Author Topic: Your Very First Project  (Read 6776 times)

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Offline JohnnyG

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Your Very First Project
« on: January 08, 2012, 06:12:44 am »
Hello,

I am new to DIY; although, I am a recent EE grad. I was just wondering: what is everyone's first electronics project?

By first project, I mean first cct that was designed by yourself, and not just soldered together from schematics on the internet. I am fascinated by all the projects on this blog, but I need a good place to start. Also, if you mention a project, could you point me towards any articles that helped you get started?

In school, I specialized in electromagnetics, but I am interested in all sorts of audio/musical devices. Please feel free however to post your first project even if it doesn't fit in these fields!

Thank you for any help!

John
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 06:21:14 am »
first one i made on my own, (not using a pre-exisitng schematic) was a little display board i made up for my hard drive controller card, so that it displayed when each was reading / writing, and tripped a buzzer and turned the faulted drives led to solid if one (or more) failed

kinda basic, and i never got it perfect for me (wanted to add a test function where it held all the leds on) but was my first,
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 08:16:57 am »
How did you avoid doing a design project as part of your EE degree?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline JohnnyG

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 08:42:26 am »
How did you avoid doing a design project as part of your EE degree?


--> Surface plasmon resonance biosensor (electromagnetics project)
 

Offline metalphreak

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 11:46:30 am »
My first real project was a PIC18F based USB dongle for PS3 hacking. Made a through hole PCB version, and then my second project was an SMD version :) Got some good practice designing PCBs etc. You learn quite a lot more when you have a design in mind you have to actually think about creating, rather than just following someone else's schematic.

Offline im_a_human

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2012, 05:45:08 pm »
When i started out in electronics i messed about with crystals set AM radios. My first real project was an AM radio using the ZN415E chip. A complete AM radio on a chip minus the coil and tuning capacitor. The audio ouput could drive headphones. Then i went on to building audio amps and i built my first stereo audio amp with a discrete transistor preamp from a circuit in everday electrionics magazine with passive tone controls and a pair of TDA2030 15watt power amp chips from Maplin electronics. It had a LED vu meter using the LM3915N bargraph display chip and an outboard 30V PSU. The amp itself was built in a cardboard box and i took it to my first job interview when i left school.
 

Offline Greg J

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 06:08:02 pm »
My first one was a blinking bulb (LEDs were too expensive back then).
Can't remember the gory details, but it wasn't even on pcb. Altho the joke was that it was russian pcb, aka as spider :)

First bigger project was when I was around 14 years old, we developed (no internet back then - only books) stereo encoder for our 88-108Mhz band radio transceiver.
I can't remember what we used for that, but there was an IC or two involved purely to generate sine and square required. Can't remember if it was 555, or something else.
That was beginning of 90's.
 
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Online Zero999

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 11:19:32 pm »
My first one was a blinking bulb (LEDs were too expensive back then).
Can't remember the gory details, but it wasn't even on pcb. Altho the joke was that it was russian pcb, aka as spider :)

First bigger project was when I was around 14 years old, we developed (no internet back then - only books) stereo encoder for our 88-108Mhz band radio transceiver.
I can't remember what we used for that, but there was an IC or two involved purely to generate sine and square required. Can't remember if it was 555, or something else.
That was beginning of 90's.

Where were you getting your LEDs from in the early 90s?

Unless you went to Tandy, normal dim red, orange and green LEDs were relatively cheap, even back then. I do remember prue green and blue LEDs being really expensive in the mid 90s - I remember Maplin selling blue LEDs for about £5 each back in 95.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 11:51:21 pm »
The first self-designed project was a device I made was for my brother's bike to switch the lights from generator when the bike was moving, to batteries when stationary. It had a relay and I think a two transistor sensor with a bit of hysteresis that measured the generator output. I even used NiCd C cell batteries, but they didn't charge off the generator. The charger circuit consisted of a single resistor and a socket for an external power pack.

Richard.
 

Offline Greg J

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 11:51:51 pm »
Expensive enough for guy from a very poor family. Lightbulbs were aplenty and very very cheap.

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Offline 8086

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2012, 12:22:48 am »
I was 15, at school. For a design & technology assignment we were to use PICAXE microcontrollers. We had pre made boards with simple forward/reverse motor control. However I decided I could do better and ended up designing a circuit and 2 PCBs for an automatic pet food dispenser, with servo drum portion control and LCD display, programmable times per day of the week, battery with charging circuit, etc. Turned out pretty well. I got an A* for that. ;)
 

Offline jgbena

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 10:36:32 pm »
LOL!  My first project was to build an electronic keyer without using the Curtis Keyer chip.  It failed miserably and wound up in the bin...  after that I found things that had been already engineered (yes I know w a big cheat)  I just got back into electronics and have made a commitment to dive in deep and get busy.  Since then my first self design was rather funny.. a friend at work asked if i could design a circuit to flash his LED Christmas lights in sequence for a project he was building.  So i designed up a board with a power supply, a clock, and an octal counter (CMOS) and an array of NPN transistors and it actually worked.. i was very excited!  I learned electronics when I was young as an Amateur Radio operator and then it was all tubes.. had no experience with solid state stuff at all... i kind of gave up trying to figure it out till now, now Ive come back with a vengeance and want to learn all I can and experiment.  Dave has really inspired me by letting me know that its ok to fail and let the smoke out of things from time to time!  So here I go!!
 

