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About this book

Jump start your journey with electronics! If you’ve thought about getting into electronics, but don’t know where to start, this book gives you the information you need. Starting with the basics of electricity and circuits, you'll be introduced to digital electronics and microcontrollers, capacitors and inductors, and amplification circuits – all while gaining the basic tools and information you need to start working with low-power electronics.
Electronics for Beginners walks the fine line of focusing on projects-based learning, while still keeping electronics front and center. You'll learn the mathematics of circuits in an uncomplicated fashion and see how schematics map on to actual breadboards. Written for the absolute beginner, this book steers clear of being too math heavy, giving readers the key information they need to get started on their electronics journey.
What You’ll LearnReview the basic “patterns” of resistor usage—pull up, pull down, voltage divider, and current limiterUnderstand the requirements for circuits and how they are put togetherRead and differentiate what various parts of the schematics doDecide what considerations to take when choosing componentsUse all battery-powered circuits, so projects are safeWho This Book Is For
Makers, students, and beginners of any age interested in getting started with electronics.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Welcome to the world of electronics! In the modern world, electronic devices are everywhere, but fewer and fewer people seem to understand how they work or how to put them together. At the same time, it has never been easier to do so as an individual. The availability of training tools, parts, instructions, videos, and tutorials for the home experimenter has grown enormously, and the costs for equipment have dropped to almost nothing.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 2. Dealing with Units

Abstract
Before we begin our exploration of electronics, we need to talk about units of measurement. A unit of measurement is basically a standard against which we are measuring something. For instance, when measuring the length of something, the units of measurement we usually use are feet and meters. You can also measure length in inches, yards, centimeters, kilometers, miles, and so on. Additionally, there are some obscure units of length like furlongs, cubits, leagues, and paces.
Jonathan Bartlett

Basic Concepts

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. What Is Electricity?

Abstract
The first thing to tackle in the road to understanding electronics is to wrap our minds around what electricity is and how it works. The way that electricity works is very peculiar and unintuitive. We are used to dealing with the world in terms of physical objects—desks, chairs, baseballs, and so on. Even if we never took a class in physics, we know the basic properties of such objects from everyday experience. If I drop a rock on my foot, it will hurt. If I drop a heavier rock, it will hurt more. If I remove an important wall from a house, it will fall down.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 4. Voltage and Resistance

Abstract
In Chapter 3, we learned about current, which is the rate of flow of charge. In this chapter, we are going to learn about two other fundamental electrical quantities—voltage and resistance. These two quantities are the ones that are usually the most critical to building effective circuits.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 5. Your First Circuit

Abstract
In the last two chapters, we have learned about the fundamental units of electricity—charge, current, voltage, and resistance. In this chapter, we are going to put this information to use in a real circuit.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 6. Constructing and Testing Circuits

Abstract
In Chapter 5, we learned how a circuit works. However, the method of putting together a circuit in the chapter doesn’t translate to the real world well. In this chapter, we will learn how to use solderless breadboards to construct circuits in a more robust manner. Additionally, we will put our understanding of Ohm’s law to the test as we learn how to measure voltages in circuits using our multimeter.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 7. Analyzing Series and Parallel Circuits

Abstract
In Chapter 5, we looked at our very first circuit and how to draw it using a circuit diagram. In this chapter, we are going to look at different ways components can be hooked together and what they mean for your circuit.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 8. Diodes and How to Use Them

Abstract
This chapter introduces the diode. We have used light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in previous chapters, but have not really discussed their function except for emitting light. In this chapter, we are going to look at regular diodes, light-emitting diodes, and Zener diodes, to get a feel for what these devices are and how they might be used in circuits for more than just light.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 9. Basic Resistor Circuit Patterns

Abstract
When most people look at a schematic drawing, all they see is a sea of interconnected components with no rhyme or reason combining them. However, most circuits are actually a collection of circuit patterns. A circuit pattern is a common way of arranging components to accomplish an electronic task. Experienced circuit designers can look at a circuit and see the patterns that are being used. Instead of a mass of unrelated components, a circuit designer will look at a schematic and perceive a few basic patterns being implemented in a coherent way.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 10. Understanding Power

Abstract
So far we have covered the basic ideas of voltage, current, and resistance. This is good for lighting up LEDs, but for doing work in the real world, what is really needed is power. This chapter on its own adds very little to your capabilities as a circuit designer, but it is absolutely critical background information for the chapters that follow. Additionally, this chapter contains information critical to the safe usage of electronics. Knowing about power, power conversions, and power dissipation will be critical to taking your electronics abilities into the real world.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 11. Integrated Circuits and Resistive Sensors

