before I already checked the cabling and all that jazz. Nothing looks out of place or fried.

The only thing I could see it being now is the mosfets but I don't have a multimeter at hand to test them.
Ahh, well yeah, you'll need a meter to see whats happening to the supply to the inverter etc. Might be time to go grab yourself a cheapie at harbourfreight if you're keen to do some fixin'. Even the cheap and nasty ones are handy to have on hand, and once you have a good idea about your meter, what sucks and what doesn't, you'll be in a better position to buy a better one. It sounds like it may be an overvolt or overcurrent protect circuit kicking in because the backlight and/or its associated circuitry is pulling too much power from what you've said so far, but again, a meter help you see where it is shutting down.

Now go mow my lawn you little bastard, I have asked you three times already, and while you're at it, stay off my damn lawn.
Look at the Inverter board for some wires with pwm disconect them . and the back light should go on. It was the faliure at my Samsung. Now my backlight runs full power. But watching works. Till my Arduino comes with an pwm output to external dimming the shit back light. Or else put some LED stripes behind the display
The wires to the Inverter board should come Form the mainboard oft the TV . there lays often the dimming controller and the pwm signal io burns out or is programmed to fail
Yeah, I also found this guide for troubleshooting 2 seconds to black issues and it has a bunch of other things that have been known to fail and can be tested with a multimeter.

There's also this thread that's specific to my monitor model.

Gonna have to grab a dmm and go over it again.
wouldn't this have been easier (and better presented) with a breadboard?
some of those led's might not be on b/c of that rats nest
>I don't have a multimeter

u wot m8
then go get it. otherwise you're working with a blindfold on
Had one at the old place I lived, just realised that when I moved I didn't bring it with me. No feel like the feel of thinking you have something and not being able to find it as the slow realisation comes upon you that you actually don't have it.
go get one before you go any further
What kind of motor do I need for up and down movement?

Preferably like at a90 degree angle.

At 10 seconds

I think you'd want some sort of a piston for such an application.
It can either be only a push out deal and you fabricate some sort of spring mechanism or just operat everything with the piston.
Also no sex toys.

Look at car central locking mechanisms.
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What do people use to clean off flux from PCBs? Or does it really matter when the it's no-clean flux anyway?
>when it's
I use isopropyl.
I trusted the "Not corrosive!" tag once. It was one time too many.
90%? Also, do you just use a brush & wipe off the excess? I've read about so many different methods I'm not sure what would be best for my purposes (since I'd be working with a large board).
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rip in pieces ;_;7
>what's that smell?
>oh, my project burning

There is something called chemwipes. I saw a neat yet semi tedious video by some instructor for soldering aircraft/aerospace components. The steps are VERY specific for obvious reasons but even if you don't follow it to a T you can pick up some tips.
Got a link to that vid? I don't mind tedium since it goes along with the project I'm doing anyway.
fuggg, I don't know. It was so long ago. I'll check my jewtube history but no guarantees.
why are clock kits so fucking expensive?
inb4 build your own. i'm not that good yet
>clock kits
wtf is a clock kit
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one that has a robotic arm that punches you for dumb questions. ie clocks you.
lol, jk
a clock that keeps time.
looking for a simple 7 segment display that i can put together and put on top of my desk hutch
Not him, but I use isopropanol as well, 100%. I let the PCB soak in it, brush it with a toothbrush and finally rinse it with a small amount of fresh isopropanol. Then I let the PCB dry and save the used isopropanol for the next time, if it isn't too dirty.
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looking for help with this pls
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found the guy that does them. here's his video list, it's somewhere in there. like i said it can be a bit dry and repetitive so just skip ahead with the right arrow key a few times and see where it takes you.

how do i read a variable voltage signal from 0-5 volts? preferably through induction.
hall effect sensors. don't quite remember how to use them though.
Thanks anon, I found those during my search but wasn't sure if they'd work in my situation. I'll have to look into them and get the voltage values.
Thanks bros.
So I have a PCB that uses IN-14 nixie tubes. However I hate the 5 they use and I'd much rather use the IN-8-2 which is relatively of similar price but looks vastly better. The problem is though that the pinout of the two is different. However they use around the same voltage and current which shouldn't make it too difficult. Is making it so that the leads of the IN-8-2 go into the proper hole the only thing I need to ensue?
Are you building some sort of contactless voltage probe? Or are you trying to transmit a signal across an isolation barrier? If it's the latter you can use an isolation amplifier.

