Circuit Building Reflection
By Matthew Huynh
What I did
During these past few weeks, I have learned how to build a circuit. First, we started with the function of individual circuit components. Then, we learned how electricity flows in a breadboard. We then built our first circuit: a simple series circuit with an LED and resistor. Next we learned how to read and manipulate circuit schematics to build more complex circuits. These various schematics included a Logic Probe circuit and a 555 Timer circuit.
Logic Probe Circuit
Here is what a finished logic probe looks like on a breadboard.
555 Timer Circuit
This timer circuit has two LEDs that blink alternately.
555 Timer Circuit Schematic
This is what the 555 Timer Circuit Schematic looks like. It is very different than what the real circuit looks like.
The results for the truth table for each circuit changed because the transistors were placed in different parts of the circuit.
The lessons I learned
I learned many lessons from building circuits. Other than the obvious technical skills, I learned that many problems can be solved if you just took the time and effort to sit down and think. I was frustrated when my Logic Probe circuit would not work. I had to spend a couple of hours re-reading the schematic and looking for mistakes in the circuit. Once I fixed all my mistakes, then my logic probe started to work.
Everyone reads and interprets circuit schematics differently. This taught me that everyone learns differently, so comparing someone else’s circuit to your own really is not that helpful.
I also learned that it is better to build a circuit slowly with care and attention to details rather than trying to rush through it. Building this way will cause less mistakes and can ultimately save time as you do not have to find and fix as many mistakes.
The same applies to many things in life. It is best to learn or do something slowly but properly the first time.
How I enjoyed circuit building
The best part of building circuits is finally getting a circuit to work! It feels great when something you created works properly for the first time.
I also enjoyed helping others by explaining how the breadboard and circuit parts worked. This helped me learn and greater understand about the flow of electricity (current) and how circuit parts manipulate it.
It was also fun experimenting with different parts to see what they did in real application, rather than in theory. It really helped me understand electricity in a much better way.
What I did not like
There were a few things that I did not enjoy. I did not like having to strip and cut wire to find out it does not fit properly, or having to look for parts. It is sometimes a tedious task that takes time, which means I would get less time to actually build and test a circuit.
I also felt that the first circuit (logic probe circuit) was too difficult to build, compared to the other circuits.
What I would change
There are not many things I think I would change about this experience. However, I do think that the Logic Probe circuit was harder to build than the other circuits. I would have liked it if we tried building an easier circuit from a simpler schematic first before working on the Logic Probe. This would have made it easier to transition into building more complicated circuits.