an Electronics

Fall 2018

Getting Started

Standard beginning : any questions about anything so far?

Please do ask questions along the way!

There will be more notes today than in future classes ... just to get us going. And we may not get through all these notes today - if not we'll continue next week.

Each Wed we'll do some discussion and some lab work in class.


Expectations : 'welcome to my classroom' - Rob Jenkins, chronicle of higher ed. (Basically, I expect you to act like responsible adults.)

Be sure you understand the copyright and plagiarism issues - see the links on the resources page. Doing that stuff wrong can get you kicked out of school.

How to submit your weekly (due Tuesdays) work : though this website. (I'll do a demo.)

Browse the [resources]( page for all sorts of helpful links and software tools.

You can email me ( with questions or setup times to work individually as needed.

The term grade will be based on your weekly assignments, which should demonstrate your engagement with this material - for the most part these will be discussions of what you've done. There will be one more substantial piece of work to turn in, namely a "lab report" describing one of the projects in more detail - what you built, the circuit, the code, and all that. We'll talk about all this more as we we go along.

2012 lego tank

A gadget from a few years back ... the lego tank.

today : project 1 - light (either 1a, 1b, or 1c)

Setting up the Sparkfun Kit

SIK - Sparkfun Inventor's Kit

Your job today is to get any of the 1a, 1b, or 1c labs up and running by following the recipes in the "Experimenters Guide".

Getting it working the first time can be a PITA. Be patient - your particular computer may be finicky.


Discuss voltage and current :

... and how to hook up a multimeters to measure the voltage and current of our circuits.

Understand the breadboard : what is connected to what, and how to use it.

Discuss the circuits in labs 1a, 1b, 1c.

Does the current flow in a loop? (That's what most discussions of circuits say. But the schematic on pg 19 of the RedBoard_SIK doesn't look like a loop. What's going on?)

Discuss the various circuit elements.

Define "resistance".

More circuit elements (capacitors etc) and concepts (series/parallel etc) coming later.


The Arduino programming language is based on the Processing language ...

Some programming concepts

More programming ideas coming later ...

Arduino programs :

when it doesn't work

After reading the instructions and checking your work ...

Discussing debugging what's what :


what's next ?

Roughly I'd like to do one of these 5 projects (1 light, 2 sound, 3 motion, 4 display, 5 robot) every 2 weeks, with some additional topics thrown in here and there.

And I'd like you to submit a discussion and writeup explaining for at least one gadget in each of those two weeks what you did and how it worked. The first of those writeups will be due two weeks from today.

You are welcome to work with someone else, but you should each submit your own writeup.

At the end of term, each of you will invent and writeup something new, perhaps combining or varying some of these that we've done during the term. /cours /fall2018 /gadgets /notes /1_light_1
last modified Fri December 1 2023 7:58 pm