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 11:42:54 pm »
My first project was an intercom between me and two other kids living in the same block of flats, 9 years old then. I used a 4.5 V battery (remember those?) and old telephone parts, the carbon ones. The most amazing part was that it worked!! We used to talk about girls when we were supposed to be asleep. The world has never been the same ever since.
 

Offline harnon

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 12:20:09 am »
My first proper project was a countdown alarm for my Dad's birthday... laser cut enclosure and PIC based PCB.

I'm writing up the project bit by bit here... although I don't have any photos of the enclosure yet due to an unfortunate error in measurement of button holes (i.e. they are laser cut 1cm left of where they should be!)

Next I would like to build a lullaby light for my niece...
 

Offline siliconmix

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 12:15:34 pm »
my first design of my own was an electronic mouse / rodent dispatcher.really simple but very effective.
 

Offline Kibi

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2012, 11:44:52 pm »
My first project was an intercom between the house and the gate (about 200 metres distance). I started it when I was 11 years old. It took a few years to complete because the availability of components was very poor indeed. I did eventually complete it and it worked very well. The project did then evolve into automating the gate which was an ongoing project which worked to some extent.
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2012, 01:18:16 am »
Early-mid nineties, poor man's plasma bulb, built out of old light globe, TV EHT transformer, 555 timer and some transistors. My all time favourite, I still have it with me, and still works!
 

Online westfw

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2012, 12:48:11 pm »
My college design project (1981) was an interrupt controller and A-D converter for an 8086 SBC (Intel's SDK-86.)
It was pretty trivial; 5Mhz - what could go wrong?

My first real "work" project was a newswire protocol conversion circuit that converted 6bit 75bps newswire code to 8bit 300bps code that the mainframe would understand.  And then I did pretty pure software for quite a while...

(no, wait.  There was also a keyboard encoder, based on but not exactly like the one in Lancaster's CMOS cookbook.
Wire-wrapped and used to talk to dialup networks at 300bps, using a "kit" terminal board.  And before that there were those 555-based noisemakers; not really designed, but not really copied from anywhere either.)

Lancaster's books were really good for having "inspiring" partial circuits.  Several of them are online these days.
The old electronics magazines were more theoretical than today's; I fondly remember a Radio Electronics article on building shift registers from bare flipflops that I actually put together on a protoboard...

 

Offline A-sic Enginerd

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2012, 05:47:22 am »
I'm a digital puke so these will probably seem trivial to a lot of you guys:
- in college, pretty sure first completely self designed project would have been an FSM for something.
- worked up to senior project being a big, fat data mux thing. SCSI to serial and parallel ports. An 8051, PICs all over the place, Moto PITs abound, a fat FPGA to glue it all together.....fun stuff.

First real work project - owned the register block for an ethernet controller. Had to interface to a Moto 68K. (yeah, that NEVER turns out pretty)
The more you learn, the more you realize just how little you really know.

- college buddy and long time friend KernerD (aka: Dr. Pinhead)
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2012, 12:53:28 pm »
My first totally designed on my own project was an 8 channel digital electronic cam. 36 years ago they didn't exist on the industrial market and the mechanical dynamically adjustable cams were not consistent enough for my work project (automated pastry turnover folding machine for Pepperidge Farms turnovers) to function consistently. So I took a digital encoder and fed it to 74LS193 up down counters and then compared the current position to BCD thumbwheel settings for the on an off points with 74LS85 comparators. The comparator outputs drove TTL input SSR's to control the machine. There were 8 channels each with their own on and off setting.  It was only one degree resolution but it was way better than the mechanical cams. There was a quadrature logic section to get the up or down count pulses to the counter chips and then 48 of the comparator chips.  I did the whole thing on a wire wrap board by hand.

Offline deephaven

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2012, 01:22:44 pm »
This might not be my first, but in the early 70's I designed and built a Teletext decoder from scratch using a load of TTL chips. At the time it felt like quite an achievement to get recognisable pages being displayed from all those flashing dots and dashes at the top of the picture!
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2012, 01:45:53 am »
My first project was a time machine, but I can't seem to find the plans. :)
 

Offline edward_g

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Re: Your Very First Project
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2012, 07:53:23 pm »
The first thing I put together with the intention of having it do a real job was a doorbell built around an Atmel QTouch 1 button capacitive touch sensor. I wanted to keep all of the electronics on my side of the office door (it’s a busy, public hall on the other side) and I have a glass window.

It’s basically an implementation of the reference design, and not terribly clever at all, but it’s mine and I’m fond of it. Plus, I’m the only office in the hall with a doorbell.
 


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