Elenco | PK101B | Owner Manual | Elenco PK101 Basic Electronic Experiments Owner Manual

Elenco PK101 Basic Electronic Experiments Owner Manual
BASIC
ELECTRONIC
EXPERIMENTS
MODEL PK-101
TRANSFORMS ANY STANDARD
BREADBOARD INTO AN ELECTRONIC
LEARNING CENTER!
Perform 50
Experiments!
Build an Electronic Keyboard, Electronic Kazoo,
Battery Tester, Finger
Touch Lamp, Burglar and
Water Alarms, a Siren, a
Magnetic Bridge, and a
whole lot more! No
soldering or tools required,
all parts are included!
(Requires a breadboard and
a 9V battery or power supply.)
ELENCO
Copyright © 2012, 1999 by ELENCO® All rights reserved.
®
Revised 2012
REV-G
No part of this book shall be reproduced by any means; electronic, photocopying, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher.
753064
In this booklet you will learn:
• The basic principles of electronics.
• How to build circuits using a breadboard.
• How all of the basic electronic components work and how to read their values.
• How to read electronic schematics.
• How to design and troubleshoot basic electronic circuits.
• How to change the performance of electronic circuits by changing component values within the circuit.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Parts List
Page 3
Answers to Quizzes
3
Introduction to Basic Components
4
Experiment #1: The Light Bulb
8
More About Resistors
10
Experiment #2: Brightness Control
12
Experiment #3: Resistors in Series
13
Experiment #4: Parallel Pipes
14
Experiment #5: Comparison of Parallel Currents
15
Experiment #6: Combined Circuit
16
Experiment #7: Water Detector
17
Introduction to Capacitors
18
Experiment #8: Slow Light Bulb
20
Experiment #9: Small Dominates Large
21
Experiment #10: Large Dominates Small
22
Experiment #11: Make Your Own Battery
23
Test Your Knowledge #1
24
Introduction to Diodes
24
Experiment #12: One - Way Current
25
Experiment #13: One - Way Light Bulbs
26
Introduction to Transistors
27
Experiment #14: The Electronic Switch
28
Experiment #15: The Current Amplifier
28
Experiment #16: The Substitute
29
Experiment #17: Standard Transistor Biasing Circuit 30
Experiment #18: Very Slow Light Bulb
31
Experiment #19: The Darlington
32
Experiment #20: The Two Finger Touch Lamp
32
Experiment #21: The One Finger Touch Lamp
33
Experiment #22: The Voltmeter
34
Experiment #23: 1.5 Volt Battery Tester
36
Experiment #24: 9 Volt Battery Tester
37
Experiment #25: The Battery Immunizer
38
Experiment #26: The Anti-Capacitor
39
Introduction to Inductors and Transformers
Test Your Knowledge #2
Experiment #27: The Magnetic Bridge
Experiment #28: The Lighthouse
Experiment #29: Electronic Sound
Experiment #30: The Alarm
Experiment #31: Morse Code
Experiment #32: Siren
Experiment #33: Electronic Rain
Experiment #34: The Space Gun
Experiment #35: Electronic Noisemaker
Experiment #36: Drawing Resistors
Experiment #37: Electronic Kazoo
Experiment #38: Electronic Keyboard
Experiment #39: Fun with Water
Experiment #40: Blinking Lights
Experiment #41: Noisy Blinker
Experiment #42: One Shot
Experiment #43: Alarm With Shut - Off Timer
Experiment #44: The Flip - Flop
Experiment #45: Finger Touch Lamp With Memory
Experiment #46: This OR That
Experiment #47: Neither This NOR That
Experiment #48: This AND That
Experiment #49: Audio NAND, AND
Experiment #50: Logic Combination
Test Your Knowledge #3
Troubleshooting Guide
Definition of Terms
THE EXPERIMENTS IN THIS BOOKLET REQUIRE A BREADBOARD OR
CAN BE DONE ON THE ELENCO® XK-150, XK-550, OR XK-700 TRAINERS.
2
40
41
42
43
44
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
68
69
PARTS LIST
Quantity
Part Number
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
r3
r2
r1
r1
r1
r1
r1
134700
141000
143300
151000
153300
161000
171000
191549
235018
244780
271045
281044
314148
323904
350002
442100
540100
590098
590102
-
Description
470Ω Resistor, 0.25W
1kΩ Resistor, 0.25W
3.3kΩ Resistor, 0.25W
10kΩ Resistor, 0.25W
33kΩ Resistor, 0.25W
100kΩ Resistor, 0.25W
1MΩ Resistor, 0.25W
50kΩ Variable Resistor, lay-down, with dial
0.005μF Disc Capacitor
0.047μF Disc Capacitor
10μF Electrolytic Capacitor
100μF Electrolytic Capacitor
Diode, 1N4148
Transistor, NPN, 2N3904
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
Transformer
Switch, push-button
9V Battery Clip
Speaker, 8Ω, 0.25 Watt, with wires added
Wires Bag
QUIZ ANSWERS
First Quiz: 1. electrons; 2. short; 3. battery; 4. increase; 5. insulators, conductors; 6. decreases, increases; 7. decreases;
8. voltage; 9. alternating, direct; 10. increases, decreases.
Second Quiz: 1. reverse; 2. LEDs; 3. amplifier; 4. integrated; 5. saturated; 6. direct, alternating; 7. decreases, increases;
8. magnetic; 9. increases; 10. twice
Third Quiz: 1. feedback; 2. air, pressure; 3. decreases; 4. OR; 5. NAND
3
INTRODUCTION TO BASIC COMPONENTS
Welcome to the exciting world of Electronics! Before starting the first experiment, let’s learn about some of the basic
electronic components. Electricity is a flow of sub-atomic (very, very, very, small) particles, called electrons. The
electrons move from atom to atom when an electrical charge is applied across the material. Electronics will be easier to
understand if you think of the flow of electricity through circuits as water flowing through pipes (this will be referred to as
the water pipe analogy).
Wires: Wires can be thought of as large, smooth pipes that allow water to pass through easily. Wires are made of metals,
usually copper, that offer very low resistance to the flow of electricity. When wires from different parts of a circuit connect
accidentally we have a short circuit or simply a short. You probably know from the movies that this usually means trouble.
You must always make sure that the metal from different wires never touches except at springs where the wires are
connecting to each other. The electric current, expressed in amperes (A, named after Andre Ampere who studied the
relationship between electricity and magnetism) or milliamps (mA, 1/1000 of an ampere), is a measure of how fast
electrons are flowing in a wire just as a water current describes how fast water is flowing in a pipe.
PIPE
WIRE
Batteries and Generators: To make water flow through a pipe we need a pump. To make electricity flow through wires,
we use a battery or a generator to create an electrical charge across the wires. A battery does this by using a chemical
reaction and has the advantage of being simple, small, and portable. If you move a magnet near a wire then electricity will
flow in the wire. This is done in a generator. The electric power companies have enormous generators driven by steam or
water pressure to produce electricity for your home.
The voltage, expressed in volts (V, and named after Alessandro Volta who invented the battery in 1800), is a measure of
how strong the electric charge from your battery or generator is, similar to the water pressure. Your PK-101 may be used
with either a 9V battery or the adjustable power supply that is part of the XK-150, XK-550, and XK-700 Trainers. A power
supply converts the electricity from your electric company into a simple form that can be used in your PK-101. If using the
power supply, then adjust it for 9V. (This manual will usually refer to the battery, this is also meant to refer to the 9V power
supply if you are using that instead). Notice the “+” and “–” signs on the battery. These indicate which direction the battery
will “pump” the electricity, similarly to how a water pump can only pump water in one direction. The 0V or “–” side of the
battery is often referred to as “ground”. Notice that just to the right of the battery pictured below is a symbol, the same
symbol you see next to the battery holder. Engineers are not very good at drawing pictures of their parts, so when
engineers draw pictures of their circuits they use symbols like this to represent them. It also takes less time to draw and
takes up less space on the page. Note that wires are represented simply by lines on the page.
WATER PUMP
BATTERY
Symbol for BATTERY
9V
The Switch: Since you don’t want to waste water when you are not using it, you have a faucet or valve to turn the water
on and off. Similarly, you use a switch to turn the electricity on and off in your circuit. A switch connects (the “closed” or
“on” position) or disconnects (the “open” or “off” position) the wires in your circuit. As with the battery, the switch is
represented by a symbol, shown below on the right.
VALVE
SWITCH
You have been given one of the two above switches.
4
Symbol for SWITCH
The Resistor: Why is the water pipe that goes to your kitchen faucet smaller than the one that comes to your house from
the water company? And why is it much smaller than the main water line that supplies water to your entire town? Because
you don’t need so much water. The pipe size limits the water flow to what you actually need. Electricity works in a similar
manner, except that wires have so little resistance that they would have to be very, very thin to limit the flow of electricity.
They would be hard to handle and break easily. But the water flow through a large pipe could also be limited by filling a
section of the pipe with rocks (a thin screen would keep the rocks from falling over), which would slow the flow of water but
not stop it. Resistors are like rocks for electricity, they control how much electric current flows. The resistance, expressed
in ohms (Ω, named after George Ohm), kilohms (kΩ, 1,000 ohms), or megohms (MΩ, 1,000,000 ohms) is a measure of
how much a resistor resists the flow of electricity. To increase the water flow through a pipe you can increase the water
pressure or use less rocks. To increase the electric current in a circuit you can increase the voltage or use a lower value
resistor (this will be demonstrated in a moment). The symbol for the resistor is shown on the right.
ROCKS IN THE PIPE
RESISTOR
Symbol for RESISTOR
“LEADS” for connecting
Your Breadboard: Breadboards are used for mounting electronic components and to make connecting them together
easy, and are similar to the printed circuits boards used in most electronic devices. Breadboards make it easy to add and
remove components. Your breadboard has 830 holes arranged into rows and columns (some models may have more or
less holes but will be arranged the same way):
BREADBOARD
5
The holes are connected together as follows:
• There are many columns of 5 holes each. The 5 holes within each column are electrically connected together, but the
columns are not electrically connected to each other. This makes 126 columns of 5 holes each. Note that “electrically
connected together” means that there is a wire within the breadboard connecting the 5 holes.
• All holes in the rows marked with a blue “–” or a red “+” are electrically connected together, but none of these rows are
electrically connected to each other. This makes 6 rows of 100 holes. The red “+” holes will usually be used for your “+”
battery or power supply connections and the blue “–” holes will usually be used for your ground (“–” battery or power
supply) connections.
BREADBOARD CONNECTIONS
Inserting Parts into the Breadboard: To insert components into the breadboard, keep their pins straight and gently push
into the holes. If the pins get bent and become difficult to insert, they can be straightened with a pliers. Always make sure
components do not touch each other.
INSERTING PARTS
Electrolytic capacitors have a positive
and a negative electrode. The negative
lead is indicated on the packaging by a
stripe with minus signs and possibly
arrowheads.
Warning:
If the capacitor is
connected with
incorrect polarity,
it may heat up and
either leak, or
cause the
capacitor to
explode.
Polarity
Marking
6
After using your kit for a while, some of the wire ends may break off. If so, you should remove about 3/8 inch of insulation
from the broken end with a wire stripper or scissors.
Before You Begin: The rows of the breadboard are marked with letters (some rows are marked “+” and “–”) and the
columns are marked by numbers, this allows each hole to be identified individually. We will use this notation to smoothly
guide you through the experiments. Depending on the size of your breadboard, several sets of rows may be marked with
the same letter, but only a portion of the overall breadboard will be used so this will not be a problem. The row and column
numbers will be expressed as a row/column number. For example, a connection at row b, column 26 will be called hole
b26. And a connection at row +, column 3 will be called hole (+)3. Some examples of this are shown below:
IDENTIFYING HOLE LOCATIONS
column 3
row (+)
hole h6
hole e15
row b
hole (-)7
column 26
7
EXPERIMENT #1: The Light Bulb
First, decide if you will use a 9V battery (alkaline is best) or the adjustable power supply that is part of the XK-150, XK-550,
and XK-700 Trainers. If using a battery then snap it into its clip. Always remove the battery from its clip if you won’t be using
your PK-101 for a while. Insert the red wire from the battery clip into hole j4 and the black wire into hole (–)3.
1
2
If using the adjustable power supply then turn it on and adjust it for 9V. Connect a wire from the positive adjustable voltage
output to hole j4 and another wire from the power supply negative output (ground) to hole (–)3.
Let’s introduce another component, the LED (light emitting diode). It is shown below, with its symbol. We’ll explain what it
does in just a few moments.
LED
Symbol for LED
Flat
Now insert the components for this circuit into your breadboard according to the list below (the first item is for the
battery/power supply which you already did above), which we’ll call the Wiring Checklist. When you’re finished your wiring
should look like the diagram shown at right:
WIRING DIAGRAM
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• one Switch
• one 10kΩ resistor
(marked brown-black-orange-gold, in that order)
• one LED
• 2 wires
POWER
SUPPLY
+9V
RESISTOR
0V (GROUND)
Wiring Checklist:
LED
(symbol shows flat
side is on right)
10kΩ
(RED)
Insert red battery wire or positive power supply into
hole j4 and black battery wire or negative power
supply (ground) into hole (–)3.
Insert switch into holes f4 and f5.
Insert the 10kΩ resistor into holes j5 and j9.
Insert the LED into holes g20 and g21. NOTE: The
“flat” side of the LED (as shown on the picture
above, and usually the shorter wire) goes into g21.
Insert a short wire between holes h9 and j20.
9V
BATTERY
Insert a short wire between holes f21 and (–)21.
SWITCH
(BLACK)
Be sure all your wires are securely in place and not
loose. Also make sure the metal into each hole is
not touching any other metal, including other parts
of the same component.