Induction is a current/magnetic effect, so you wouldn't be reading a voltage directly, you'd need a current based off that voltage. But getting a current proportional to the voltage is as simple as using a resistor. (Buffer the voltage if necessary.)

If your signal of concern is DC it becomes difficult with DC offset problems, because induction works via a changing magnetic field. If it's AC with a DC offset but you don't care about the DC offset, then it's not a problem.
I have no idea but I'm interested. I'd love to make a nixie clock but they're so fucking expensive.
>Are you building some sort of contactless voltage probe?

I...I think so.
When I'm on my laptop I'll get you the schematics of my motorcycle.
My end goal is to take the variable signal output by the gear position sensor and display it on a 7 segment.
You don't have a good reason to read the signal through induction and that adds a great deal of complexity. A microcontroller's digital or analog input is high impedance. It's designed to sample the signal it's connected to without effecting it.
I didn't want to hack up the wire. Maybe I can tap into the connector?
You can do that right? Sorry if these questions are stupid, still leaning.
I think nixie tubes pretty much just care about strike voltage (has to be high enough, usually around 170v) and operating current (per segment, if it's too high it'll slowly degrade the tube; usually around 2-4 mA for a numeral segment and a lot less for the decimal-point segment). They're not super picky though. If the IN-8-2 is in the same neighborhood as the IN-14 it'll probably work fine with the same driver circuit.
Yeah... maybe you could get two connectors and use them to make a "Y" adaptor that you plug in without hacking up the existing wiring? (pic kind of related, first example of the idea I found)
Good idea, hopefully I can find a connector that fits. It would make my expansion of the project easier. Next stage is to add a shift light like you see in f1 cars.
Oh, wait. I might have misread that. In that example two wires share one port in the connector.
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whats the best soldering kit a guy that never soldered before but wants to start soldering can buy for less than $70??

the kit in pic related is $30 but with shipping to Canada it comes to $70 and thats a lot more than what im willing to spend on a kit that was supposed to be $30
Do not get a kit. Get the bits and pieces separately. Remember, you get what you pay for. For $30 just about every item in that picture would have to be crap even by Chinese standards. We're talking stuff Harbor freight wouldn't even stock.
Anyone have experience with the adafruit trinket?
If you're paying so much for shipping, you must be trying to buy from a seller who has his shipping set up wrong. That kit doesn't look particularly bulky or heavy.

Do like >>760363 said and buy the parts separately.

>soldering iron with interchangeable tips and temperature control
>holder for soldering iron, probably included with the iron
>multimeter and leads for it
>thin solder wire (<0.5mm)
>at least two pliers, one of them needle nosed
> wire cutter, possibly integrated into one of the pliers
>desoldering plunger
>desoldering wick
>helping hand
>>soldering iron with interchangeable tips and temperature control
How much control should you have over the temperature? My soldering iron has 2 temperature settings and 1 off setting.

>>holder for soldering iron, probably included with the iron
Mine came with a holder but it's not as nice as the one in Anon's picture (it's just a piece of metal that's been bent so that it stays still and you can rest the iron on it), should I get one like the one in the picture?

>>desoldering wick
I've got a plunger but no wick, how handy is desoldering wick? When would I need it that the plunger wouldn't help?
It should have a continuous range.
The holder doesn't have to be anything fancy, it just has to be stable. Cheap holders tend to feel like they're going to tip over and send a searing hot iron right into your face, which is bad for your workflow.
Wick is pretty vital. The plunger is pretty limited when it comes to getting solder off small through-holes or component leads, whereas the solder wick can be wedged almost anywhere.
>It should have a continuous range.
So like 30w, 40w, 50w, 60w, 70w, 80w etc? Mine is just 30w or 60w or off.
Irons that depend on you changing the tip have been in my experience outright awfull.
The best holders are the ones that have a small footprint, are stable, and have compartments for the wire mesh as well as the sponge. The holder that comes with the fx888's from hakko is the best. I got one even though I didn't have the soldering iron at the time(found it at a recycling center).
>desoldering wick
refer to:
that motherfucker was right, It's really worth the expense in those situations where the pump isn't working well. It's also less likely you may damage a component with desoldering wick than it is with the pump, as it operates on the surface tension of the solder, therefore 'wicking' all but a thin layer of solder in one go. Not the case with suckers, it often takes me two, or even three times, or I just give up if the solder has permeated through the hole and onto the other side.
Ideally you want temp controlled ones, but a power control one with a knob works too.
Dave's an intelligent guy...he's just a bit of a pretentious moron most of the time and it gets annoying. Wonder if that's just his YT personality or if he's just like a more autistic engineer.
for fuck's sake mate, harbour freight was giving theirs away not too long ago with coupons. I got 6 of them. They're only like $5 and $5 you'll be investing to reduce the cost of error in your future diagnostics.
>tfw no oscilloscope tho
once you go oscilloscope you never go back, but all it takes is a bit more effort, patience and care to get by without. Or. Save up about 400-500 and get yourself a used one in decent condition and stop bitching.
>implying I'm not trying to devise a plan to steal one from my uni
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let me know if you need a driver. get at least two.
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I want to get one of those. Flip-ups a must.

