Electronics can certainly look intimidating for people who haven’t had the opportunity to play around with hardware before. But fear not: luckily for us, there’s a whole chunk of the electronics business targeted at hobbyists and people who just want to have some fun with little inventions that blink, buzz or automate something in their homes.
In very basic terms, electricity is the flow of electrons.
Electrons will always try to “run” towards the path with least resistance,
just like water does.
Every thing, every object, and even living beings, they all have different levels of conductivity and resistance. When you stand shoeless on the floor, you are creating a path to the ground (GND) in which electricity could potentially flow.
A circuit is basically a path in which electricity can flow. Circuits require a power source and something to conduct the electric current. Components are connected to the circuit to harvest the electric current and do things, such as light up, buzz, collect information about the environment...
Components are the building blocks of electronics.
LEDs, resitors, diodes, buttons, capacitors…
Once you get the hang of a few components, you’ll see that things follow a certain pattern and you will be able to use pretty much any component, given it’s well documented.
In the main breadboard area, the trails are horizontally disposed in numbered rows, each containing a number of perforations identified by letters. A current applied to A1 will flow through B1, C1, D1 and E1.
The sides of the breadboard usually have two vertical trails each, representing positive (current) and negative (GND). It is a common practice to use these rails to distribute power and GND to the whole board.
Soldering is important if you want to build electronics kits, crate prototypes, or just be able to fix electronics stuff.
- Don't be afraid of the soldering iron, but be very careful as it can get really hot.
- Use a bit of solder to "test" the iron. When it melts, it's hot enought to get started. Leave a tiny bit of solder at the tip of the iron, this will help.
- Heat the surface of the hole where you're going to apply the solder for a few seconds.
- Touch the tip of the iron with the tip of the solder. The solder will "run" and fill the area surrounding the hole.
- The finished work should resemble a little "volcano".
- You can now cut the remaining of the lead / wire.
ProTip: when it comes to how much solder to use, less is more! Use just enough to fuse the lead / wire into the hole. Using too much solder will create blobs that either don't adhere well to the board or just interfere with other components that are placed nearby.