8
WIRES
The Wiring Checklist and Wiring Diagram show
you ONE way of connecting the circuit
components using your breadboard. There are
many other ways that are also correct. The
important thing is that the electrical connections
are as shown in the schematic (see below).
Example of Inserting the Resistor
Press the switch and the LED lights up, and turns off when you release the switch. The LED converts electrical energy
into light, like the light bulbs in your home. You can also think of an LED as being like a simple water meter, since as the
electric current increases in a wire the LED becomes brighter. It is shown again here, with its symbol.
WATER METER
LED
Symbol for LED
Flat
Take a look at the water diagram that follows. It shows the flow of water from the pump through the faucet, the small pipe,
the water meter, the large pipes, and back to the pump. Now compare it to the electrical diagram next to it, called a
schematic. Schematics are the “maps” for electronic circuits and are used by all electronic designers and technicians on
everything from your PK-101 to the most advanced supercomputers. They show the flow of electricity from the battery
through the switch, the resistor, the LED, the wires, and back to the battery. They also use the symbols for the battery,
switch, resistor, and LED that we talked about. Notice how small and simple the schematic looks compared to the water
diagram; that is why we use it.
Now you will see how changing the resistance in the circuit increases the current through it. Press the switch again and
observe the brightness of the LED. Now remove the 10kΩ resistor and replace it with a 1kΩ resistor (marked brown-blackred-gold, in that order) in the same holes (j5 and j9). Press the switch. The LED is brighter now, do you understand why?
We are using a lower resistance (less rocks), so there is more electrical current flowing (more water flows), so the LED is
brighter. Now replace the 1kΩ resistor with the 100kΩ resistor (marked brown-black-yellow-gold, in that order) and press
the switch again. The LED will be on but will be very dim (this will be easier to see if you wrap your hand near the LED to
keep the room lights from shining on it).
Well done! You’ve just built YOUR first electronic circuit!
9
MORE ABOUT RESISTORS
Ohm’s Law: You just observed that when you have less resistance in the circuit, more current flows (making the LED
brighter). The relationship between voltage, current, and resistance is known as Ohm’s Law (after George Ohm who
discovered it in 1828):
Voltage
Current = ____________
Resistance
Resistance: Just what is Resistance? Take your hands and rub them together very fast. Your hands should feel warm.
The friction between your hands converts your effort into heat. Resistance is the electrical friction between an electric
current and the material it is flowing through; it is the loss of energy from electrons as they move between atoms of the
material. Resistors are made using carbon and can be constructed with different resistive values, such as the seven parts
included in your PK-101. If a large amount of current is passed through a resistor then it will become warm due to the
electrical friction. Light bulbs use a small piece of a highly resistive material called tungsten. Enough current is passed
through this tungsten to heat it until it glows white hot, producing light. Metal wires have some electrical resistance, but it
is very low (less than 1Ω per foot) and can be ignored in almost all circuits. Materials such as metals which have low
resistance are called conductors. Materials such as paper, plastic, and air have extremely high values of resistance and
are called insulators.
Resistor Color Code: You are probably wondering what the colored bands on the resistors mean. They are the method
for marking the value of resistance on the part. The first ring represents the first digit of the resistor’s value. The second
ring represents the second digit of the resistor’s value. The third ring tells you the power of ten to multiply by, (or the number
of zeros to add). The final and fourth ring represents the construction tolerance. Most resistors have a gold band for a 5%
tolerance. This means the value of the resistor is guaranteed to be within 5% of the value marked. The colors below are
used to represent the numbers 0 through 9.
COLOR
BLACK
BROWN
RED
ORANGE
YELLOW
GREEN
BLUE
VIOLET
GRAY
WHITE
VALUE
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Example of Color Code
RED
VIOLET
ORANGE
GOLD
27 X 10,000 = 27,000 Ω, with 5% Tolerance
Use the color code to check the values of the seven resistors included in your PK-101, and compare to the list below:
YELLOW - VIOLET - BROWN - GOLD is 470 Ω with 5% tolerance
BROWN - BLACK - RED - GOLD is 1,000 Ω (or 1 kΩ) with 5% tolerance
ORANGE - ORANGE - RED - GOLD is 3,300 Ω (or 3.3 kΩ) with 5% tolerance
BROWN - BLACK - ORANGE - GOLD is 10,000 Ω (or 10 kΩ) with 5% tolerance
ORANGE - ORANGE - ORANGE - GOLD is 33,000 Ω (or 33 kΩ) with 5% tolerance
BROWN - BLACK - YELLOW - GOLD is 100,000 Ω (or 100 kΩ) with 5% tolerance
BROWN - BLACK - GREEN - GOLD is 1,000,000 Ω (or 1 MΩ) with 5% tolerance
10
The Variable Resistor: We talked about how a switch is used to turn the electricity on and off just like a valve is used to
turn the water on and off. But there are many times when you want some water but don’t need all that the pipe can deliver,
so you control the water by adjusting an opening in the pipe with a faucet. Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the thickness of
an already thin wire. But you could also control the water flow by forcing the water through an adjustable length of rocks,
as in the rock arm shown below.
ROCK
ARM
In electronics we use a variable resistor. This is a normal resistor (50kΩ in your PK-101) with an additional arm contact
that can move along the resistive material and tap off the desired resistance.
VARIABLE RESISTOR
INSULATING BASE MATERIAL
WIPER CONTACT
THIN LAYER OF
RESISTIVE MATERIAL
MOVABLE
ARM
STATIONARY CONTACT
LEADS
The dial on the variable resistor moves the arm contact and sets the resistance between the left and center pins. The
remaining resistance of the part is between the center and right pins. For example, when the dial is turned fully to the left,
there is minimal resistance between the left and center pins (usually 0Ω) and maximum resistance between the center and
right pins. The resistance between the left and right pins will always be the total resistance, (50kΩ for your part).
VARIABLE RESISTOR
CENTER PIN
Symbol for VARIABLE RESISTOR
LEFT PIN
RIGHT PIN
Now let’s demonstrate how this works.
11
EXPERIMENT #2: THE BRIGHTNESS CONTROL
Remove the 10kΩ resistor used in Experiment #1; the other parts are used here. Insert the new parts according to the
Wiring Checklist below. Press the switch and the LED lights up (it may be dim). Now hold the switch closed with one hand
and turn the dial on the variable resistor with the other. When the dial is turned to the left, the resistance in the circuit is
low and the LED is bright because a large current flows. As you turn the dial to the right the resistance increases and the
LED will become dim, just as forcing the water through a section of rocks would slow the water flow and lower the reading
on your water meter.
You may be wondering what the 1kΩ resistor is doing in the circuit. If you set the dial on the variable resistor for minimum
resistance (0Ω) then Ohm’s Law tells us the current will be very large - and it might damage the LED (think of this as a
very powerful water pump overloading a water meter). So the 1kΩ was put in to limit the current while having little effect
on the brightness of the LED.
Now remove the wire from c14 and connect it to c16. Do you know what will happen now? Close the switch and you will
see that as you turn the dial from the left to the right the LED goes from very dim to very bright (the opposite of when
connected to c14), because you are decreasing the resistance between the center and right pins.
Now remove the 1kΩ resistor from hole j15 and insert it into hole c14 (the other end stays in j5). What do you think will
happen? Close the switch and turn the dial on the variable resistor. The LED is dim and turning the resistor dial won’t
make it any brighter. As discussed above, the resistance between the left and right pins is always 50kΩ and the part acts
just like one of the other resistors in your PK-101.
Variable resistors like this one are used in the light dimmers you
may have in your house, and are also used to control the volume
in your radio, your TV, and many electronic devices.
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• Switch
• one 1kΩ resistor (marked brown-black-red-gold)
• 50kΩ variable resistor
• one LED
• 2 wires
Wiring Checklist (
experiment):
WIRING DIAGRAM
POWER
SUPPLY
+9V
LED
0V
RESISTOR
50kΩ
VARIABLE
RESISTOR
(symbol shows
flat side is on
right)
(RED)
1kΩ
indicates same position as last
Insert red battery wire or positive power supply into hole j4
and black battery wire or negative power supply (ground) into
hole (–)3.
Insert switch into holes f4 and f5.
Insert the LED into holes g20 and g21 (“flat” side goes into g21).
Insert a short wire between holes f21 and (–)21.
Insert the 1kΩ resistor into holes j5 and j15.
Insert the 50kΩ variable resistor into holes e14, g15, and e16.
It may be a tight fit, carefully press it in slowly.
Insert a short wire between holes c14 and j20.
9V
BATTERY
SWITCH
(BLACK)
Be sure all your wires are securely in place and not loose. Also
make sure the metal into each hole is not touching any
other metal, including other parts of the same component.
SCHEMATIC
WATER DIAGRAM
12
WIRES
EXPERIMENT #3: RESISTORS IN SERIES
Remove the resistors used in Experiment #2; the other parts are used here. Insert the new parts according to the Wiring
Checklist and press the switch. The LED is on but is very dim (this will be easier to see if you wrap your hand near the
LED to keep the room lights from shining on it). Take a look at the schematic. There is a low 3.3kΩ resistor and a high
100kΩ resistor in series (one after another). Since the LED is dimly lit, we know that the larger 100kΩ must be controlling
the current. You can think of this as where two sections of the pipe are filled with rock, if one section is much longer than
the other then it controls the water flow. If you had several rock sections of different lengths then it is easy to see that these
would add together as if they were one longer section. The total length is what matters, not how many sections the rock
is split into. The same is true in electronics - resistors in series add together to increase the total resistance for the
circuit. (In our circuit the 3.3kΩ and 100kΩ resistors add up to 103.3kΩ).
To demonstrate this, remove the 100kΩ resistor and insert the 10kΩ in the same holes, press the switch; the LED should
be easy to see now (total resistance is now only 13.3kΩ). Next, remove the 10kΩ resistor and replace it with the 1kΩ. The
LED is now bright, but not as bright as when you used the 1kΩ in Experiment #1. Why? Because now the 3.3kΩ is the
larger resistor (total resistance is 4.3kΩ).
Also, in Experiment #2 you saw how the 1kΩ resistor would dominate the circuit when the variable resistor was set for 0Ω
and how the variable resistor would dominate when set for 50kΩ.
Wiring Checklist ( indicates same position as
last experiment):
Insert red battery wire or positive power supply into
hole j4 and black battery wire or negative power
supply (ground) into hole (–)3.
Insert switch into holes f4 and f5.
Insert the LED into holes g20 and g21 (“flat” side
goes into g21).
Insert a short wire between holes f21 and (–)21.
Insert the 3.3kΩ resistor into holes i5 and i12.
Insert the 100kΩ resistor into holes j12 and j20
(avoid touching other components).
WIRING DIAGRAM
POWER
SUPPLY
LED
+9V
0V
RESISTORS
3.3kΩ
(symbol shows flat
side is on right)
100kΩ
(RED)
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• Switch
• one 1kΩ resistor (brown-black-red-gold)
• one 3.3kΩ resistor (orange-orange-red-gold)
• one 10kΩ resistor (brown-black-orange-gold)
• one 100kΩ resistor (brown-black-yellow-gold)
• one LED
• 1 wire
9V
BATTERY
SWITCH
(BLACK)
WATER DIAGRAM
SCHEMATIC
13
WIRE
EXPERIMENT #4: PARALLEL PIPES
Remove the resistors used in Experiment #3; the other parts are used here. Insert the new parts according to the Wiring
Checklist. Take a look at the schematic. There is a low 3.3kΩ resistor and a high 100kΩ resistor in parallel (connected
between the same points in the circuit). How bright do you think the LED will be? Press the switch and see if you are right.
The LED is bright, so most of the current must be flowing through the smaller 3.3kΩ resistor. This makes perfect sense
when we look at the water diagram, with most of the water flowing through the pipe with less rocks. In general, the more
water pipes (or resistors) there are in parallel, the lower the total resistance is and the more water (or current) will flow.
The relationship is more complicated than for resistors in series and is given here for advanced students:
R
Parallel
R1 x R2
= ______________
R1 + R2
For two 10kΩ resistors in parallel, the result would be 5kΩ. The 3.3kΩ and 100kΩ in parallel in our circuit now give the
same LED brightness as a single 3.2kΩ resistor.
To demonstrate this, remove the 100kΩ resistor and replace it with the 10kΩ (in the same holes); press the switch and the
LED should be just as bright. The total resistance is now only 2.5kΩ, but your eyes probably won’t notice much difference
in LED brightness. Now remove the 10kΩ and replace it with the 1kΩ; press the switch. The total resistance is now only
770Ω, so the LED should now be much brighter.
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• Switch
• one 1kΩ resistor (brown-black-red-gold)
• one 3.3kΩ resistor (orange-orange-red-gold)
• one 10kΩ resistor (brown-black-orange-gold)
• one 100kΩ resistor (brown-black-yellow-gold)
• one LED
• 2 wires
Wiring Checklist ( indicates same position as last
experiment):
Insert red battery wire or positive power supply (P. S.) into j4 and
black battery wire or negative power supply (ground) into (–)3.
Insert switch into f4 and f5.
Insert the LED into g20 and g21 (“flat” side goes into g21).
Insert a short wire between f21 and (–)21.
Insert the 3.3kΩ resistor into i5 and i12.
Insert the 100kΩ resistor into j5 and j12.
Insert a short wire between h12 and j20.
WIRING DIAGRAM
Note: From now on there will be less description for frequently used parts.
100KΩ
3.3KΩ
9V
BATTERY
or POWER
SUPPLY
+9V
0V
14
EXPERIMENT 5: COMPARISON OF PARALLEL CURRENTS
Since we have two resistors in parallel and a second LED that is not being used, let’s modify the last circuit to match the
schematic below. It’s basically the same circuit but instead of just parallel resistors there are parallel resistor-LED circuits.
