29 Nov 2014

Electronic Serendipity

Let me start of by telling you how my weird obsession with electronics all started off. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, nothing happened. But simultaneously, in a parallel universe, my house had its doorbell jammed, which was just a matter of scaevity and will of God, I presumed, but my curiosity failed to accept this, it took full control of my body and it got me dismantling it and getting to the bottom of this. I spent that day experimenting with that sad piece of electronics but at the end of the day, I was still nequient about the productivity of the day just when there was a spark. The spark was both in the doorbell and in me. The one in the doorbell caused a burst of excitement and adrenaline for that moment but the spark in me got me working on many many more projects in the future, of course with a bit more success than that doorbell.

That was somewhat how I started working on my projects but before I blew up the next thing in my house, I did read a lot about this field of science and engineering.

I'd like to pass on a condensed version of what I think is required for you to know before you break open or blow up stuff, and finally build something that people will go "Ooooh!" about.

The first thing I'd like to put out for you is      

The difference between  electrical devices and  electronic devices.

Well, the question seems simple until you try to answer it yourselves and when you ponder over those two word-electrical and electronic, the difference seems inexplicably hard to describe in words. Let me save you the effort of doing that and give you the answer. The answer theoretically lies in how devices manipulate electricity to do their work. Electrical devices take the energy of electric current and transform it in simple ways into some other direct form of energy ( most likely light, heat, or motion). The motor in your washing machine, which swirls around your clothes once you get them dirty converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. The heating elements in an iron box turn electrical energy into heat so you can press your clothes once they're done drying.

In contrast, electronic devices do much more. Instead of just converting electrical energy into heat, light, or motion, electronic devices are designed to manipulate the electrical current itself to coax it into doing interesting and useful things.

One of the most common things that electronic devices do is manipulate electric current in a way that adds meaningful information to the current.

What used to be simple electrical devices now often include some electronic components in them. For example, your washing machine may contain auto detergent release mechanism based on time intervals that attempts to keep the clothes clean with the perfect amount of detergent. But yet again, things which may seem complex, for example your mobile phone, has simple electrical units like batteries in them too. This is the primary reason that the distinction between electric and electronic devices is a bit blurry.

Now it may be easier for you to comprehend what we're talking about when the two terms we talked about are mentioned ahead in time. Though for this section, we mainly deal with electronics and electronic devices.

"Other kids went out and beat each other up or played baseball, and I built electronics."

were the exact words of Robert Moog, an American inventor famous for his Moog Synthesizer. The significance of the mention of this quote is not to inspire you to give up sports, or anything for that matter, but rather to give you a bit of an inspiration to explore and admire the implementation of electronics and technology in various fields right from robot boxing to exploring Mars. The scientific amalgamation that has ameliorated situations in history.
 Electronics is everywhere around you, which is precisely why it is required to innovate and invent keeping up with the technological expectations of mankind for which you don't have to be a factotum nor have hypermnesia but just be quite who you are.
The first thing i suggest you do is have an insight on electronics with a bit of "What?" and "How?" after which you can work on your first project to give you the motivation and satisfaction helping you climb up the ladder of success. One more important thing is that, I think you should have an aberrant thought process which will greatly help you in this field of learning.

I suggest you watch this video to get a basic ideas in few concepts you'll need for your projects.

You can also check out this link for more on the same topic.

The next step to build your first project would be to get the required materials you need.
Here's a checklist you may use.
1) 1K ohm - 1/4 Watt resistor
2) 5mm red LED
3) SPST toggle switch
4) 9V battery connector
5) Breadboard

NOTE: To purchase the parts listed above, you can either buy them online at () or at an electronics (not electrical) store. I usually buy my parts at SP Road, Bangalore, where you will find a large number of electronics stores.

If you look at the schematic you will see that the 1K resistor, LED, and switch are all connected in series with the 9V battery. When you build the circuit, you will be able to turn the LED on and off with the switch.

You can look up the color code for a 1K resistor using the graphical resistance calculator. Also, remember that the LED needs to be plugged in the right way (hint - the long leg goes to the positive side of the circuit).

If you decide to use the switch, open and close it to see what happens when you make and break the circuit.
To tell you the truth this wasn't my first project but I wish it were.

At the moment I am working on a small scale IoT project (Internet of things). Here's a short video to give an insight on that.

IoT is one of the most probable near future technologies that is going to run our worlds and everything around us.

For any complex electronic integration system, there always is an amalgamation between software and hardware. The simple projects and electronics basically comes as one part of technology, the hardware section mainly but when you start exploring into technology, coding and programming became a considerable part of your project. One of the main reasons that i started of with programming is electronics. This is exactly how electronics got me learning so much more than the stereotypical boundaries that comes with its name. So I'd like to tell you this, work with electronics regardless of whether you find it interesting or not when you start off, trust me it will trigger a spark in you and at the least, help you navigate to what you love eventually in the field of science and tech.


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