So, should I go for the adafruit trinket or the trinket pro which is more like the arduino?

btw: i'm a noob and have no experience whatsoever
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why not just get an arduino clone or atmel/PIc chip with their respective programmers? the clones would be more useful and less expensive than the adafruit BS.
Another option, and by far my favorite:
Atmel chips with the arduino bootloader burned +
, then I can just leave the micro in whatever project permanently.
>I want to get one of those
As do I. Sadly all I've found have either been auto, beat to shit, rusting, over priced, if not all of the above. Don't forget to grab a sink while you're in there grabbing the oscilloscopes.
ok, i see what you mean.

for my use i need to be able to access it to make changes and adjust it if need be.
(it's going on my motorcycle)
i figured that i need the ability to plug in a usb and program it right on my laptop.
that's how you program all. The only thing that changes is how much you spend to program them. Standalone PICs or Atmels will require the programmers, which can get relatively expensive for a one off type thing. Arduino Burned bootloader + USB-TTL:
although that would require you to build the power source, put in a crystal, and a capacitor every time you want to program it. for $5 you can also probably get a sainsmart or other popular UNO R3 clone that will work just as the real thing and have more GPIO pins than that adafruit scam.
thanks anon, i have more homework to do
found the video. This is the antitesis to Dave johnes:
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awesome vid, watching it now
already learned something
>that gif
muh dik
yeah, i like this guy. im going through more of his videos
the cpu cooled 100watt led array is sweet
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when it comes to getting components from ebay how likely is it that i get a dud?
i figure you are saving money because of substandard components and less quality control.
what's /diy/'s experience?
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i should probably also say that i'm looking for a FTDI Serial TTL-232 USB Cable

No way do i want to spend $20 on something to comunicate with a cheap mintduino kit i made and that i wont be out too much money if i'm too dumb to get things working.

>yes, this is a real engine with oval pistons and dual conrods per piston. made and raced by honda
What's a good hands on way to learn how inductors/ capacitors affect a circuit?

I learned in my EE circuit analysis class how to analyze an inductor or capacitor, but I don't really understand why you would use them or what they are for.
a breadboard and some components
or get easy to assemble kits and see how they go together and what they do etc
ask questions here as they arise
im kind of in the same boat. i want to know why stuff is used not just how the individual components work.
all it really is is a very complex set of legos that allow you to build things greater than the sum of their parts
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do any of you guys design circuits or assist in projects for a fee?
i'd pay someone hourly for assistance through pay pal.
just want to avoid headaches and have someone to learn from and be able to ask questions to about something specific to me.
I'm wondering if it would be easier to use a rasbery pi as a beginner. It has more power so you can get away with sloppier, less efficient coding(i think), more flexible and easier to learn to code it than the arduino sketches and those program skills can be used in other ways, you're not just limited to one device.
May I recommend some books:
The Circuit Designer's Companion, Third Edition - Peter Wilson
The Art of Electronics, 2nd Ed.

Both go into the where and why of caps/inductors.
The wiki pages for both have an decent sections that explain what they are used for.
Too many to list in a single post but here are is a short, incomplete list:

Inductors - used in electromagnetic interference filtering, RF filters, and very importantly: switching power supplies. They are what make transformers behave the way they do.

Capacitors - used everywhere and far more often than inductors - power supply decoupling, energy storage, filters, timing / oscillators, etc.