Remove the resistors used in Experiment #4; the other parts are used here. Insert the new parts according to the Wiring
Checklist. Replace the 100kΩ resistor with several values as before (such as 1kΩ, 10kΩ, and others if you wish), pressing
the switch and observing the LEDs each time. The brightness of the right LED will not change, but the brightness of the
left LED will depend on the resistor value you placed in series with it.
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• Switch
• one 3.3kΩ resistor (orange-orange-red-gold)
• one 100kΩ resistor (brown-black-yellow-gold)
• 2 LEDs
• 4 wires
Wiring Checklist (þ indicates same position as last experiment):
Insert red battery wire or positive P. S. into j4 and black battery wire or negative P. S. (ground) into (–)3.
Insert switch into f4 and f5. The switch may be a tight fit, carefully press it in slowly.
Insert an LED into g20 and g21 (“flat” side goes into g21).
Insert a short wire between f21 and (–)21.
Insert the 100kΩ resistor into j5 and j12.
Insert a short wire between h12 and j20.
Insert the 3.3kΩ resistor into i5 and j10.
Insert a short wire between g10 and j23.
Insert an LED into g23 and g24 (“flat” side goes into g24).
Insert a short wire between f24 and (–)24.
+9V
100kΩ
3.3kΩ
9V
BATTERY
or POWER
SUPPLY
Both LEDs
have flat side
on right
15
EXPERIMENT #6: COMBINED CIRCUIT
Let’s combine everything we’ve done so far. Remove the resistors used in Experiment #3; the other parts are used here.
Insert the new parts and wires according to the Wiring Checklist. Before pressing the switch, take a look at the schematic
and think about what will happen as you turn the dial on the variable resistor (we’ll abbreviate this to VR). Now press the
switch with one hand and turn the dial with the other to see if you were right. As you turn the VR dial from left to right the
left LED will go from bright to very dim and the right LED will go from very dim to visible.
What’s happening is this: With the dial turned all the way to the left the VR is 0Ω (much smaller than the 10kΩ) so nearly
all of the current passing through the 3.3kΩ will take the VR-LED(left) path and very little will take the 10kΩ-LED(right) path.
When the VR dial is turned 1/5 to the right the VR is 10kΩ (same as the other path) and the current flowing through the
3.3kΩ will divide equally between the two LED paths (making them equally bright). As the VR dial is turned all the way to
the right the VR becomes a 50kΩ (much larger than the 10kΩ) and LED(left) will become dim while LED(right) gets brighter.
Now is a good time to take notes on how resistors work in series and in parallel. All electronic circuits are much larger
combinations of series and parallel circuits such as these. It’s important to understand these ideas because soon we’ll
apply them to capacitors and inductors!
Parts Needed:
• a 9V battery or power supply
• Switch
• one 3.3kΩ resistor (orange-orange-red-gold)
• one 10kΩ resistor (brown-black-orange-gold)
• 50kΩ variable resistor
• 2 LEDs
• 3 wires
Wiring Checklist ( indicates same position as last experiment):
Insert red battery wire or positive P. S. into j4 and black battery wire
or negative P. S. (ground) into (–)3.
Insert switch into f4 and f5.
Insert an LED into g20 and g21 (“flat” side goes into g21).
Insert a short wire between f21 and (–)21.
Insert an LED into g23 and g24 (“flat” side goes into g24).
Insert a short wire between f24 and -24.
Insert the 50kΩ variable resistor into holes e14, g15, and e16. It
may be a tight fit, carefully press it in slowly.
Insert the 3.3kΩ resistor into i5 and i15.
Insert the 10kΩ resistor into j15 and j23.
Insert a short wire between c14 and j20.
+9V
10KΩ
3.3KΩ
50KΩ
VARIABLE
RESISTOR
16
EXPERIMENT #7: WATER DETECTOR
You’ve seen how electricity flows through copper wires easily and how carbon resists the flow. How well does water pass
electricity? Let’s find out.
Connect the parts and wires according to the Wiring Checklist and take a look at the schematic. There isn’t a switch this
time, so just disconnect one of the wires if you want to turn the circuit off. Notice that the Wiring Checklist leaves 2 wires
unconnected. The LED will be off initially (if you touch the two loose wires together then it will be on). Now take a small
cup (make sure it isn’t made of metal), fill it half way with water, and place the two unconnected wires into the water without
touching each other. The LED should now be dimly lit, but the brightness could vary depending on your local water quality.
You are now seeing a demonstration of how water conducts (passes) electricity. (A small cup of water like this may be
around 100kΩ, but depends on the local water quality). Try adding more water to the cup and see if the LED brightness
changes (it should get brighter because we are “making the water pipe larger”). Since the LED only lights when it is in
water now, you could use this circuit as a water detector!
Now adjust the amount of water so that the LED is dimly lit. Now, watching the LED brightness, add some table salt to the
water and stir to dissolve the salt. The LED should become brighter because water has a lower electrical resistance when
salt is dissolved in it. Looking at the water pipe diagram, you can think of this as a strong cleaner dissolving paintballs that
are mixed in with the rocks. You could even use this circuit to detect salt water like in the ocean!
Wiring Checklist ( indicates same position as last experiment):
Insert red battery wire or positive P. S. into j4 and black battery wire
or negative P. S. (ground) into (–)3.
Insert an LED into g20 and g21 (“flat” side goes into g21).
Note: Keep the switch in the breadboard (unconnected) until later
experiments, as it can be difficult to remove and insert.
Insert the 470Ω resistor into j12 and j20.
Insert the 1kΩ resistor into i4 and i12.
Insert the 3.3kΩ resistor into h20 and (–)18.
Insert the 10kΩ resistor into f20 and (–)21.
Insert a long wire into j21 (the other end is unconnected for now).
Insert a long wire into (–)25 (the other end is unconnected for now).
+9V
10kΩ
470Ω
3.3kΩ
1kΩ
Note: Switch is not
used here but leave
in for future
experiments.
17
Parts Needed:
a 9V battery or power supply
one 470Ω resistor (yellow-violet-brown-gold)
one 1kΩ resistor (brown-black-red-gold)
one 3.3kΩ resistor (orange-orange-red-gold)
one 10kΩ resistor (brown-black-orange-gold)
one LED
2 long wires
a glass of water and salt
TO GLASS
OF WATER
INTRODUCTION TO CAPACITORS
Capacitors: Capacitors are electrical components that can store electrical pressure (voltage) for periods of time. When
a capacitor has a difference in voltage (electrical pressure) across it, it is said to be charged. A capacitor is charged by
having a one-way current flow through it for a short period of time. It can be discharged by letting a current flow in the
opposite direction out of the capacitor. In the water pipe analogy, you may think of the capacitor as a water pipe that has
a strong rubber diaphragm sealing off each side of the pipe as shown below:
PIPE FILLED WITH WATER
A Rubber Diaphragm in a
pipe is like a Capacitor
PLUNGER
RUBBER DIAPHRAGM
SEALING CENTER OF PIPE
If the pipe had a plunger on one end (or a pump elsewhere in the piping circuit), as shown above, and the plunger was
pushed toward the diaphragm, the water in the pipe would force the rubber to stretch out until the force of the rubber
pushing back on the water was equal to the force of the plunger. You could say the pipe is charged and ready to push the
plunger back. In fact if the plunger is released it will move back to its original position. The pipe will then be discharged or
with no pressure on the diaphragm.
Capacitors act the same as the pipe just described. When a voltage (electrical pressure) is placed on one side with respect
to the other, electrical charge “piles up” on one side of the capacitor (on the capacitor “plates”) until the voltage pushing
back equals the voltage applied. The capacitor is then charged to that voltage. If the charging voltage was then decreased
the capacitor would discharge. If both sides of the capacitor were connected together with a wire then the capacitor would
rapidly discharge and the voltage across it would become zero (no charge).
What would happen if the plunger in the drawing above was wiggled in and out many times each second? The water in
the pipe would be pushed by the diaphragm and then sucked back by the diaphragm. Since the movement of the water
(current) is back and forth (alternating) it is called an alternating current or AC. The capacitor will therefore pass an
alternating current with little resistance. When the push on the plunger was only toward the diaphragm, the water on the
other side of the diaphragm moved just enough to charge the pipe (a transient or temporary current). Just as the pipe
blocked a direct push, a capacitor blocks a direct current (DC). Current from a battery is an example of direct current. An
example of alternating current is the 60 cycle (60 wiggles per second) current from the electrical outlets in the walls of your
house.
Construction of Capacitors: If the rubber diaphragm is made very soft it will stretch out and hold a lot of water but will
break easily (large capacitance but low working voltage). If the rubber is made very stiff it will not stretch far but will be
able to withstand higher pressure (low capacitance but high working voltage). By making the pipe larger and keeping the
rubber stiff we can achieve a device that holds a lot of water and withstands high pressure (high capacitance, high working
voltage, large size). So the pipe size is determined by its capacity to hold water and the amount of pressure it can handle.
These three types of water pipes are shown below:
TYPES OF WATER PIPES
LARGE CAPACITY
LOW PRESSURE
SOFT
RUBBER
LOW CAPACITY BUT
CAN WITHSTAND
HIGH PRESSURE
HIGH CAPACITY AND
CAN WITHSTAND
HIGH PRESSURE
STIFF
RUBBER
STIFF
RUBBER
18
Similarly, capacitors are described by their capacity for holding electric charge, called their Capacitance, and their ability
to withstand electric pressure (voltage) without damage. Although there are many different types of capacitors made using
many different materials, their basic construction is the same. The wires (leads) connect to two or more metal plates that
are separated by high resistance materials called dielectrics.
Construction
of a Capacitor
LEAD 1
METAL PLATE
LEAD 2
DIELECTRIC
The dielectric is the material that holds the electric charge (pressure), just like the rubber diaphragm holds the water
pressure. Some dielectrics may be thought of as stiff rubber, and some as soft rubber. The capacitance and working
voltage of the capacitor is controlled by varying the number and size of metal-dielectric layers, the thickness of the dielectric
layers, and the type of dielectric material used.
Capacitance is expressed in farads (F, named after Michael Faraday whose work in electromagnetic induction led to the
development of today’s electric motors and generators ), or more commonly in microfarads (μF, millionths of a farad) or
picofarads (pF, millionths of a microfarad). Almost all capacitors used in electronics vary from 1pF to 1,000μF.
Your PK-101 includes two electrolytic (10μF and 100μF) and two disc (0.005μF and 0.047μF) capacitors. (Mylar capacitors
may have been substituted for the disc ones, their construction and performance is similar). Electrolytic capacitors (usually
referred to as lytics) are high capacitance and are used mostly in power supply or low frequency circuits. Their capacitance
and voltage are usually clearly marked on them. Note that these parts have “+” and “–” polarity (orientation) markings, the
lead marked “+” should always be connected to a higher voltage than the “–” lead (all of your Wiring Diagrams account for this).
Disc capacitors are low capacitance and are used mostly in radio or high frequency applications. They don’t have polarity
markings (they can be hooked up either way) and their voltage is marked with a letter code (most are 50V). Their value is
usually marked in pF with a 3 digit code similar to the stripes used on resistors. The first 2 digits are the first 2 digits of the
capacitor’s value and the third digit tells the power of 10 to multiply by (or the number of zeros to add). For example, the
0.005μF (5,000pF) and .047μF (47,000pF) disc capacitors in your PK-101 are marked 502 and 473.
Capacitors have symbols as follows:
ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR
Symbol for
ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR
SOFT DIAPHRAGM
(–)
(+)
DISC CAPACITOR
Symbol for
DISC CAPACITOR
STIFF DIAPHRAGM
19
EXPERIMENT #8: SLOW LIGHT BULB
Starting with this experiment, we will no longer show you the Parts List or the Wiring Checklist. Refer back to the previous
experiments if you feel you need more practice in wiring the circuits. Refer back to page 10 if you need to review the resistor
color code. Connect the circuit according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram and press the switch several times. You
can see it takes time to charge and discharge the large capacitor because the LED lights up and goes dim slowly. Replace
the 3.3kΩ resistor with the 1kΩ resistor; now the charge time is faster but the discharge time is the same. Do you know
why? When the switch is closed the battery charges the capacitor through the 1kΩ resistor and when the switch is opened
the capacitor discharges through the 10kΩ, which has remained the same. Now replace the 100μF capacitor with the 10μF.
Both the charge and discharge times are now faster since there is less capacitance to charge up. If you like you may
experiment with different resistors in place of the 1kΩ and 10kΩ. If you observe the LED carefully, you might start to
suspect the relationship between the component values and the charging and discharging times - the charge/discharge
times are proportional to both the capacitance and the resistance in the charge/discharge path!
A simple circuit like this is used to slowly light or darken a room, such as a movie theater.
+9V
3.3kΩ
10kΩ
+
100μF
-
CAPACITOR
20
EXPERIMENT #9: SMALL DOMINATES LARGE - CAPACITORS IN SERIES
Take a look at the schematic, it is almost the same circuit as the last experiment except that now there are two capacitors
in series. What do you think will happen? Connect the circuit according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram and press
the switch several times to see if you are right.
Looking at the water diagram and the name of this experiment should have made it clear - the smaller 10μF will dominate
(control) the response since it will take less time to charge up. As with resistors, you could change the order of the two
capacitors and would still get the same results (try this if you like). Notice that while resistors in series add together to
make a larger circuit resistance, capacitors in series combine to make a smaller circuit capacitance. Actually, capacitors
in series combine the same way resistors in parallel combine (using the same mathematical relationship given in
Experiment 4). For this experiment, 10μF and 100μF in series perform the same as a single 9.1μF.
In terms of our water pipe analogy, you could think of capacitors in series as adding together the stiffness of their rubber
diaphragms.
+9V
3.3kΩ
10kΩ
+
100μF
-
+
10μF
-
CAPACITOR
21
EXPERIMENT #10: LARGE DOMINATES SMALL - CAPACITORS IN PARALLEL
Now you have capacitors in parallel, and you can probably predict what will happen. If not, just think about the last
experiment and about how resistors in parallel combine, or think in terms of the water diagram again. Connect the circuit
according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram and press the switch several times to see.
