Electronics Workshop Companion for Hobbyists

Electronics Workshop Companion for Hobbyists

Book Preface

If you like to invent, design, build, test, and tweak electronic circuits and gadgets, then you’ll like this book. It’s aimed at beginning and intermediate-level hobbyists and home experimenters, although technicians and engineers should find it useful as a reference from time to time.

Chapter 1 offers suggestions for setting up a basic home electronics workshop: a sturdy bench, plenty of organized storage space, a test meter, an ample supply of components and connectors, a modest computer, and a reliable source of electricity. Once you have your lab together, I’ll show you a simple experiment you can do there.

Chapter 2 describes the types of resistors available for use with electronic circuits, defines some of the more technical jargon that you’ll encounter, offers a few useful formulas for resistance calculations, and concludes with three simple experiments you can do without spending a lot of time or money.

Chapter 3 offers a brief refresher on capacitance, along with information about the types of capacitors you can easily obtain and use in your electronics adventures. You’ll learn a few capacitance-relevant formulas. Two experiments will give you some insight into how capacitors behave and how to measure their values.

Chapter 4 is the inductance counterpart to Chapter 3. You’ll learn about coil core types and optimum coil configurations for audio versus radio-frequency circuits. You will also be shown some simple inductance calculations. In the experiments, you’ll build a simple DC electromagnet and an inductor-based galvanometer.

Chapter 5 involves transformers and their uses, from changing voltages to matching impedances. You’ll learn formulas to help you choose the best transformer for your evolving creation. You’ll test a small transformer module and then conduct an experiment where you connect two identical modules “back-to-back.”

Chapter 6 gives you an overview of diode applications including rectification, frequency multiplication, signal mixing, switching, voltage regulation, amplitude limiting, frequency control, oscillation, and DC power generation. You’ll do a couple of experiments to reduce DC voltage and convert AC to DC.

Chapter 7 deals with the fundamentals of bipolar and field-effect transistors, including metal-oxide devices. You’ll learn which transistors work best in particular circuits. In the experiments, you’ll use a multimeter to test a bipolar transistor and a junction field-effect transistor (JFET) for proper operation.

Chapter 8 describes integrated circuits (ICs), emphasizing the advantages but noting the limitations. You’ll get familiar with linear versus digital IC technology, learn IC functions, and fortify your understanding of binary logic hardware. In the experiments, you’ll use resistors and diodes to simulate the operation of OR and AND gates.

Chapter 9 offers an assortment of hardware manipulation and lab techniques, such as cells and batteries, wire and cable splicing, soldering and desoldering, commonly used connectors, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, frequency counters, and signal generators.

An extensive set of Appendixes contains diverse reference data involving electrical and electronic hardware, and breaks down the radio-frequency (RF) spectrum into its formally defined bands.

With this reference in your workshop library, you’ll have the fundamental information needed to undertake your odyssey into the world of hobby electronics, from hi-fi to ham radio, from switches to microprocessors.

I welcome your suggestions for future editions. Please visit my website at www.sciencewriter.net. You can e-mail me from there. Above all, have fun!

Stan Gibilisco

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