Analyzing a switching DC-DC boost converter would be a very good exercise that gives you an intuitive feel of why it uses an inductor and capacitor.
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thanks m8, i'll check them out and see what that boost converter can teach me
Here are my thoughts.

Getting away with sloppy coding is not a good reason to pick one device over another - also for beginner tier stuff like handling buttons and leds, sloppy code doesn't really make a difference in speed.

Rasp pi and arduino have very different purposes and capabilities besides some overlap with general purpose i/o.

Arduino code is just C with the sharp edges hidden and a library of functions that make microcontroller programming a little more approachable.

Might as well go with the rasp pi.
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hmm, ok
would you happen to have a link of pros and cons of each. kind of in a head vs head comparo?

thanks for your info thus far
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i wonder if it'd be easier/more flexible/ scale-able for my motorcycle project
did some digging and found this. what do you think?
RPi is a full fledged computer with specs you'd get on a desktop in the late 90s. You've got a linux OS sitting under your program, so you've got to wait several seconds for that to boot up every time you turn it on, write a script to launch your program on startup, install drivers and libraries, etc. The OS gives you a file system, TCP/IP stack, GUI, multithreading, USB host drivers, and a lot of other features that aren't needed for a lot of projects.

Arduino is a microcontroller development board. A microcontroller is an extremely simple computer on a chip. The only thing on it is the program you wrote. This makes things much simpler until you get to the point where you need some OS features.
They are as different as different gets.

Rasp pi is a computer on a single board. Linux is the most popular OS for them. The broadcom chip is a 32 bit ARM cpu with hundreds of megs of ram stacked on top, it has a 3d graphics processor, it runs at 700MHz, has a flash card reader, has hdmi, USB, ethernet, GPIO, etc. It uses a watt or two of power.

The arduino is a development board with a microcontroller on it.
The arduino uno, to pick one model, uses an atmel avr atmega328p. No operating system. It runs at 16MHz if I remember right, has about 2 kilobytes of ram, and 32 KB flash for program storage. It sips power, using milliwatts. Simple, reliable.

Donno about pros and cons. Just depends on what you want to do. If you want a media center, or an internet/lan connected webserver that controls a few gadgets, use a single board computer.

If you want to keep time, control actuators, read sensor data, display values on an LCD or segmented LED display, use a microcontroller.

>did some digging and found this. what do you think?

I think it makes some good points.

What you need either for really depends on what your goal is. Tons of projects don't need the full computing power of a raspberry pi. Nor do they need java, linux, python, whatever.
thanks, that helps a great deal
now i just need to decide if the uno is for me
honestly i don't think i'll use sheilds tho, seem way too much money and take up too much space. eventually this needs to fit under the seat on my motorcycle
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im thinking uno since im a beginner, i can shrink down later once i get gud

thanks again anons, you've all been a big help
Unless they ship to Australia or have shops in Australia it's not really relevant to me.
Butt connectors I see on ebay only go as thin as 22AWG. Would they work well on thinner wires, like 24-28 AWG? Is there another preferred method for splicing such thin wires?
solder them and use heat shrink over the joint
is $25 a good deal for this?
im looking for a good starter pack to get me going with my arduino
He's the same on Twitter and on The Amp Hour. However the most annoying thing are his fanboys who hang on to his every word like it's fucking gospel.
FTDI chips and cables are risky, there's a lot of counterfeits. A lot of people were bitten when FTDI released the driver that bricked counterfeits. On the other hand, the counterfeits usually work, they're just not real FTDI parts. Prolific and Silabs USB-to-serial chips are also cloned a lot.
Yea they both can take the same voltages as input and use similar values for current for digits and decimal. Only problem is their pinouts.
I'm not an expert on this sort of thing but here's diagrams for them. http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/nixies.html
Supposedly it's difficult to but I never used these so I wouldn't know.
I'd like to make a headphone mixer.
Two audio sources, and a single dial to balance them.
Is this as simple as throwing together a few resistors and a pot? What can I do to avoid frying the sources or interfering with them?
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what do you mean by this? mixer usually refers to a device which multiplies signals. do you want to add signals together?
a multiplier is not really simply, but an adder is

you can use an opamp to great success

or you can use a transistor, but it'd be more difficult
<pic related. I just pulled a circuit out of my ass to add 4900hz and 330hz