Capacitors in parallel add together just like resistors in series, so here 10μF + 100μF = 110μF total circuit capacitance. In
the water diagram, we are stretching both rubber diaphragms at the same time so it will take longer than to stretch either
one by itself. If you like you may experiment with different resistor values as you did in experiment #8. Although you do
have two disc capacitors and a variable capacitor (which will be discussed later) there is no point in experimenting with them
now, their capacitance values are so small that they would act as an open switch in any of the circuits discussed so far.
+9V
3.3kΩ
10kΩ
+
100μF
10μF
-
22
EXPERIMENT #11: MAKE YOUR OWN BATTERY
Connect the circuit according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram. Note that one side of the battery and resistor are
unconnected and there is a wire connected only to the 100μF capacitor. At this time no current will flow because nothing
is connected to the battery. Now hold the loose wire and touch it to the positive battery wire and then remove it, the battery
will instantly charge the capacitor since there is no resistance (actually there is some internal resistance in the battery and
some in the wires but these are very small). The capacitor is now charged and is storing the electricity it received from the
battery. It will remain charged as long as the loose wire is kept away from any metal. Now touch the loose wire to loose
side of the 3.3kΩ resistor and watch the LED. It will initially be very bright but diminishes quickly as the capacitor
discharges. Repeat charging and discharging the capacitor several times. You can also discharge the 100μF in small
bursts by only briefly touching the 3.3kΩ. If you like you can experiment with using different values in place of the 3.3kΩ;
lower values will make the LED brighter but it will dim faster while with higher resistor values the LED won’t be as bright
but it will stay on longer. You can also put a resistor in series with the battery when you charge the capacitor, then it will
take time to fully charge the capacitor. What do you think would happen if you used a smaller capacitor value?
When the capacitor is charged up it is storing electricity which could be used elsewhere at a later time - it is like a battery!
However, an electrolytic capacitor is not a very efficient battery. Storing electric charge between the plates of a capacitor
uses much more space than storing the same amount of charge chemically within a battery - compare how long the 100μF
lit the LED above with how your 9V battery runs all of your experiments!
Now is a good time to take notes for yourself on how capacitors work, since next we introduce the diode.
(UNCONNECTED)
(LOOSE WIRE)
3.3kΩ
(UNCONNECTED)
+9V
+
100μF
-
23
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE #1
1. __________ are the particles that flow between atoms as part of an electric current.
2. A __________ circuit occurs when wires or components from different parts of the circuit accidentally connect.
3. A __________ produces electricity using a chemical reaction.
4. To decrease the current in a circuit you may decrease the voltage or __________ the resistance.
5. Materials which have very high resistance are called __________ and materials which have very low resistance are
called __________.
6. Adding resistors in parallel __________ the resistance while adding resistors in series _________ the resistance.
7. The electrical resistance of water __________ when salt is dissolved in it.
8. Capacitors are components that can store __________ for periods of time.
9. Capacitors have low resistance to __________ current and high resistance to __________ current.
10. Adding capacitors in parallel __________ the capacitance while adding capacitors in series __________ the
capacitance.
(Answers are on page 3)
INTRODUCTION TO DIODES
The Diode: The diode is an electronic device that allows current to flow in only one direction. In our water pipe analogy it
may be thought of as the check valve shown here:
Water-Tight Pivot
Spring
Movable Plate
Solid Stop
The check valve only allows water to flow in one direction, to the right in this drawing. There is a small spring and if the
water pressure exceeds a certain level then the spring will be stretched and the valve opened. If the pressure is to flow to
the left then the plate will be pressed against the solid stop and no water will flow.
Electronic diodes are made from materials called semiconductors, so-called because they have more resistance than
metal conductors but less than insulators. Most semiconductors are made of Silicon but Gallium Arsenide and Germanium
are also used. Their key advantage is that by using special manufacturing processes their resistance is decreased under
certain operating conditions. The manufacturing processes create two regions of permanent electrical charge, quite
different from charging a capacitor. While the physics of how this works is quite complicated, the effect is that once the
voltage across the diode exceeds a small turn-on level (0.7V for Silicon) the resistance of the diode becomes very low in
one direction (so low in fact that the current flow must be limited by other resistances in the circuit to prevent damage to
the diode). When the diode is turned on like this we refer to it as being forward-biased. In the other direction the diode
is always a very high resistance, we call this reverse-biased. The schematic symbol, shown below, indicates that the diode
will allow current to flow from left to right but block current flow from right to left.
DIODE
Symbol for DIODE
24
EXPERIMENT #12: ONE - WAY CURRENT
Your PK-101 includes one diode, a 1N4148, which is a standard diode widely used in industry. Connect the circuit and
press the switch, the LED lights up. The diode’s turn-on voltage of 0.7V is easily exceeded and the diode has little effect
on the circuit. Now reverse the wires to the diode and try again, nothing happens. The diode is now reverse-biased and
blocks current flow through the circuit, just like the plate and solid stop block the water flow in the drawing shown above.
You’ve probably noticed a similarity between the schematic symbols for the diode and the LED. Re-wire the diode back to
forward-biased or remove it from the circuit and then reverse the wires to the LED. Press the switch and LED doesn’t light,
do you know why?
Starting now, the equivalent water diagrams will no longer be presented.
DIODE
(position side with black
stripe as shown)
+9V
3.3kΩ
25
EXPERIMENT #13: ONE-WAY LIGHT BULBS
Diodes made of Gallium Arsenide need a higher voltage across them to turn on, usually about 1.5V This turn-on energy is
so high that light is generated when current flows through the diode. These diodes are the light emitting diodes that you
have been using.
To demonstrate this, connect the circuit below (note that the two LEDs will be referred to as “left” and “right”). Touch the
loose wire to the battery and watch the left LED. It will be bright initially as a current flows to charge up the 100μF capacitor
and then will dim as the capacitor voltage reaches the battery voltage. The right LED will not light since it is reverse-biased.
Then touch the loose wire to the negative side of the battery (“ground”) and watch the right LED. It will be bright initially
as a current flows to discharge the 100μF capacitor and then will dim as the capacitor voltage drops to zero. The left LED
will not light since now it is reverse-biased.
As in Experiment #11, you may try different resistor values in this circuit if you like.
(UNCONNECTED)
(LOOSE WIRE)
“RIGHT” LED
3.3kΩ
(flat side is
on right)
+9V
+
-
“LEFT” LED
100μF
(flat side is
on right)
(LOOSE WIRE)
26
INTRODUCTION TO TRANSISTORS
The Transistor: The transistor was first developed in 1949 at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the name being derived from
“transfer resistor”. It has since transformed the world. Did you ever hear of something called a vacuum tube? They are
large and can be found in old electronic equipment and in museums. They are seldom used today and few engineers even
study them now. They were replaced by transistors, which are much smaller and more reliable.
The transistor is best described as a current amplifier - it uses a small amount of current to control a large amount of
current. There are many different families of transistors but we will only discuss the type included in your PK-101, called
the NPN Bipolar Junction Transistor or BJT and made of the semiconductor silicon. It has three connection points, called
the emitter, base, and collector.
In our water pipe analogy the BJT may be thought of as the lever pivot shown here:
Notice that it includes a check valve that is connected to a lever arm. A small amount of “base current” pushes on the check
valve which turns and opens the lever arm. But before this base current can start to flow though it must have enough water
pressure to overcome the spring in the check valve (usually 0.7V). If the base pipe is much smaller than the collector and
emitter pipes, then a small base current IB flowing in will cause a large collector current IC to flow in, these will combine
and exit the device as emitter current IE.
In transistors the emitter, base, and collector are different regions of permanent electrical charge, producing the effects
described above for the lever pivot. The properties and uses of transistors may seem confusing at first but will become
clear as you proceed through the experiments. All but one of the remaining experiments will use the transistor, so its
importance to electronics should be apparent.
A key advantage of semiconductors is that several transistors can be manufactured on a single piece of silicon. This led
to the development of Integrated Circuit (IC) technology, in which careful control of complex manufacturing processes has
enabled entire circuits consisting of transistors, diodes, resistors, and capacitors to be constructed on a silicon base. Some
ICs used in computers now have more than a million transistors on them. Spectacular improvements in cost, size, and
reliability have been achieved as a result.
The schematic symbol for a transistor is shown below:
TRANSISTOR
Symbol for NPN TRANSISTOR
COLLECTOR
BASE
Flat
EMITTER
Note the small arrow in the emitter, this indicates which direction the current will flow through the device.
27
EXPERIMENT #14: THE ELECTRONIC SWITCH
Your PK-101 includes three transistors which are all type 2N3904 NPN Bipolar Junction Transistors. Connect the circuit
according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram. Although there is a closed circuit with the battery, 1kΩ, LED, and
transistor, no current will flow since the transistor is acting like an open circuit (with no base current the lever arm remains
shut). Press the switch; a base current now flows and opens the lever arm, resulting in a large collector current which lights
the LED. The transistor is being used as an electronic switch. Although there is still a normal switch in this circuit, there
could be many electronic switches controlled by one normal switch.
+9V
1k
Ω
TRANSISTOR
(Note position
of flat side)
10kΩ
(flat side is
on left)
EXPERIMENT #15: THE CURRENT AMPLIFIER
Connect the circuit and press the switch. The right LED in the collector path is brighter than the left LED in the base path
because the base current is amplified by the transistor. The current gain of a transistor varies anywhere from 10 to 1,000
depending on the type of transistor, the ones in your PK-101 have a gain of about 200.
Note that the battery voltage and circuit resistance will limit the current gain. For example, if you replace the 1kΩ in this
circuit with a 33kΩ then the current gain will only be about 3. The circuit resistances, not transistor itself, are limiting the
current and the transistor is said to be saturated.
+9V
1kΩ
TRANSISTOR
(Note position
of flat side)
100kΩ
(note how the
LED flat sides are
positioned)
28
EXPERIMENT #16: THE SUBSTITUTE
Look again at the water pipe analogy for the transistor, the lever pivot:
What would happen if the base and collector were connected together? Once there is enough pressure to overcome the
spring in check valve DE (0.7V) there would be only slight resistance and no current gain. This situation should sound
familiar since this is exactly how a diode operates. When the base and collector of a transistor are connected together the
transistor becomes a diode.
Connect the circuit and press the switch, the LED lights. This is the same circuit as Experiment 12, One-Way Current. This
demonstrates how transistors can be substituted for diodes, and this will occur in practice sometimes for manufacturing
reasons.
3.3kΩ
+9V
(Note position
of flat sides)
29
EXPERIMENT #17: STANDARD TRANSISTOR BIASING CIRCUIT
Connect the circuit and press the switch while turning the variable resistor from right to left (from 0Ω to 50kΩ). The 100kΩ
and variable 50kΩ are a voltage divider that sets the voltage at the transistor base. If this voltage is less than 0.7V then
the transistor will be off and no current will flow through the LED. As the base voltage increases above 0.7V a small base
current starts to flow, which is amplified to produce a larger collector current that lights the LED. As the base voltage
continues to increase the transistor becomes saturated and the LED brightness will not increase further.
This circuit will normally be used with the voltage divider set so that the transistor is turned on but is not saturated. Although
this circuit does not have many applications by itself, when a small alternating current (AC) signal is applied to the base
then a larger copy of the signal will appear at the collector - a small-signal amplifier!
3.3kΩ
100kΩ
1kΩ
+9V
50kΩ
VARIABLE
RESISTOR
30
EXPERIMENT #18: VERY SLOW LIGHT BULB
Connect the circuit and press the switch, hold it down for several seconds. The LED will slowly light up. Release the switch
and the LED will slowly go dark.
When you first press the switch all of the current flowing through the 100kΩ resistor goes to charge up the capacitor, the
transistor and LED will be off. When the capacitor voltage rises to 0.7V the transistor will first turn on and the LED will turn
on. As the capacitor voltage continues to rise the current flow through the 470Ω resistor and into the transistor base will
increase. The current through the LED will then rise rapidly due to the transistor’s current gain.
When the switch is released the capacitor will discharge through the 470Ω resistor and the transistor base, the LED will
dim as this discharge current decreases. When the capacitor voltage drops below 0.7V the transistor will turn off. If you
get impatient you may touch a wire between the two capacitor springs to discharge it instantly.
Do you know how to change the capacitor charge and discharge times? The 100kΩ resistor controls the charge time, the
470Ω controls the discharge, and the capacitor controls both the charge and discharge. Replace these parts with some
different values and observe the effects.
Compare this circuit to the one you used in Experiment 8 when we first introduced the capacitor. By adding a transistor
you can use a large resistor for a slow charge time and still have a bright LED!
+9V
3.3kΩ
100kΩ
470Ω
+
100μF
-
31
EXPERIMENT #19: THE DARLINGTON
This circuit is very similar to the last one. Connect the components and press the switch, hold it down for several seconds.
The LED will slowly light up. Release the switch and the LED stays lit.
Take a look at the schematic. All the current flowing through the emitter of the left transistor will flow to the base of the
right transistor. So the current flowing into the base of the left transistor will be amplified twice, once by each transistor.
This configuration is called the Darlington configuration. It has very high current gain and very high input resistance at
the base. Since there are now two transistors to turn on, the capacitor voltage must exceed 1.4V before the LED will start
to light. And, since the input current to the base is so small, it will take much longer to discharge the capacitor. But the
circuit is functionally the same as Experiment 18 and the LED will eventually go dark, though it may take a few minutes.
You can experiment with changing some of the component values if you like.
+9V
3.3kΩ
100kΩ
(Note positions
of flat sides)
+
-
470Ω
100μF
EXPERIMENT #20: THE TWO FINGER TOUCH LAMP
Take a look at the schematic. You’re probably wondering how it can work, since nothing is connected to the transistor base.
