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Visit our new WorkbenchFun site and discussion forum

 


Getting Started
Your workbench & tools
Cautions
Understanding components
Ratings, measurements, & math
Kits & projects
Going further - invention!

Interact:
Post your questions or help those who have them

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Getting started:

A desire to learn, a kitchen table, a soldering iron and a few other tools, and you have everything you need to scare the family members. Follow along, or just explore what interests you, and you won't just have fun, you'll also amaze yourself at what you can do!
 

Your workbench & tools:

Workbench - Nothing fancy or sophisticated is necessary. My first workbench was an old wooden desk given to me by my aunt to do my homework on. Hope she's not reading this. Actually anything sturdy enough not to collapse will do - with the following additional considerations:

  • A durable, fireproof (just in case) surface
  • Enough room for your project, parts, tools, test equipment, & elbows!
  • Good lighting, a comfortable chair, and a radio or other form of entertainment to soothe your mind during those frustrating moments
  • A plug strip to plug all your stuff into

Tools - To start with you'll need a soldering iron, small screwdriver set, needle-nose pliers, and a small precision wire cutter. A fine razor knife can also be helpful for trimming and clearing any short-circuits between printed circuit board traces.

Soldering tools, tips, & safety warnings(.pdf) by Weller®

Some additional equipment that is very helpful and will give you greater capabilities is as follows:

Circuit board holders and "extra hands" devices by PanaVise®

Bench mounted illuminated magnifier by Dazor®

Adjustable output power supply

Multimeter/tester  (using a multimeter by Doctronics)

Oscilloscope

Function generator Circuit design & simulation software

* Personal Safety *

shock hazard
burn hazard
shattering & flying objects
lost patience

* Component Safety *

over voltage
over current
static discharge
thermal management
mechanical shock & vibration
 

Understanding components:

So many fun goodies, so little time!  We'll do our best to present them to you, as well as how they work and how to use them.
 

resistors
capacitors
inductors
diodes & rectifiers
transformers
MOVs
LEDs
incandescent lamps
neon lamps
opto-isolators
infrared receivers

 
vacuum tubes
transistors
SCRs
regulators
ICs
programmable ICs
 
relays
motors & servos
actuators
sensors & transducers

Ratings, measurements, & math:

A basic understanding of component ratings will save you a lot of grief. There's nothing worse than spending hard-earned money on parts and then watching them go up in smoke. :-o  Knowing the proper voltage and current values for each part won't just save you money and heartache but will bring you much satisfaction and success with your creation. You'll need your part specification data, a multimeter, and a basic hand calculator.

Online Conversion - a resource site for converting units of power, energy, and much more

Component Ratings

voltage
current
frequency
temperature
mechanical shock

Measurements

voltage
current
frequency
waveform
temperature
 

Math Formulas

Ohm's Law
power factor
voltage drop & attenuation
1Ų versus 3Ų power
AC versus DC
RMS (root-mean-square)
resistance and heat
 

Kits & projects:
 
Learn both the hardware and software of console gaming
Computer scientist and author Andre' LaMothe has put together a series of hardware kits that are powerful enough for dazzling graphics and game play yet basic enough to comprehend and program
click here to learn more

 

Going further - invention!:  (Unleash the Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla inside you!)

In 1895 Lord Kelvin, a very prominent and respected scientist, stated that heavier than air flying machines were impossible.

On December 17th of 1903 the Wright brothers flew such a machine.
Forget what the experts say - invention starts with a dream!

 

Interact: Post your questions or help those who have them
 
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