you could do it just by adding a series resistor in series (something like 50k) and splice the wires, but this signal will not be able to deliver any power whatsoever. in fact it is the same thing i have done in the transistor circuit, but i also add a buffer so that the signal will not completely go to shit.
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for varying levels of mixing you will do this:
such high value resistors are only necessary if you do not want to load where the signal is coming from, if the source is not something sensitive, you could very well do with 1/10 these values
I buy all my FTDI cables from digikey, not once have I been disappointed.
We specifiy ftdi rs232 cables for our customers and the 18-20$ or whatever is far cheaper than the time and support calls wasted from having them buy any random piece of shit usb-rs232 cable from the local electronics store. Half the time the drivers don't work because it's counterfeit or just some cheap unsupported chinese junk.
Dumb question but how does something get bricked? And can you un-brick things? It doesn't make sense to me that software can kill a device like that.
okay than, i am looking for a SPST timed relay, NC. I want it to cut out after 20 minutes. I am making a timed seal in circuit for a 12 volt motor. Might need to be able to do 20 amps. I use two relays, one for the circuit and another that opens the circuit after 20 minutes.
In this particular case, the FTDI driver reprogrammed the counterfeits' USB PID so they were no longer recognized by the driver. Other people then figured out how to reprogram the chips again to restore the PID.

Chips are usually designed so you can't permanently disable them in software, so it's rare. The exception is that some chips have one-time programmable portions as a security feature, and if you program them with crap then that's that. I think Microchip managed to design in a bug i one of the PIC32s that could cause it to get stuck in an eternal reset loop, and the chip would reset so quickly that an external debugger couldn't connect. They also had an issue where if you used the PicKit3 as a stand-alone programmer without first uploading a firmware image it was said to brick some chips, but I don't know how permanently.

In this context "bricking" usually just means it's difficult to fix. Eg. if you program in the wrong fuse settings into an AVR you will need a high-voltage programmer to restore it, and most people don't have one. However mostly when people talk about bricking stuff they've uploaded a faulty firmware image to a commercial device. If you don't have access to a valid firmware image or can't access the programming pins then in a sense the device is broken. Also not quite the same but in some cases you can also physically destroy a chip by misconfiguring the I/O, eg. reconfiguring a high-impedance input to an output that's driven to zero.
>physically destroy a chip by misconfiguring the I/O
Wow, didn't know that was possible.
And thanks for your thorough response, I finally get it.
Would a mechanical time delay switch work?

Do you have wall power? A bathroom fan timer is push-button simple and works out of the box. You would then use a 120VAC relay to control your circuit.

If you don't mind making a circuit you can do it with a 555 timer.
Or an 6 or 8 pin microcontroller to measure 20 minutes of time then shut off the relay signal. This is a pretty big project if don't already into electronics though.

If you google timing relay there is lots of din-mounted automation equipment. Unfortunately fairly expensive.
Capacitors stores electric energy in an electric field and inductors store energy in a magnetic field
So it's basically this:
In DC:
Capacitors work as short circuits
Inductors work as conductors
In AC:
In alternate current, these components develop an opposing resistance called reactance that affects the AC signal that passes through them and depends on the frequency of that signal.

But this applies to ideal inductors/capacitors, for example, an ideal capacitor charges/discharges immediately while a real capacitor takes a certain amount of time to charge/discharge depending on it's capacitance and their load which makes them ideal for time-based circuits (555, linear sweeps, etc) or rectifying circuits.
I'm sort of a noob at this;

What exactly is needed to program (or learn how to program) microcontrollers?

A friend of mine said that knowing how to do so is a pretty valuable skill, so I'd like to mess around with it and see what I can do and figure out
anything? usually C is good
C, if you dont know, is identical to C# C++ Java. It is also almost identical to every other language except for the type of braces they use.
If the tasks requires you to write very precise and efficient code, youd need to use assembly language but this is usually not important.
> What is needed to overwrite µC memory with a program, aka flash program

To load the program to µC memory, you need one of:
- stand-alone programmer - a device that will write the memory of the microcontroller. This is usually expensive.
- additional, dedicated program on the microcontroller itself, usually under the name of ISP (in-system programming) or bootloader.

Most µC have some mechanism for self-programming (the second option).
This includes modern AVR (i.e. atmega, the ones used in arduino), msp430 (cheap&nice 16bit µC), most ARM Cortex-M series (eg. stm32 family from ST, lpc family from NXP).