It can’t, but there is another component that isn’t shown in the schematic. That component is you.
Connect the circuit according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram, including the two loose wires. Now touch the loose
battery wire with one finger and the loose transistor wire with another. The LED may be dimly lit. The problem is your
fingers aren’t making good enough electrical contact with the springs. Wet your fingers with water or saliva and touch the
springs again. The LED should be very bright now. You saw in Experiment 7 how water can conduct electricity and since
your body is mostly water it shouldn’t surprise you that your body can also conduct. Your body’s resistance varies a lot,
but is typically a few hundred kilohms. Think of this circuit as a touch lamp since when you touch it the LED lights. You
may have seen such a lamp in the store or already have one in your home.
(LOOSE WIRE)
(LOOSE WIRE)
+9V
3.3kΩ
470Ω
(switch is left unconnected
for future experiments)
32
EXPERIMENT #21: THE ONE FINGER TOUCH LAMP
Actually, the touch lamps you see in stores only need to be touched by one finger to light, not two. So let’s see if we can
improve the last circuit to only need one finger. Connect the circuit, the only changes from the last experiment are the
addition of the 1kΩ and 10kΩ resistors. These two resistors plug into adjacent (but not connected) holes g10 and g11.
Wet a large area of one of your fingers and touch it to the resistor metal coming out of these two holes at the same time;
the LED lights. To make it easier for one finger to touch the two contacts, touch lamps or other touch devices will have the
metal contacts interweaved as shown below and will also be more sensitive so that you don’t have to wet your finger to
make good contact.
TRANSISTOR
CONNECTION
BATTERY
CONNECTION
This circuit is still different from the touch lamps sold in stores because the LED goes dark if you remove your finger from
it. We need a way of remembering when you’ve touched the lamp to turn it on or off - we need a memory, and we’ll show
you one in Experiment 45.
+9V
3.3kΩ
1k
Ω
470Ω
10kΩ
33
EXPERIMENT #22: THE VOLTMETER
Make sure you have a strong 9V battery for this experiment. Connect the circuit according to the Wiring Diagram and
schematic, connect the battery last since this will turn on the circuit. And be sure to disconnect the battery (or turn off your
power supply) when you’re not using the circuit to avoid draining the battery. The part of the circuit to the left of the dashed
line in the schematic is the voltmeter, the two resistors on the right produce a voltage that you will measure. Notice that
the variable resistor (VR) will always act as a 50kΩ across the battery but by turning its knob you adjust the voltage at the
base of the left transistor. By turning this knob you can make one LED brighter than the other, indicating that the voltages
at the bases of the two transistors are not equal. Adjust the VR so that the two LEDs are equally bright. The transistor
base voltages are now equal. To determine what voltage you have measured, simply subtract the percentage you turned
your VR dial from 100 and multiply by 0.09.
If you like you can calculate what voltage you should have measured. Your measurement may differ from this due to the
tolerances in the resistors and the VR dial, but you should be close. The resistors on the right are a voltage adjuster, just
like the VR is, and the voltage you measured (at the base of the right transistor) is:
VCalculated
RLower
= ————————— x VBattery
RUpper + RLower
33kΩ
= ———————— x 9V = 6.9V
10kΩ + 33kΩ
This circuit is a form of the Differential Pair transistor configuration, which is widely used in integrated circuits. If the
transistor base voltages are equal then the currents through the LEDs and collectors will also be equal. If one base voltage
is higher than the other then that transistor will have more current flowing through it’s collector and associated LED.
You can now replace the two resistors on the right with a different combination and make a new voltage measurement. The
table below lists different combinations of your PK-101 resistors that you can measure, but you don’t have to measure them
all. In some combinations resistors are placed in series or parallel to create new values.
Remember to disconnect the battery when you’re not using the circuit to avoid draining the battery.
Upper Resistor
10kΩ
33kΩ
33kΩ
100kΩ
3.3kΩ
10kΩ
1kΩ
3.3kΩ
10kΩ
parallel 33kΩ, 100kΩ
series 10kΩ, 33kΩ
100kΩ
1kΩ
parallel 3.3kΩ, 10kΩ
series 1kΩ, 3.3kΩ
10kΩ
Lower Resistor
33kΩ
10kΩ
100kΩ
33kΩ
10kΩ
3.3kΩ
3.3kΩ
1kΩ
parallel 33kΩ, 100kΩ
10kΩ
100kΩ
series 10kΩ, 33kΩ
parallel 3.3kΩ, 10kΩ
1kΩ
10kΩ
series 1kΩ, 3.3kΩ
Measured Voltage
34
Calculated Voltage
6.9V
2.1
6.8
2.2
6.8
2.2
6.90
2.1
6.4V
2.6V
6.3
2.7
6.4
2.6
6.3
2.7
(Note positions
of flat sides)
35
33kΩ
470Ω
10
kΩ
+9V
EXPERIMENT #23: 1.5 VOLT BATTERY TESTER
Make sure you have a strong 9V battery for this experiment. Connect the circuit, and connect the battery last since this
will turn on the circuit. And be sure to disconnect the battery when you’re not using the circuit to avoid draining the battery.
This circuit is a variation of the differential pair configuration used in Experiment 22, you will use it to test your 1.5V
batteries. Take any 1.5V battery you have (AAA, AA, A, B, C, or D cells) and hold it between the loose wires (the base of
the right transistor and ground, be sure to connect to the (+) and (-) battery terminals as shown).
If the right LED is bright and the center LED is off then your 1.5V battery is good, otherwise your 1.5V battery is weak and
should be replaced soon. Don’t throw any weak batteries away without making sure some measure good with this test
because all batteries could fail if your circuit is wired incorrectly, or if your 9V battery is weak.
This circuit uses two diodes (the left transistor is being used as a diode) to create a voltage reference. The turn-on voltage
drops for the diodes are combined to produce a constant voltage of about 1.1V at the base of the center transistor. (We
said earlier that a diode turn-on voltage is 0.7V, but it varies slightly depending on the current. In this application the drops
will be about 0.55V for each). This is compared to the 1.5V battery voltage at the base of the right transistor, in the same
manner as Experiment 21. A strong 1.5V battery will easily exceed 1.1V and only the right transistor and LED will be on,
while the center transistor and left LED will be shut off. But if the 1.5V battery is weak then the base voltages will be nearly
equal and NPN-center and LED-left will also be on. Diodes are often used to make voltage references like this in electronic
circuits.
Remember to disconnect the battery when you’re not using the circuit to avoid draining the battery.
to (+) side of battery
+9V
470Ω
33kΩ
to (-) side of battery
(left unconnected for
future experiments)
36
EXPERIMENT #24: 9 VOLT BATTERY TESTER
Make sure you have a strong 9V battery for this experiment. Connect the circuit, and connect the wire to the battery last
since this will turn on the circuit. And be sure to disconnect this battery wire when you’re not using the circuit to avoid
draining the battery. This time you will measure 9V batteries, just like the one you may be using to power your PK-101.
Take the battery you want to test and hold it between the loose wires (the 3.3kΩ resistor and ground, be sure to connect
to the (+) and (–) battery terminals as shown). If LED-right is bright and LED-left is off then your battery is good, otherwise
your battery is weak and should be replaced soon. Don’t throw any weak batteries away without making sure some
measure good with this test because all batteries could fail if your circuit is wired incorrectly.
As you’d expect, this circuit is similar to Experiments 22 and 23. From the schematic you can see that we are using resistors
to set the voltages at the bases of the transistors. The resistor values were selected so that if the two battery voltages are
equal then the right transistor’s base will have a higher voltage and only LED-right will be lit (as in Experiment 23 when we
had a good 1.5V battery). In fact, LED-left will only be on if your PK-101’s battery voltage is at least 2V higher than that of
the battery you are testing. We do this because we don’t want to reject a good battery that’s just not as good as our
reference battery. Of course, if our reference battery is weak then any battery tested will appear good.
Remember to disconnect the battery (or turn off your power supply) when you’re not using the circuit to avoid wasting
energy.
to (+) side of battery
+9V
10kΩ
470Ω
33kΩ
3.3kΩ
to (-) side of battery
Now it’s time to introduce another component.....
37
EXPERIMENT #25: BATTERY IMMUNIZER
Connect the circuit according to the Wiring Diagram and schematic. Note that the collectors of the center and right
transistors are not connected although their wires cross over each other in the schematic. Connect the loose wire to (+)18
or any of the (+) holes in the same row (which are connected to the battery); the LED is bright. Now connect the loose
wire to the emitter of the left transistor (holes f15, g15, h15, i15, or j15) as shown in the schematic; the LED is just as bright.
So we made a change and nothing happened, does this seem like a dull experiment? It may seem dull but the important
idea here is that we made a big change to the circuit but nothing happened to the LED.
Take a look at the schematic. The circuit to the left of the loose wire reduces the voltage to 4.7V. You connect the loose
wire to either the 9V battery voltage or the modified 4.7V. The circuit to the right of the loose wire creates a fixed current
to the LED, which will not change even if the voltage (9V or 4.7V) to the circuit changes. So when you changed which
voltage the loose wire was connected to, you didn’t see any change in LED brightness.
In case you’re not convinced by this, let’s change the circuit to prove it. Place a second LED in series with the 3.3kΩ resistor
(reconnect the 3.3kΩ so that it is between d20 and f20, add an LED into holes e20 and f21 with the LED’s flat side in f21).
Now connect the loose wire to the two voltages as before and you should see the new LED change between bright and
dark while the old one remains bright as before.
You could use a circuit like this when you don’t want your performance to be affected as your voltage drops, perhaps due
to a battery weakening over a long period of use. So you could say your circuit is immune to (protected against) a weak
battery.
(LOOSE WIRE)
33kΩ
+9V
470Ω
3.3kΩ
38
DIODE
EXPERIMENT #26: THE ANTI-CAPACITOR
Recall that capacitors blocked direct current (DC) but passed alternating current (AC). Take a look at Experiment 8 again
and remember that it took time to light the LED because you had to charge the capacitor first; the capacitor passed the
initial current surge through to ground (the negative side of the battery) but blocked the current once it stabilized, forcing it
to go through the LED. The inductor is the counterpart to this - it blocks current surges (AC) but passes stable currents
(DC). Before explaining the inductor further, let’s demonstrate it using almost the same circuit as in Experiment 8.
We will be using an inductor that is part of the transformer, we’ll explain more about this later. Connect the circuit and press
the switch several times. The LED will blink once when the switch is pressed. Note how this is different from the capacitor,
when the LED became bright when the switch was pressed and stayed bright until the switch was released. The inductor
effects are brief, so we are using the transistor to amplify the current to the LED and make the inductor’s effects easier to
see.
Now remove the wire from hole b26 (on the transformer), connect it to hole b28, and press the switch a few more times.
The LED will not blink as brightly now, because we are using less inductance.
+9V
1kΩ
470Ω
S
P
39
TRANSFORMER
(Primary side has 3
wires while secondary
side has only 2 wires.
The primary goes in
holes e26, e28, and e30
while the secondary
goes into f26 and f30.)
The Inductor: The inductor can best be described as electrical momentum (momentum is the power a moving object
has). In our water pipe analogy the inductor can be thought of as a very long hose wrapped around itself many times as
shown here:
LARGE HOSE FILLED WITH WATER
WATER PIPE
PLUNGER
Since the hose is long it contains many gallons of water. When pressure is applied to one end of the hose with a plunger
the water would not start to move instantly, it would take time to get the water moving. After a while the water would start
to move and pick up speed. (This is also similar to a long freight train, which takes more than a mile to get to full speed or
to stop). The speed would increase until limited by the friction (resistance) of the hose as normal. If you try to instantly
stop the water from moving by holding the plunger, the momentum of the water would create a large negative pressure
(suction) that would pull the plunger from your hands.
Inductors are made by coiling a wire, hence they are also called coils. From the above analogy it should be apparent that
a coiled hose will pass DC (a constant or unchanging current) with only the resistance of the hose, which in electronics will
be very low since the hose is a wire. If the pressure on the plunger is alternated (pushed then pulled) fast enough then
the water in the coil will never start moving and the AC (constantly changing current) will be blocked. Coils in electronics
follow these same principles - a coil will pass DC and block AC. Recall from above that a capacitor will block DC but pass
AC. When determining the response of a circuit to DC, inductors are treated as closed switches and capacitors are treated
as open switches. For the AC response, the values of the inductors and capacitors must be considered along with the rate
at which the current alternates (called the frequency). For DC changes to the circuit (called transients), such as closing
the switch to connect a battery to capacitor circuit, the circuit response is initially AC and then reverts to DC.
How do inductors in series and parallel add up? You saw in Experiment 26 that changing the connection point on the
inductor (to reduce the length of the coiled wire) reduced LED brightness. If you think of this in terms of the coiled hose
then it is easy - longer hoses will hold more water, hence more inductance. Two hoses in parallel will result in more water
coming out (less inductance), since the same water pressure applies to each hose. This situation should sound familiar
since inductances in series and parallel add together just like resistors do. For advanced students, the mathematical
relationship is (“L” represents inductance):
L
L
Series
= L1 + L2
Parallel
L1 x L2
= ______________
L1 + L2
The inductance is expressed in henrys (H, named after Joseph Henry who developed electromagnetic induction at the
same time as Faraday), or more commonly in millihenrys (mH, thousandths of a henry) or microhenrys (μH, millionths of
a henry). A typical inductor and its symbol are shown below:
Symbol for INDUCTOR
INDUCTOR
Inductors and Transformers: Our water pipe analogy we have been using all this time is not entirely accurate. Electric
current is not the same as water. It is a flow of sub-atomic particles called electrons that not only have electric properties
but also magnetic properties; in the water pipe analogy you would have to think of the water as containing millions of very
small magnets. Inductance expresses the magnetic effects between electrons flowing in the wire of a coil. The number of
turns (windings), diameter, and length of the coil affect the inductance, the thickness of the wire does not. The material
inside the coil also affects the inductance; if you wrap the coil wire around an iron bar (which has strong magnetic
properties) then the magnetic effects are increased and the inductance is increased. This does not apply to capacitors,
which store electric charge in an electric field, not a magnetic field.
