Some of us are content to just buy things and use them. Some are willing to learn to tinker with things, figure out how to work best. There are also a few who want to make their own. When it comes to electronics, while there is a perception of them being complex machines, there are also people who dive deep into making their own. It’s actually possible to put together your own electronics. Some even turn their hobby into successful careers and create a source of income by scheduling electrical jobs.
However, like any other hobby, it’s easy to get lost at the start. There are so many things to consider. There are terms to learn. You might even need to do research on which manufacturers to trust. So let us help you understand how to get your feet wet in the world of hobbyist electronics.
A Note on Electricity
First, let’s get a basic explanation of how the electrical current in electronics works. You need to know the voltage, the resistance, and the current. The resistance attempts to curtail the current, which is measured in Amps. Voltage is what’s pushing the current through, and is in turn measured in volts.
This basic overview is simplified, but it covers the basic knowledge you need to know. A more in-depth understanding could be useful, but for beginners, you won’t need it. A simple understanding should be enough for what you’re doing.
Look at the diagrams that tell you where the parts go and what connections are made. These are your schematics, which tell you how to put together the circuits and components. In simple terms, these are the instructions that are needed for you to put things together. As you get better, you can take a risk of putting things together yourself, but most people rely on existing schematics.
The internet is home to thousands upon thousands of schematics and diagrams. Even if you don’t know any of the science or advanced theory, you could get to work on something complex and advanced. The schematics provide the practical information and all you’d need to grab are the parts.
Components to Know
There are also various components that you need to know. Resistors, capacitors, transistors, and more. You need to have at least a working definition of each of these, so you know what the schematics refer to as you work. Other terms to know include inductors, integrated circuits, and diodes.
A related topic would be manufacturers. Reliable manufacturers like Scondar are great sources for all the various parts you might need. Do a little research and learn the specifications, so you can plan ahead once you understand the rest of the process.
Once you’re ready to get started, the question is how. Most of the time, you start with kits. These are prefabricated electronics, usually simple and basic in parts and function. You’ll find thousands of these, great for people just starting out because they’re designed to help people become at ease with things like connecting and soldering.
Another beginner project would be making your own single-sided circuit boards. These are simple to make and are useful in some basic electronics designs. This makes them great for beginners who are only starting out and don’t have much experience yet. However, their limited functionality also means that you’ll want to move beyond them eventually.
Look up things like breadboards and stripboards, as they’re great for beginners and useful as you gain a bit more experience.
Microcontrollers are also important if you’re getting into electronics. How deep you want to get into this will vary. Some people are okay with just the basic level of information. Others are willing to dive deep and integrate them into their more complex projects.
Arduino is a good place to start. It’s a simple way to get in, and they provide reliable microcontrollers. It can also get you a good place to start if you’re looking to learn more about what they offer. Just be sure to take it slow and don’t dive in right away, so you don’t become too confused.
Follow Your Passion
When you’re putting together a project after you learn the basics, there is one guideline that should be considered. Pick something you want to do, something you feel passionate about.
Passion is important in the electronics hobby. There are so many ways things can go wrong, so many complications to encounter. It becomes important to have something more powerful than your curiosity to keep you going. You want to get the project done and learning what you can is important, because it keeps you going forward. It also makes it easier to want to look up things that you don’t understand.
Hobbyist electronics is a great way to spend your time and put things together. You can repair all sorts of electronic gadgets or make your own remote control. You can even learn how to repair some common household gadgets yourself. All it takes is for you to learn a few basics to get you started.
More on this topic: CES 2017 – The Consumer Electronics Show