Abstract
So far, the components we have studied are simple, basic components—batteries, resistors, diodes, and so on. In this chapter, we are going to start to look at integrated circuits, also called chips, microchips, or ICs. An IC is a miniaturized circuit placed on silicon. It is a whole collection of parts geared around a specific function. These functions may be small, such as comparing voltages or amplifying voltages, or they may be complex, such as processing video or even complete computers. A single chip may hold just a few components, or it may hold billions.
Jonathan Bartlett

Digital Electronics and Microcontrollers

Frontmatter

Chapter 12. Using Logic ICs

Abstract
In Chapter 11, we worked with our first integrated circuit, the LM393 voltage comparator. In this chapter, we are going to look at other ICs and talk more about how they are named and used in electronics.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 13. Introduction to Microcontrollers

Abstract
In Chapter 12, we learned the basics of digital logic. However, I think we can all agree that those chips wound up taking up a lot of space on our breadboards. If we wanted to do a lot of complicated tasks, we would wind up needing a lot of chips, we would need more and more breadboards to put them on, and our project would get unwieldy very quickly. Additionally, as the number of chips increased, it would get very expensive to build such projects.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 14. Building Projects with Arduino

Abstract
Chapter 13 covered the basics of what microcontrollers are, what the Arduino environment is, and how to load a program onto an Arduino board. In this chapter, we will go into more depth on how to include an Arduino Uno into a project.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 15. Analog Input and Output on an Arduino

Abstract
In Chapter 14, we learned how to do basic digital input and output with an Arduino using its I/O pins. In this chapter, we will cover how to do analog input and output as well.
Jonathan Bartlett

Capacitors and Inductors

Frontmatter

Chapter 16. Capacitors

Abstract
In this chapter, we will start looking at the capacitor.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 17. Capacitors as Timers

Abstract
In this chapter, we are going to learn what it takes for a capacitor to charge. Once we learn this, we can use capacitors for timers—both for delaying signal and for creating an oscillating circuit.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 18. Introduction to Oscillator Circuits

Abstract
In Chapter 17, we learned how to use RC (resistor-capacitor) circuits to create timers. In this chapter, we are going to use our concept of timing circuits to move from one-time timer circuits to oscillating circuits.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 19. Producing Sound with Oscillations

Abstract
In Chapter 18, we learned to make an oscillator circuit. Oscillations affect a lot of areas of electronics, but the one that is most directly usable (well, besides making blinky lights) is in making sounds.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 20. Inductors

Abstract
In this chapter, we will begin our study of inductors and coils.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 21. Inductors and Capacitors in Circuits

Abstract
In this chapter, we will look at a few of the basic uses of simple inductors.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 22. Reactance and Impedance

Abstract
We have discussed resistance quite a bit in this book. Resistance is specifically about the ability of a component to be a good conductor of electricity. When a circuit encounters resistance, power is lost through the resistor.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 23. DC Motors

Abstract
A DC motor is a device that converts DC electrical power into mechanical power. It operates by rotating a shaft using electromagnetism. DC motors are fairly simple to use, though they require slightly different reasoning from the way we have been examining circuits so far.
Jonathan Bartlett

Amplification Circuits

Frontmatter

Chapter 24. Amplifying Power with Transistors

Abstract
Amplification is the conversion of a low-power signal to a higher-power signal. Normally when we think of amplification, we think of sound amplifiers for musical instruments. Indeed those are amplifiers, and we will build a sound amplifier later in this book. However, anytime you convert a low-power input to a higher-power output, you have amplified the signal, whether that was a DC signal or an AC signal. In this chapter, we will focus on amplifying DC signals.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 25. Transistor Voltage Amplifiers

Abstract
In Chapter 24, we started our study of the BJT NPN transistor. We noted that what the transistor actually amplified was current, so that the current coming into the collector was a multiple (known as β) of the current coming into the base.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 26. Examining Partial Circuits

Abstract
We will end our discussion of amplification by discussing partial circuits. Oftentimes you will need to design a circuit which connects to another circuit, either powering it or receiving power from it. For instance, in the amplification circuits from Chapter 25, the outputs were connected to a speaker. They could also be connected to another amplifier or to a stomp box (a device to modulate the incoming signal in some way) or a recording circuit.
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 27. Using Field Effect Transistors for Switching and Logic Applications

Abstract
In Chapter 24, we discussed two kinds of transistors—bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and field effect transistors (FETs). The previous chapters have focused primarily on BJTs because they are, in fact, great at various tasks that are commonly considered “amplification.”
Jonathan Bartlett

Chapter 28. Going Further

Abstract
Congratulations! You have reached the end of this book! Hopefully, though, this is just the beginning of your electronics journey. From here, there are many directions you can go.
Jonathan Bartlett

Backmatter

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