40
If you wrap two wires from different circuits around different ends of an iron bar then a current flowing through the wire from
the first circuit will magnetically create a current in the wire from the second circuit! If the second coil has twice as many
turns (more magnetic linkage) as the first coil then the second coil will have twice the voltage but half the current as the
first coil. A device like this is called a transformer. Your PK-101 includes one. It consists of a 400mH coil (called the
primary) and a 2mH coil (called the secondary) wrapped around an iron bar. Both coils have middle tap points allowing
use of half the coil’s inductance. In Experiment 26 we used the 400mH coil by itself but usually it will be used to drive a
speaker, which needs a high current with low voltage. The symbol for a transformer is shown on the right:
TRANSFORMER
Symbol for TRANSFORMER
P
S
The magnetic field created in an iron bar by an electric current in the coil around it can be harnessed if the bar is allowed
to rotate - it is a motor. It could be used to drive the wheels of a car, for example. The reverse is also true, if a magnet
within a coil is rotating then an electric current is created in the coil - a generator. These two statements may not seem
important to you at first but they are actually the foundation of our present society. Nearly all of the electricity used in our
world is produced at enormous generators driven by steam or water pressure. Wires are used to efficiently transport this
energy to homes and businesses where it is used. Motors convert the electricity back into mechanical form to drive
machinery and appliances.
It must be remembered that all of the inductance properties discussed here for coils and transformers only apply to AC
(alternating current). For DC, inductors act as wires with no special properties and transformers are just two separate,
unconnected wires.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE #2
1. A diode has very high resistance when it is __________-biased.
2. Diodes whose turn-on energy is so high that light is generated are known as __________.
3. The transistor is best thought of as a current __________.
4. An __________ circuit is one that might have many resistors, diodes, capacitors and transistors on a single piece of
silicon.
5. A transistor is __________ when the circuit resistances, not the transistor itself, are limiting the transistor’s collector
current.
6. Inductors have low resistance to __________ current and high resistance to __________ current.
7. Adding inductors in parallel __________ the inductance while adding inductors in series __________ the inductance.
8. Electrons not only have electric properties but also __________ properties.
9. Wrapping a coil around an iron bar __________ the inductance.
10. If the second coil in a transformer has half as many turns as the first coil, then the second coil will have __________
as much alternating current as the first coil.
(Answers are on page 3)
41
EXPERIMENT #27: THE MAGNETIC BRIDGE
Connect the circuit and press the switch several times. LED-left blinks when the switch is pressed and LED-right blinks
when the switch is released.
Although the LED may blink in the same manner as the last experiment, the method is quite different. There is no wire
connection across the transformer, its DC resistance is very high. When you press the switch there is a sudden surge of
current (AC) through the inductor that magnetically creates a current on the other side of the transformer, lighting LED-left.
The current from the battery quickly settles after the initial surge (becomes DC) and the magnetic induction stops because
the current is no longer changing, hence no current flows through the LED even though there is current on the battery side
of the transformer. When you release the switch the sudden drop in current through the transformer magnetically creates
a new current on the other side of the transformer, but this time in the opposite direction so LED-right lights instead of LEDleft. Again, this current is brief and the LED only blinks. The transformer has many more turns (more inductance) on the
LED side than on the battery side; this boosts the voltage to the LEDs (though it also lowers the current). If you reverse
the transformer then you won’t have enough voltage to turn on the LEDs.
You might think of a transformer as a magnetic bridge in electronics, since we use magnetism to cross a barrier that
electricity cannot cross by itself. Transformers are mainly used for isolating and buffering different circuits from each other,
and you will soon see some examples of this.
TRANSFORMER
(Primary side has 3
wires while secondary
side has only 2 wires.
+9V
S
P
42
(Note positions
of LED flat sides)
EXPERIMENT #28: THE LIGHTHOUSE
Connect the circuit. Notice that the transformer is being used as two coils (inductors) here. Also notice that two transformer
taps are not connected although their wires cross in the schematic. Press the switch and hold it down for a while. The
LED blinks every few seconds, like a tiny lighthouse!
Notice that the LED blinks at a constant rate. This circuit is called an oscillator. It uses feedback. Feedback is when you
adjust the input to something based on what its output is doing. The collector signal is fed back to the base through a coil
(part of the transformer) and the 100μF capacitor. If you disconnect this feedback path then the LED will be on
continuously, because the feedback is what turns the transistor on and off. The rate at which the transistor is turned on
and off is called the frequency and is controlled by the resistor, capacitor, and coil in the circuit. You can speed up the
frequency (the LED blink rate) by changing the resistor or capacitor to smaller values. Try replacing the 1MΩ resistor with
the 100kΩ resistor and see what happens.
Feedback is necessary for this circuit to work, but in some cases it can be harmful. In an auditorium or concert hall you
sometimes hear a microphone scream when it is located too close to the speaker. In this case the sound from the speaker
is feeding back into the microphone.
(1MΩ = brown-black-green-gold)
+9V
100μF
S
1MΩ
P
43
EXPERIMENT #29: ELECTRONIC SOUND
Now it’s time to make some noise. To do this we need a speaker. A speaker converts electrical energy into sound. It does
this by using the energy of an AC electrical signal to create mechanical vibrations. These vibrations create variations in air
pressure, called sound waves, which travel across the room. You “hear” sound when your ears feel these air pressure
variations. You need high current and low voltage to operate a speaker, so we will always use the transformer with the
speaker. (Remember that a transformer converts high-voltage/low-current to low-voltage/high-current). We create an AC
signal for the speaker using the oscillator circuit introduced in the last experiment, with minor changes. A speaker has a
schematic symbol like this:
SPEAKER
Symbol for SPEAKER
Connect the circuit, notice that two transformer taps are not connected although their wires cross in the schematic. Also
notice there are 4 resistors and 4 capacitors connected to the 3.3kΩ resistor (we are using the (+) row of holes at the
bottom to make the connections easier) and 2 loose wires connected to the transformer. We are also using the disc
capacitors for the first time, refer back to page 19 to review them if you need to. Connect the transformer to one resistor
and one capacitor at a time, then press the switch and listen. All the combinations are listed below, you don’t need to try
all of them but try some and see if there is a pattern in the frequency or pitch (a term used in music) of the sound. Record
a few comments about the sound you hear.
10kΩ
33kΩ
100kΩ
1MΩ
0.005μF
0.047μF
10μF
100μF
You may start to see the same thing we told you about the blinking LED frequency - that the frequency increases when you
lower the resistance or capacitance. It also increases if you lower the inductance, but you don’t have any other inductors
you can substitute.
Oscillators are among the most important circuits in electronics and most of your remaining experiments will use an
oscillator of some form. Although the oscillator circuits used here are simple ones, some oscillators can be the most difficult
circuits to design.
44
.005μF
SPEAKER
+9V
S
473
100μF
DISC CAPACITORS
473 marking = 0.047μF
502 marking = 0.005μF
10μF
-
45
3.
3k
Ω
1MΩ
502
100kΩ
10kΩ
+
33kΩ
P
LOOSE WIRES
EXPERIMENT #30: THE ALARM
This circuit is unusual in that you turn it on by disconnecting a wire and turn it off by connecting the wire. Connect the
circuit, including a long wire as the “trip” wire. Notice that there is no sound. Now disconnect the trip wire and you hear a
sound, an alarm.
This type of circuit is used to detect burglars or other intruders. If you use a longer trip wire, you can place it across a
doorway or window and when someone goes through the doorway or window they will trip on the wire (disconnecting it)
and the alarm will sound. This is how professional burglar alarms work, although some use beams of light across the
doorway or window instead of wire for the “trip” mechanism. The trip wire could also alert your local police station instead
of turning on the alarm here.
This circuit is the same oscillator circuit you just used except that the trip wire was added. The trip wire creates a “short
circuit” across the transistor base, so no current flows into the base and the transistor stays off. Disconnecting the trip wire
eliminates the short and the oscillator works normally.
If you like, you can adjust the loudness of the alarm by replacing the 3.3kΩ resistor with the variable resistor.
.005μF
SPEAKER
+9V
S
502
P
1MΩ
3.3KΩ
LONG “TRIP” WIRE
46
EXPERIMENT #31: MORSE CODE
The forerunner of today’s telephone system was the telegraph, which was widely used in the latter half of the 19th century.
It only had two states − on or off (that is, transmitting or not transmitting), and could not send the range of frequencies
contain in human voices or music. A code was developed to send information over long distances using this system and
a sequence of dots and dashes (short or long transmit bursts). It was named Morse Code after its inventor. It was also
used extensively in the early days of radio communications, though it isn’t in wide use today except in amateur radio (“ham”
radio). It is sometimes referred to in Hollywood movies, especially Westerns.
MORSE CODE
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
._
_...
_._.
_..
.
.._.
__.
....
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
..
.___
_._
._..
__
_.
___
.__.
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
__._
._.
...
_
.._
..._
.__
_.._
Y
Z
Period
Comma
Question
1
2
3
_.__
__..
_
. ._._
__..__
..__..
.____
..___
...__
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
...._
.....
_....
__...
___..
____.
_____
Connect the circuit, it is the same oscillator circuit that you have been using. Press the switch in long and short bursts to
make a sound pattern representing the dots and dashes shown in the table above. You can use Morse Code and this circuit
to send secret messages to friends in hearing distance without others knowing what you’re saying. If the sound bothers
others in the room then you may send Morse Code messages using flashes of light instead. Use the same circuit as you
used in Experiment 14 (The Electronic Switch) and press the switch in the manner shown here. During World War II Navy
ships sometimes communicated by flashing Morse Code messages between ships using searchlights (they did this
because radio transmissions might reveal their presence or position to the enemy).
+9V
S
473
P
100kΩ
3.3kΩ
47
EXPERIMENT #32: SIREN
Connect the circuit and press the switch. It makes a siren sound.
You saw earlier how you could change the frequency (pitch) of the oscillator by changing the oscillator’s resistance. Well
this is basically the same oscillator circuit you’ve been using except that now we are electronically varying the oscillator’s
resistance. The large 1MΩ resistor and 10μf capacitor cause the base voltage (and hence base current) on transistor NPNleft to rise slowly. As the base current slowly increases, NPN-left’s collector current also increases slowly (though it is
always much higher than the base current). NPN-left is now limiting the current just as a resistor does! Similar effects
occur after you release the switch and the 10μF slowly discharges.
If you like you can make the sound louder by adding a 1kΩ resistor in series with the base (middle wire) of NPN-right.
+9V
S
473
10kΩ
1MΩ
P
10μF
+
470Ω
-
48
EXPERIMENT #33: ELECTRONIC RAIN
Connect the circuit and press the switch. You hear a sound like raindrops. The variable resistor (VR) knob controls the
rain, turn it to the right to make a drizzle and turn to the left to make the rain come pouring down. If you find it inconvenient
to turn the VR knob while pressing the switch then just connect a wire across the switch.
Do you know how this circuit works? Remember that as you lower the oscillator’s resistance the frequency increases, and
obviously the VR controls the resistance. What would happen if you replaced the 10kΩ resistor with the 100kΩ? Try it.
The rain is now very slow, and it sounds more like a leaky faucet than raindrops.
You can experiment with changing other component values if you like.
+9V
S
10kΩ
-
P
+
10μF
-
49
μF
100
+
EXPERIMENT #34: THE SPACE GUN
Connect the circuit and press the switch several times quickly. You hear a sound like a space gun in the movies. You can
adjust the “gun” sound using the variable resistor. If you find it inconvenient to turn the VR knob while pressing the switch
then just connect a wire across the switch.
Do you know how this circuit works? It’s basically the same as the last circuit except for the 10μF capacitor, which instantly
charges up when you press the switch and then discharges by powering the circuit for a few seconds after you release the
switch.
You can experiment with changing component values if you like.
+9V
S
33kΩ
P
10μF
+
473
470Ω
-
50
EXPERIMENT #35: ELECTRONIC NOISEMAKER
Connect the circuit, connecting the battery last since it will turn the circuit on. Press the switch several times quickly. Then
turn the variable resistor knob to change the frequency of the sounds.
Do you understand what’s happening when you press the switch? You increase the oscillator capacitance by putting the
0.005μF in parallel with the 0.047μF, and this lowers the oscillator frequency.
As usual you can experiment with changing component values if you like.
.005μF
+9V
502
S
33kΩ
P
473
470Ω
51
EXPERIMENT #36: DRAWING RESISTORS
You need some more parts to do this experiment, so you’re going to draw them. Take a pencil (No. 2 lead is best but other
types will also work), SHARPEN IT, and fill in the 4 rectangles you see below. You will get better results if you place a
hard, flat surface between this page and the rest of this booklet while you are drawing. Press hard (but don’t rip the
paper) and fill in each several times to be sure you have a thick, even layer of pencil lead and try to avoid going out of
the boundaries.
Shapes to be drawn.
Use a SHARP No. 2 pencil, draw on a
hard surface, press hard and fill in
several times for best results.
Actually, your pencils aren’t made out of lead anymore (although we still call them “lead pencils”). The “lead” in your pencils
is really a form of carbon, the same material that resistors are made of. So the drawings you just made should act just like
the resistors in your Electronic Playground.
Connect the circuit, it’s the same basic oscillator circuit you have been using. Take the two loose wires and touch them to
opposite ends of the smallest rectangle you drew, you should hear a sound like an alarm. Note: you may get better
electrical contact between the wires and the drawings if you wet the wires with a few drops of water or saliva.
