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Old June 18th, 2013, 14:26   #1
WetWookie
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Learning Electronics

So I've decided to pick up amateur electronics. I'm starting off with everything I need to do the basics.

This kit seems to have just about all the important stuff. I picked up a second breadboard, a pack of wires, a pack of photo-resistors (light sensors) just to make sure I was well stocked. I also snagged the book Make: Electronics which has some of the best reviews I've ever seen for just about any product. It looks both comprehensive and kid friendly (first experiment is to 'taste electricity' by licking a 9 volt ) and I hope to be able get my 7 year old son interested and we can learn together. It should all be here next week and I can't wait.

I think that's all I need to get started. Is there anything I've missed? What kinds of pieces\parts\tools should I be on the lookout for when we're ready to move on past the basics?
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Old June 20th, 2013, 01:32   #2
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That sounds like a lot of fun. I admit, I know nothing about electronics, but I can just see you and your son building rock-em-sock-em robots in your garage. Hope you enjoy it!
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Old June 22nd, 2013, 13:22   #3
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This looks like a great idea! When I was in my teens my parents got me some starter electronics kits for Christmas; make a loudspeaker, make a switch, a buzzer, something involving a light sensor that kind of thing. Great fun. Would love to do some more.

Maybe you can learn enough and repair the PC.
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Old June 22nd, 2013, 14:22   #4
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I won't lie and say the thought of fixing the PC hadn't crossed my mind; just as every child thinks about professional baseball when they pick up a bat.

The actual main motivator was looking for a way to stop the dog from jumping on the window sills. She has actually pushed the front window out of the wall. We've tried every suggesting from the interwebs. I finally came up with the idea of finding a sort of laser tripwire attached to an alarm/buzzer and found a bunch of expensive half fitting premade solutions that were never designed for a dog. Pretty soon I stumbled upon a youtube video of someone building a laser tripwire with just a few components. I figured I could make what I needed and learn a new hobby at the same time so that will probably be my first 'serious' project after I get done learning the basics.
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 01:03   #5
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That's pretty cool. I love that the internet can make things like this accessible nowadays.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 14:41   #6
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Tried superglue?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 13:48   #7
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The dog won't hold still long enough for the glue to set. :p

We got some special caulk for the window designed for the problem but even if the window doesn't get pushed out again it's still annoying for her to jump kick it every time someone walks by.

I've decided to go with a vibration switch rather than a laser tripwire for several reasons. It will be far simpler to code and I believe it will be far more effective. Instead of trying to get the beam somewhere that she always breaks when charging but not when approaching calmly would have been too hard. Instead I can put the vibration switch on the carpet near the window and it should only trigger when she is dashing at it. For the alarm I have got a little handheld device that sends a sonic blast every time you push a button. It's designed to be used against barking dogs and I suspect that it will be an effective deterrent. Once she's trained off the window we can move it to the dinning room table and hopefully get her to stop stealing food.

I've picked up some relays, transistors and a bunch of resistors. It turns out it's WAY more cost effective to buy from china/thailand/etc over ebay (50 resistors for $0.99 + free shipping) rather than go to radioshack (5 resistors for $1.49 + tax).
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 17:23   #8
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I love a good project, I'm excited to see how this works out for you.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 14:32   #9
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I finally settled on a motion sensor (Passive Infrared Device). The motion sensor sends out a 3volt signal when it detects a change in infrared levels in the area, such as the heat of a moving dog. I use an operational amplifier to bump the signal from 3 volts to 6 volts. Those 6 volts flip a relay that shorts out the button on a device I picked up at a pet store that sends out an ultrasonic dog correction tone.

We set it up yesterday while my wife was working from home. The dog triggered it 3 times walking up to the window in the morning and once in the afternoon. She now acts as if the window doesn’t exist anymore. She no longer seems to care what is going on outside. She wants nothing to do with the window. Complete success.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 17:43   #10
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Awesomeness
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Old August 30th, 2013, 20:22   #11
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I confess I was a bit skeptical. I was in electronics so I know the distance between concept and execution. Grats Wookie. I know you're feeling it right now.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 01:55   #12
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Well, it took a while but I approached it as a chance to actually learn electronics and not just as a way of solving this one problem. I've spent this time watching at least 40 hours of electronics tutorials on youtube and buying the components to create a bunch of nifty experiments like 555 timer + decade counter LED chaser circuits. Op Amps were a really big hurdle as it seemed like there was no simple way to really explain them but it ended up being pretty key to this project. Next up I'm going to make a permanent version on some prototype board, install it into a project enclosure and hook up a dc wall wart to power it without batteries. I should also be able to get rid of the relay and use the output of the amplifier to power the sonic device which takes 4AA batteries.

I also have a micro-controller board on order so I should be able to do some really nifty things coming up.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 23:57   #13
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My latest project is in a contest on Instructables.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Colo...Lamp/?ALLSTEPS
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