Saturday, November 1, 2008

First Post!

Note: All of these entries are subject to editing at later dates, in an attempt to make them not suck. ;)

I've been thinking about getting into electronics and stuff for the last few weeks - and then it wound up bein' nano season and I realized that I should do something (seemingly) every day and post it as a blog. Not really a nano, but... still interesting.

My goal here is to (a) document my journey into not-a-degreed-type EE, and (b) try to show a path for other people who want to do the same.

So today I snagged a breadboard and some other stuff and decided to get playing. I have the Digilent Analog Parts Kit with quite a few LED's, wires, and even a few IC's.

The local parts store didn't have any 5v power bricks, so I got the idea to hack one using an old PC (actually, Dell XPS/4100) PSU. You bridge the grey/brown wire with a black wire and it'll turn on. As a load sink I took a probably broken and far too old hard drive which still spins up. I then took a SATA power cable and hacked off the 5 volt bits.

I then started playing with breadboards for the first time ever. It turns out I really need a banana plug (ring ring ring) but that'll wait for another day.

PROTIP #1: The terminals on a breadboard are not wired to the breadboard. This took me a few minutes to figure out.

PROTIP #2: Do not put an LED in a 5v circuit without a resistor. It will run too bright and probably die.

So what am I going to do next? Use a 555-based circuit to blink the LED. Figure out just what ohm resister I put on the breadboard.

And after that? Lots of stuff. I'm planning to work on circuit design, microcontrollers, and FPGA's. Hopefully I can fit all those in my head and get really good at it...

I've got a few other random ideas (like a capacitor->555->pulse modulation based ADC, wired up to an FPGA that PWM's a set of 10 lights. Those fascinated me as a kid. :) )

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