What kind of sound do you think you’ll get with the other drawings? (Hint: think about how resistors operate in series and
parallel combinations, or think in terms of the water pipes). Now touch the loose wires to opposite ends of the other
rectangles you drew (you may need to wet the wires again) and see if you were right. You can also slide one of the wires
along the drawing and see how the sound changes.
Making the drawn resistors longer should increase the resistance (resistors in series or longer water pipes) while making
them wider should reduce the resistance (resistors in parallel or larger water pipes). So all 4 rectangles should produce
the same sound, though you will see variations due to how thick and evenly you filled in the rectangles, and exactly where
you touch the wires. If your 4 shapes don’t sound similar then try improving your drawings.
Be sure to wash your hands after this test, unless you’re going on to Experiment 37 now.
52
+9V
S
473
P
10kΩ
3.3kΩ
LONG LOOSE WIRES
53
EXPERIMENT #37: ELECTRONIC KAZOO
Now it’s time to make your own music. This experiment will use the (almost) same circuit as the last one, so there is no
schematic or Wiring Checklist. The only difference is that you will draw a new shape. A Kazoo is a musical instrument that
is like a one-note flute, and you change the pitch (frequency) of the sound by moving a plunger up and down inside a tube.
As before, take a pencil (No. 2 lead is best but other types will also work), SHARPEN IT again, and fill in the shape you
see below. For best results, SHARPEN IT again, place a hard flat surface between this page and the rest of this
booklet while you are drawing. Press hard (but don’t rip the paper). Fill in each several times to be sure you have a
thick, even layer of pencil lead, and try to avoid going out of the boundaries. Where the shape is just a line, draw a
thick line and go over it several times. The black ink in this manual is an insulator just like paper, so you have to write
over it with your pencil.
Shape to be drawn.
Use a SHARP No. 2 pencil, draw on a
hard surface, press hard and fill in
several times for best results.
Take one loose wire and touch it to the widest part of this shape, at the upper left. Take the other loose wire and touch it
just to the right of the first wire. You should hear a high-pitch sound. How do you think the sound will change as you slide
the second wire to the right? Do it, slowly sliding all the way around to the end. The sound changes from high frequency
to low frequency, just like a kazoo. Note: you may get better electrical contact between the wires and the drawings if you
wet the wires with a few drops of water or saliva.
This circuit is nearly the same as for Experiment 29 (Electronic Sound), so you can use the notes you took there to estimate
what the resistance is at various points along your kazoo.
Be sure to wash your hands after this test, unless you’re going on to Experiment 38 now.
54
EXPERIMENT #38: ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD
This experiment will use the (almost) same circuit as the last one, so there is no schematic or Wiring Checklist. The only
difference is that you will draw a new shape.
As before, take a pencil (No. 2 lead is best but other types will also work), SHARPEN IT again, and fill in the shape you
see below. For best results, SHARPEN IT again, place a hard flat surface between this page and the rest of this
booklet while you are drawing. Press hard (but don’t rip the paper). Fill in each several times to be sure you have a
thick, even layer of pencil lead, and try to avoid going out of the boundaries. Where the shape is just a line, draw a
thick line and go over it several times. The black ink in this manual is an insulator just like paper, so you have to write
over it with your pencil.
Shape to be drawn.
Use a SHARP No. 2 pencil, draw on a
hard surface, press hard and fill in
several times for best results.
Take one loose wire and touch it to the left circle. Take the other loose wire and touch it to each of the other circles. The
various circles produce different pitches in the sound, like notes. Since the circles are like keys on a piano, you now have
an electronic keyboard! See what kind of music you can play with it. Note: you may get better electrical contact between
the wires and the drawings if you wet the wires with a few drops of water or saliva.
Now take one loose wire and touch it to the right circle (#11). Take the other wire and touch it to the circles next to the
numbers shown below, in order:
7
5
7
7
-
5
5
7
5
-
1-5-7-7-7
5
7
1-5-7-7-7-7-5-5-7-5-1
Do you recognize this nursery rhyme? It is “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
By now you see that you can draw any shape you like and make electronic sounds with it. Experiment on your own as
much as you like. The circuit here is nearly the same as for Experiment 29 (Electronic Sound), so you can use the notes
you took there to estimate what the resistance is at various points along your keyboard or any other shapes you make.
Be sure to wash your hands after this test.
55
EXPERIMENT #39: FUN WITH WATER
Connect the circuit, initially the two loose wires are unconnected so there is no sound. Now touch each wire with fingers
from different hands, you should hear a low-frequency sound. (Wetting your fingers with water or saliva will make better
electrical contact). You are using your body as an electrical component, just as you did in Experiment 20 (Two Finger Touch
Lamp). If you like you may make the sound louder by replacing the wire between a23 and a31 with a 3.3kΩ resistor
(actually this makes the circuit the same as the last experiment), though the tone of the sound will be different.
Now take a small cup (make sure it isn’t made of metal), fill it half way with water, and place the two wires into the water
but without touching each other. The sound will now have a much higher frequency because your drinking water has lower
resistance than your body. Now, with the wires still in the water making noise, add some table salt to the water and stir to
dissolve the salt. You should hear the frequency increase as you do this.
This circuit makes a good water detector. You could use it as a warning alarm in case your house starts to flood during a
storm. Or you could use the frequency of the sound as a water saltiness indicator.
You can also make a water kazoo. Pour a small amount of water on a table or the floor and spread it with your finger into
a long line. Place one of the wires at one end and slide the other along the water. You should get an effect just like the
kazoo you drew with the pencil, though the frequency will probably be different.
You’ve seen how adding salt to water decreases its resistance. So would it surprise you to know that pure water (distilled
water) has very high resistance? The drinking water you are using here has small amounts of minerals in it, which
decrease its resistance just like salt does. Your body conducts electricity because your body is mostly water, with many
things mixed in. When salt dissolves in water it breaks up into particles called ions, which are electrically charged. The
ions make it easier for electrons to travel through the water, similar to how adding impurities makes it easier for electrons
to flow through semiconductors. Their overall effect is that the resistance of the water is reduced. If you have some distilled
water in your house, try using it with this test.
+9V
S
473
P
10kΩ
LONG WIRES TO WATER
56
EXPERIMENT #40: BLINKING LIGHTS
Take a look at the schematic. This circuit configuration is a type of oscillator called an astable multivibrator. What do you
think it will do? Connect the circuit, noting that the transistor bases are not connected although their wires cross in the
schematic. Initially set the variable resistor (VR) to its minimum value (turn it to the left). Press the switch and hold it down.
One LED is on while the other is off, and they change about every second. What do you think will happen as you turn the
knob on the VR? The right LED stays on longer than the left one.
In this circuit, one transistor is always on while the other is off. In this type of oscillator there is no inductor, the frequency
is controlled only by the resistors and capacitors. The 100kΩ and 10μF determine how long the left transistor is on and
the 3.3kΩ, VR, and 100μF determine how long the right transistor is on. If you want to experiment with changing part
values, go ahead. But don’t replace the capacitors with the smaller disc ones (you’ll see why in the next experiment).
Blinking lights like this are often used to attract people’s attention.
470Ω
1kΩ
10μF
100μF
3.3kΩ
+9V
+
+
57
100kΩ
Note that battery
connection point
has changed.
Note positions of
LED and transistor
flat sides
EXPERIMENT #41: NOISY BLINKER
This circuit is similar to the last one. Connect the circuit (noting that the transistor bases are not connected although their
wires cross in the schematic). Press the switch and hold it down. The LED lights and you hear sound from the speaker.
Turn the knob on the variable resistor and the frequency of the sound changes. Can you tell what the LED is really doing?
It is actually blinking about 500 times a second, but to your eyes it appears as a blur or just dim. (This is why we told you
not to replace the large capacitors with small ones like these in the last experiment).
You can experiment with changing component values if you like. The 470Ω resistor limits the sound loudness, replace it
with a wire to make the sound louder and replace it with a 10kΩ to make the sound softer. Swapping the two capacitors
in the circuit will make the sound frequency higher, replacing them with the 10μF or 100μF will make the frequency much
lower. You can also change some of the other resistors.
.005μF
470Ω
100kΩ
1kΩ
3.3kΩ
+9V
S
473
502
58
P
EXPERIMENT #42: ONE-SHOT
Do you know what this circuit will do? Connect everything, then press the switch and release it. The LED is on for a few
seconds and then goes out. What effect do you think changing the value of the variable resistor will have? Try it. The higher
the resistance the longer the LED stays on.
This circuit is a variation of the astable multivibrator and is called a one-shot multivibrator, because the LED comes on once
each time the switch is pressed. The 33kΩ, variable resistor, and 100μF control how long the LED is on. This circuit can
be used as a timer. You might use a circuit like this with your microwave oven. You press the switch to turn the oven on
and have a knob (the variable resistor) to adjust how long the oven stays on; it then shuts off automatically.
100μF
33kΩ
3.3kΩ
1kΩ
+9V
10kΩ
59
EXPERIMENT #43: ALARM WITH SHUT-OFF TIMER
Let’s demonstrate a use for the timer circuit you just built by combining it with Experiment 30, the Alarm. Connect the circuit
(noting that the transistor bases and transformer signals are not connected although their wires cross in the schematic).
Connect the alarm trip wire and then connect the battery wire to turn the circuit on. Press the switch once. Now disconnect
the trip wire to activate the alarm. The alarm stays on for a few seconds and then goes off. Re-connect the trip wire and
press the switch to reset the alarm and timer. If you only re-connect the trip wire without resetting the timer then the alarm
won’t work the next time. You could use a circuit like this where you get lots of false alarms and you want to shut off the
alarm before the battery gets weak. Automobile alarms, for example, get lots of false alarms.
3.3kΩ
100kΩ
100μF
+9V
S
473
P
470Ω
10kΩ
33kΩ
DIODE
60
“TRIP” WIRE
EXPERIMENT #44: THE FLIP - FLOP
This circuit is yet another variation of the basic multivibrator configuration. Connect the circuit. One LED will be on, the
other off. Take the loose wire and touch it to the base of the transistor that is on (holes b15 and a27 will do, or you can
touch the resistor leads connected to these points). That transistor turns off and the other turns on. Do this a few more
times until you see that touching the “on” transistor base “flips” the transistors and the LEDs. You might say that the
transistor turning on “flips” and the one turning off “flops”. Notice that touching the “off” transistor base has no effect.
This circuit is called formally known as the bistable switch, but is nicknamed the “flip-flop” due to the way it operates. The
name flip-flop may seem silly to you at first, but variations of this circuit form one of the basic building blocks for digital
computers. This circuit can be thought of as a memory because it only changes states when you tell it to, it “remembers”
what you told it to do even though you removed the loose wire. By combining several of these circuits you can remember
a letter or number. By combining thousands of these circuits a computer can remember a small book. A typical computer
has many thousands of flip-flops, all in integrated circuit form. The operation of this circuit is simple. If NPN-left is on then
it will have a low collector voltage. Since this collector voltage also connects to NPN-right’s base, NPN-right will be off. But
if you ground NPN-left’s base then it will turn off and its collector voltage rises, turning on NPN-right. NPN-right will stay
on until you ground its base.
1kΩ
3.3kΩ
+9V
100kΩ
33kΩ
LOOSE WIRE
61
EXPERIMENT #45: FINGER TOUCH LAMP WITH MEMORY
Instead of using the wire to flip-flop the LED you may also use your fingers as you did in Experiment 20, the Two Finger
Touch Lamp. We’ll use almost the same circuit here as in the last experiment. Remove the loose wire and replace the
right LED with a diode, because we don’t need two “lamps”. Wet two fingers and hold one on 9V (the (+) row of holes)
while touching the other to one of the transistor bases. (This is easy if you touch the metal leads of the resistors connected
to these points, or you may insert wires into the holes and touch the wires). But now you must touch the base of the “off”
transistor to make them flip-flop, not the “on” base. Do you know why? Your body has more resistance than the other
resistors in the circuit and cannot “short circuit” the transistor bases to circuit ground like the wire can. So instead we
connect the off transistor to the battery to turn it on.
But this uses two fingers and in Experiment 21 we also had a one-finger version, so can we do that here? Change your
wiring (add wires or move parts) so that metal from 9V is close to metal from the transistor bases. Wet a large area of one
of your fingers and touch it to 9V and a transistor base at the same time. Now we have a one-finger touch lamp with
memory!
1kΩ
3.3kΩ
+9V
100kΩ
33kΩ
LOOSE WIRE
62
EXPERIMENT #46: THIS OR THAT
Now that you’re familiar with the flip-flop, let’s introduce some more digital circuits. Digital circuits are circuits that have only
two states, such as high-voltage/low-voltage, on/off, yes/no, and true/false. Connect the circuit. Take a look at the
schematic, it is very simple. Wires X and Y are considered to be digital inputs, so connect them to either the (+) row of
holes (9V, or HIGH) or leave them unconnected (this is the same as connecting them to 0V, or LOW). Test the four
combinations of X and Y to determine the state of the LED (ON or OFF), filling in the table below:
X
Y
LED
LOW/UNCONNECTED
LOW/UNCONNECTED
HIGH/9V
HIGH/9V
LOW/UNCONNECTED
HIGH/9V
LOW/UNCONNECTED
HIGH/9V
This type of table is called a truth table. From it, you can see that if X or Y is HIGH then the LED will be ON. Hence, this
configuration is called an OR gate. X and Y might represent two switches to turn on a light in your house. Or they might
represent sensors at a railroad crossing; if either senses a train coming they start the ding-ding sound and lower the gate.
You could also have more than two inputs, by adding more parts to your circuit and more columns to the truth table.
