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Starting Electronics

In this how to start in electronics guide the best way to proceed is to get familiar with some of the tools that you will use day in day out. You do not need to know how the circuits work in the initial stages or what the parts do.

One of the most powerful tools in your arsenal will be an electronic breadboard (Protoboards) as they allow the user to easily assembly and disassembly electronic circuits without the need to use a soldering iron.

Electronic Breadboard

Flashing Led Project

Electronic parts can be used and then reused to build different circuits on a breadboard. Circuits are built by plugging parts into the breadboard and joining them using single-strand solid core wire.

Electronics is a vast subject and can be overwhelming, just take a look around your home how many items do you thing has something to do with electronics? Whatever device your using to read this page has an electronic circuit powering that device.

This guide covers everything you need to get started. Probably the best way to get started is to build a kit. This allows you to get experience of the practical side of electronics, without worrying about the theory. Sooner or later you will probably want to learn some theory, so that you can design your own circuits, but you don’t need to worry about that just yet.

As well as a kit you will need a few tools to construct circuits I will cover the most common ones later on. However, don’t be fooled into buying every tool under the sun – only the basics are needed to get started.

In the video tutorial below there is a good introduction on how to start in electronics using a bread board, this is part one of two. I found this video very helpful.

In the second part of this introduction on how to start in electronics using a bread board we look at building a very basic circuit. If you have any questions at this stage please do not hesitate to contact one of the team.

Within these pages and categories of our site we aim to feature current and time served electronic projects, design, Schematics, PCB for Engineers, Students and Hobbyist. We also aim to cover the basic maths you will need to succeed with electronics. Working on electronic projects is a great way of learning the basics of electronics, all dependent upon the type of project undertaken. There are some basic electronic components and supplies which you will need to get started so go easy in the beginning.

A good starting point will be to grab some resistors then capacitors, diodes and LED’s also switches and a breadboard. You should have a good range of resistors in different values ranging from one ohm to 10 mega ohms with a 5% tolerance. Carbon film resistors are a good choice for small electronic projects. They are inexpensive and readily available from both on-line and off-line merchants.

Another important component that is needed are capacitors. Ceramic disc capacitors or electrolytic capacitors are both good choices for beginning electronics projects, and again, a good variety would be needed in terms of values. Lower voltage capacitors (up to 50V) would certainly suffice for most beginners projects. Signal diodes are also a good buy for electronic projects and these electronic components find application in a number of projects. A package of 50, 1N914 silicon diodes are a good choice as they can be used for both switching and analogue signals.

The next electronic component to consider would be rectifier diodes which are needed in power supplies. About 20 of these diodes in varying values would be a good number to begin with.

Transistors are the next electronic components to be considered. PNP and NPN, which are the most common and widely available transistor would be needed. I recommend TO92 package for beginners.

LED’s, in a mix of colours and both rectangular and round packages are a good addition. Most standard LED’s readily available require about 3V to power them. A switch is a good component to have on hand. Often switches are used to turn your circuit on or off. If you have to choose only one to start, choose a toggle or push button switch.

Depending upon the circuits and projects, some integrated circuits would also be needed. One of the most commonly used IC is the 555 timer.

Like all of the components listed above, they are available in both through hole and surface mount packages. Start with the through hole type until you feel more comfortable soldering smaller components.

Last but not least, some hook-up wire and circuit boards are a must for electronics projects. Depending on your project, how about a project box or enclosure? These protect your circuit from the elements and dust and can be mounted with screws.

Ready to get started with electronics? Now that you have the basic components all together, find yourself a good book on basic circuits. I recommend this one. If you’re new to electronics great just have some fun and remember to breathe, don’t be afraid to get a book that is geared towards children. The simple explanations and diagrams in those books will have you ready to move to the next level of experimenting quickly!


Feel free to browse the site and if you have a suggestions or comments do not hesitate to contact any member of the team.