In such case you need little, your PC must have either UART or SPI (or even USB).
Since UART, being roughly RS232, the PC COM standard, but using different voltege levels, is absent in modern PC's and since SPI is absent at all (unless you have eg. raspberry pi), you need to buy a converter.

From what I know:
ATmegas with USB (e.g. atmega32u4) can be programmed with USB
msp430 have extremely cheap dev boards with USB interface for programming
ATMegas without USB require SPI + reset line, cheap programmers are available; however, it is possible to flash them with uart bootloaders
LPC and STM32 require just UART, so either you got COM port and voltage level shifter, or you need a $2 usb-uart converter

I know nothing about PIC µC, but these are easy to program as well.

> What is needed to write program code and compile

You need to learn C / C++
You need to read the manual of the chip
You need to download the right set of tools for compilation, i.e. toolchaing. Freely available for all µCs.

Other than C / C++?
shitty bascom is an option for avr's
slow as hell C# .NET microframework is available for instance on Netduino (but do not think it's .NET framework. it's noteven close)
strange ideas to use java on strong ARMs in order to make them weak ARMs, see stm32java.com
An Arduino kit is in fact a good place to start. You get the board, some basic components to connect to it and labs to do. Once you've got the hang of that the world is your oyster.
What could possibly go wrong if I hook up a TV flyback to a driver supplying 42V DC at 5 amps max? External primary loop of course, I don't want to fuck up the primary inside.

Until now I just used 16 volts at 2 amps max with pretty lame results.
dc? transformer?

>hook up a TV flyback to a driver
Obviously I meant a square wave with a frequency of several kilohertz, optimized duty cycle and 42 V peak.

Pulsating current would be the correct term.

It would short out
Beginner here. I had a go this afternoon trying to build a really basic synth using some parts I had gotten from family. I tried following this guide http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Square-Wave-Oscillator-Part-1-of-DIY-Mod/ but found it difficult to follow with his schematics and pictures.

I have a $50 Jaycar (Radioshack equivalent) voucher as well as some basic parts (wires, breadboard etc) to use. I also have a bootleg Arduino Mega and 2 Potentiometers, if that helps.
I'm looking for a basic guide to get me started; I've had a look at the listing on instructables, but there are alot to choose from and I don't know what's really beginner friendly.
Spending more money on parts won't make you any better at reading schematics and assembling circuits. Tell us where the instructable confused you so we can offer help.
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Sure, fair enough. I do need to pick up a couple more parts anyway as the potentiometers I'm using are old and may or may not work, I don't know.

Anyway, the bit where he has a circuit diagram and then a photo of his breadboard. I tried putting it together by sight based on the breadboard, but I couldn't tell what he was doing so well. Then when I looked at his schematic, I was a bit confused, mainly on how the power is input as well as what the ground symbols actually mean when you are building a circuit based on a diagram. Last thing I had trouble with is where the 4.5a and -4.5a nodes went to. I guessed that they connected to the opamp, but I wasn't too sure how. Also, I do need to pick up an opamp, I tried to get away without one when I was building it earlier, but I guess it's better to follow the book for now.
There's a wire connecting all the ground points together, it's just not shown in the schematic. The same goes for the -4.5v and +4.5v. Schematics will often just label points instead of drawing a wire. Two points with the same name/symbol connect together.
Cool, thank you. Ill give it another go tomorrow with what I have then hook up any parts I need when I get them.
>the potentiometers I'm using are old and may or may not work
Pots are a pretty durable component. They're not going to degrade after sitting in a box for a few decades. Even throwing them against a wall or dunking them in water is very unlikely to cause damage. You can test with a multimeter. A low end one goes for about $20 USD, which is a good investment if you're at all interested in an electronics hobby.
Zener question:
What is the difference between connecting
7V zener in reverse
10 pieces of 0.7V diode forward
This somehow sounds like a homework question, but whatever.
Obviously the zener will act as a diode in the other direction, while the diodes form a bad high voltage avalanche diode in the reverse direction.
Also, the dynamic resistance of the diodes is much higher, that is, they're worse regulators and shitty clamps.

That said, some "low voltage zeners" (below 3V) are actually series connected diodes.
Some people just like to make everything as complicated as it can get...
Why not NE555 + some flip-flop for 50% fill (if the latter is needed)?
going to get the uno now all i need is a bunch of components for a reasonable price so i can learn
anyone know of a convenient kit for beginners?
i really don't want to chase down individual parts
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