3.3kΩ
+9V
10kΩ
33kΩ
WIRE X
WIRE Y
63
EXPERIMENT #47: NEITHER THIS NOR THAT
Now let’s add on to the previous circuit. Everything from Experiment 46
remains in place, just add the new parts and wires shown in the schematic and
Wiring Diagram. Test the four combinations of X and Y as before to determine
the state of LED-right (ON or OFF), filling in the table at right:
X
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
Y
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LED-right
This table shows that if neither X nor Y is HIGH then LED-right is ON. Hence, this configuration is called a NOR gate. X
and Y might represent your burglar alarm and flood detector, so if neither X nor Y is on then your “all clear” light goes on.
You may also think of this as adding a NOT gate to an OR gate to produce a NOR gate. A NOT gate is just the opposite
of its input:
Input
NOT
LOW HIGH
HIGH LOW
Gates such as OR, NOR, and NOT form some of the basic building blocks for computers. The combinations of resistors
and transistors shown here to build them are a form of Resistor-Transistor-Logic, which was used extensively in early
generations of computers and which led to the development of many of today’s logic families. These basic gates are so
commonly used that they have their own symbols:
OR Gate
NOR Gate
NOT Gate
10kΩ
1kΩ
3.3kΩ
+9V
33kΩ
100kΩ
WIRE X
WIRE Y
64
EXPERIMENT #48: THIS AND THAT
Take a look at the schematic. Can you guess what kind of digital gate this is? We’ll use almost the same circuit here as
in the last experiment. Remove the wire between holes a16 and a17, and the one between holes a19 and (–)19. Add a
wire between holes a16 and a19. Also, remove the 100kΩ resistor, we’ll re-connect it later.
Test the four combinations of X and Y to determine the truth table:
X
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
Y
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LED-left
From it, you can see that if X and Y are HIGH then LED-left will be ON. Hence, this configuration is called an AND gate.
X and Y might represent two switches to turn on the same light in your house, the room switch and the master switch in
the electrical box. As with the gates we showed you earlier, you could have more than two inputs by just adding more parts
to the circuit.
Now place the 100kΩ back into the circuit (between holes b24 and b27 as before), and look at LED-right. Since you are
just adding a NOT gate as you did in the last experiment you probably know what the new truth table will look like:
X
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
Y
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LED-right
It is a NAND gate, a combination of AND and NOT. X and Y might represent different trip wires for your burglar alarm (if
either is tripped then that input goes LOW and the alarm sounds). AND and NAND have the schematic symbols shown
below:
AND Gate
NAND Gate
Combinations of AND and OR gates are used to add and multiply numbers together in computers. The additional use of
NOT, NOR, and NAND gates allows a computer to represent any input/output pattern you can think of. By combining these
gates with the memory and timing control that flip-flops provide, today’s computers are created.
65
EXPERIMENT #49: AUDIO AND, NAND
Using the LEDs for these truth tables probably seems a little boring. So let’s use an audio circuit to make a sound instead
of turning on the LED. Connect the wires according to the schematic and Wiring Diagram. Can you tell which digital gate
this circuit represents? Construct the truth table to find out.
It is the NAND gate. If you use longer wires for X and Y and leave them connected HIGH then you have an alarm with two
separate trip wires.
You can easily modify the circuit to be an AND gate. Remove the 3.3kΩ resistor, the 10μF capacitor, and wires e17-to-f17,
g17-to-c38, and a42-to-(–)42. Add wires a42-to-e17 and c38-to-(+)30. This audio circuit can also be used with the OR
and NOR gates simply by rewiring NPN-left, NPN-center, and the 10kΩ, 33kΩ resistors.
3.3kΩ
+9V
10μF
S
P
473
10kΩ
33kΩ
100kΩ
WIRE X
WIRE Y
66
EXPERIMENT #50: LOGIC COMBINATION
This last circuit is a combination of some of the other digital gates, and has 3 inputs. See if you can fill in the truth table
by just looking at the schematic. Then connect the circuit, test all eight input combinations, and see if you were right.
X
LOW
LOW
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
HIGH
HIGH
Y
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
LOW
LOW
HIGH
HIGH
Z
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LOW
HIGH
LED
LED
Predicted Measured
What could this circuit be used for? It might be used to
provide power for your telephones. Z would be controlled
by the phone company and would be high if you paid
your phone bill. X and Y could be different phones in your
house and would be high when you pick up the phone.
The transistor emitters would then provide voltage to the
rest of the telephone circuit.
Congratulations! You’ve finished all the experiments and can now show your friends how much you know about electronics!
You are now ready to move on to the next level of Elenco Electronics’ Learning Series. You can also learn how to solder
using Elenco’s line of quality soldering kits! Check out our website (http://www.elenco.com) or see the back cover of this
booklet for how to contact us to order these products.
3.
3k
Ω
+9V
100kΩ
10kΩ
WIRE X
33kΩ
WIRE Y
WIRE Z
67
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE #3
1. Adjusting the input to something based on what its output is doing is an example of __________.
2. A speaker converts electrical energy into __________ __________ variations, called sound waves.
3. An oscillator’s frequency __________ when you add resistance or capacitance.
4. A NOR gate followed by a NOT gate is the same as an __________ gate.
5. An AND gate followed by a NOT gate is the same as a __________ gate.
(Answers are on page 3)
TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE
• Check your wiring against the Wiring Diagram and the schematic, very carefully. Be sure all your wires and components
are securely in place in the correct hole and not loose. Make sure the metal in the wires and components is not
contacting any other metal, since this will create “short circuits”. Nearly all problems are due to wiring errors.
• Remember that the battery and electrolytic capacitors have “+” and “–” terminal markings, and be sure to correctly
position the transistors, LEDs, diode, and transformer as per the guides.
• Be sure you have a good 9V battery. If not sure then try a new battery.
• Be sure you understand how to read the resistor color code, so that you use the right value parts.
• Be sure you understand which breadboard holes are connected to which.
Contact ELENCO® (our address/phone/website is on the back of this booklet) if you further assistance. DO NOT contact
your place of purchase as they will not be able to help you.
68
DEFINITION OF TERMS
(Most of these are introduced and explained during the experiments.)
AC.................................... Common abbreviation for alternating current.
Alternating Current...... A current that is constantly changing.
Amp................................. Shortened name for ampere.
Ampere (A).................... The unit of measure for electric current. Commonly shortened to amp.
Amplitude....................... Strength or level of something.
Analogy.......................... A similarity in some ways.
AND Gate....................... A type of digital circuit which gives a HIGH output only if all of its inputs are HIGH.
Astable Multivibrator... A type of transistor configuration in which only one transistor is on at a time.
Atom................................The smallest particle of a chemical element, made up of electrons, protons, etc..
Audio............................... Electrical energy representing voice or music.
Base................................ The controlling input of an NPN bipolar junction transistor.
Battery............................ A device which uses a chemical reaction to create an electric charge across a material.
Bias................................. The state of the DC voltages across a diode or transistor.
Bipolar Junction
Transistor (BJT)............ A widely used type of transistor.
Bistable Switch............. A type of transistor configuration, also known as the flip-flop.
BJT.................................. Common abbreviation for Bipolar Junction Transistor.
Capacitance................... The ability to store electric charge.
Capacitor........................ An electrical component that can store electrical pressure (voltage) for periods of time.
Carbon............................ A chemical element used to make resistors.
Clockwise...................... In the direction in which the hands of a clock rotate.
Coil.................................. When something is wound in a spiral. In electronics this describes inductors, which are
coiled wires.
Collector......................... The controlled input of an NPN bipolar junction transistor.
Color Code..................... A method for marking resistors using colored bands.
Conductor...................... A material that has low electrical resistance.
Counter-Clockwise....... Opposite the direction in which the hands of a clock rotate.
Current........................... A measure of how fast electrons are flowing in a wire or how fast water is flowing in a pipe.
Darlington...................... A transistor configuration which has high current gain and input resistance.
DC....................................Common abbreviation for direct current.
Decode........................... To recover a message.
Detector......................... A device or circuit which finds something.
Diaphragm..................... A flexible wall.
Differential Pair............. A type of transistor configuration.
Digital Circuit................ A wide range of circuits in which all inputs and outputs have only two states, such as
high/low.
Diode.............................. An electronic device that allows current to flow in only one direction.
Direct Current............... A current that is constant and not changing.
Disc Capacitor.............. A type of capacitor that has low capacitance and is used mostly in high frequency circuits.
Electric Field................. The region of electric attraction or repulsion around a constant voltage. This is usually
associated with the dielectric in a capacitor.
Electricity....................... A flow of electrons between atoms due to an electrical charge across the material.
Electrolytic Capacitor.. A type of capacitor that has high capacitance and is used mostly in low frequency circuits.
It has polarity markings.
Electron.......................... A sub-atomic particle that has an electrical charge.
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Electronics..................... The science of electricity and its applications.
Emitter............................ The output of an NPN bipolar junction transistor.
Encode........................... To put a message into a format which is easier to transmit.
Farad, (F)....................... The unit of measure for capacitance.
Feedback....................... To adjust the input to something based on what its output is doing.
Flip-Flop......................... A type of transistor configuration is which the output changes every time it receives an
input pulse.
Forward-Biased............ The state of a diode when current is flowing through it.
Frequency...................... The rate at which something repeats.
Friction........................... The rubbing of one object against another. It generates heat.
Gallium Arsenide.......... A chemical element that is used as a semiconductor.
Generator....................... A device which uses steam or water pressure to move a magnet near a wire, creating an
electric current in the wire.
Germanium.................... A chemical element that is used as a semiconductor.
Ground............................ A common term for the 0V or “–” side of a battery or generator.
Henry (H)........................ The unit of measure for Inductance.
Inductance..................... The ability of a wire to create an induced voltage when the current varies, due to magnetic
effects.
Inductor.......................... A component that opposes changes in electrical current.
Insulator......................... A material that has high electrical resistance.
Integrated Circuit......... A type of circuit in which transistors, diodes, resistors, and capacitors are all constructed
on a semiconductor base.
Kilo- (K).......................... A prefix used in the metric system. It means a thousand of something.
LED..................................Common abbreviation for light emitting diode.
Leads.............................. The wires sticking out of an electronic component, used to connect it to the circuit.
Light Emitting Diode.... A diode made from gallium arsenide that has a turn-on energy so high that light is
generated when current flows through it.
Magnetic Field.............. The region of magnetic attraction or repulsion around a magnet or an AC current. This is
usually associated with an inductor or transformer.
Magnetism..................... A force of attraction between certain metals. Electric currents also have magnetic
properties.
Meg- (M)......................... A prefix used in the metric system. It means a million of something.
Micro- (μ)....................... A prefix used in the metric system. It means a millionth (0.000,001) of something.
Milli- (m)......................... A prefix used in the metric system. It means a thousandth (0.001) of something.
Momentum..................... The power of a moving object.
Morse Code................... A code used to send messages with long or short transmit bursts.
NAND Gate..................... A type of digital circuit which gives a HIGH output if some of its inputs are LOW.
NOR Gate....................... A type of digital circuit which gives a HIGH output if none of its inputs are HIGH.
NOT Gate........................ A type of digital circuit whose output is opposite its input.
NPN................................. Negative-Positive-Negative, a type of transistor construction.
Ohm’s Law..................... The relationship between voltage, current, and resistance.
Ohm, (Ω)......................... The unit of measure for resistance.
OR Gate.......................... A type of digital circuit which gives a HIGH output if any of its inputs are HIGH.
Oscillator........................ A circuit that uses feedback to generate an AC output.
Parallel........................... When several electrical components are connected between the same points in the circuit.
Pico- (p)......................... A prefix used in the metric system. It means a millionth of a millionth (0.000,000,000,001) of
something.
Pitch................................ The musical term for frequency.
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Primary........................... The larger of the two coils in a transformer.
Printed Circuit Board... A board used for mounting electrical components. Components are connected using metal
traces “printed” on the board instead of wires.
Receiver......................... The device which is receiving a message (usually with radio).
Resistance..................... The electrical friction between an electric current and the material it is flowing through; the
loss of energy from electrons as they move between atoms of the material.
Resistor.......................... Components used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit. They are made of carbon.
Resistor-TransistorLogic (RTL).................... A type of circuit arrangement used to construct digital gates.
Reverse-Biased............. When there is a voltage in the direction of high-resistance across a diode.
Saturation...................... The state of a transistor when the circuit resistances, not the transistor itself, are limiting
the current.
Schematic...................... A drawing of an electrical circuit that uses symbols for all the components.
Secondary...................... The smaller of the two coils in a transformer.
Semiconductor.............. A material that has more resistance than conductors but less than insulators. It is used to
construct diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits.
Series.............................. When electrical components are connected one after the other.
Short Circuit.................. When wires from different parts of a circuit (or different circuits) connect accidentally.
Silicon............................. The chemical element most commonly used as a semiconductor.
Solder............................. A tin-lead metal that becomes a liquid when heated to above 360 degrees. In addition to
having low resistance like other metals, solder also provides a strong mounting that can
withstand shocks.
Speaker.......................... A device which converts electrical energy into sound.
Switch............................. A device to connect (“closed” or “on”) or disconnect (“open” or “off”) wires in an electric
circuit.
Transformer................... A device which uses two coils to change the AC voltage and current (increasing one while
decreasing the other).
Transient........................ Temporary. Used to describe DC changes to circuits.
Transistor....................... An electronic device that uses a small amount of current to control a large amount of cur
rent.
Transmitter.................... The device which is sending a message (usually with radio).
Truth Table.................... A table which lists all the possible combinations of inputs and outputs for a digital circuit.
Tungsten........................ A highly resistive material used in light bulbs.
Variable Resistor.......... A resistor with an additional arm contact that can move along the resistive material and tap
off the desired resistance.
Voltage........................... A measure of how strong an electric charge across a material is.
Voltage Divider............. A resistor configuration to create a lower voltage.
Volts (V).......................... The unit of measure for voltage.
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