Introduction to Soldering and Electronics (Nina Kowalke)

Reflection

This week we learned how to solder by creating a power source as practice and we were introduced to the Arduino by making a breadboard with LEDs programmed to blink.

I had never soldered (or even heard of soldering) before we did it in class.  So, for me the entire lab was a learning experience.  I learned what the separate soldering components were called and how to clean the soldering iron, coat the tip, and apply it to the wires.  Throughout this lab the most surprising part for me was how much more dense the solder becomes once it cools onto the wires.  I did not realize how much longer it would take to re-melt the solder in its new state than when it was in a thin strip.  The biggest takeaway I made from this lab was simply that such a conductive binding medium as solder exists.

As far as the Arduino lab, this was also pretty new to me.  I have only done one Arduino project before this one and so I am still fairly new to this technology.  The biggest takeaway I had from the Arduino lab was probably the gains I made in my ability to interpret a schematic.  Schematics looked extremely basic to me at first, but using one to build a circuit on a bread board was harder than I thought.  This lab helped me to practice thinking through where the current flows on the breadboard and how to put components in series versus i parallel.  I was also able to expand my knowledge of coding a bit by messing around with the code and seeing how it affected the LEDs.  Knowing how to use the Arduino will help me i the future to be able to create working prototypes of ideas I have for products and other innovations.

Documentation

Soldering lab

This lab assignment required us to solder wires to a power output and input and then cover the soldered joints in hot glue.  These power plugs could then be used for future projects as a battery source of power that can be plugged into a free circuit or on a breadboard.

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Electronics Lab

This lab assignment required us to use a schematic that was provided to create a circuit on a breadboard that included an Arduino, resistors, LEDs, and a switch.  The goal of the project was to be able to interpret the schematic and also to be able to control the behavior of the LEDs from the Arduino.

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There were two main challenges we encountered with this lab. The first being that the LED’s were in the wrong direction and because they are diodes this prevented them from lighting up.  So, switching the direction they were placed solved this problem.  Correct placement of an LED means that the long end connects to positive and the short end connects to negative.  The second challenge we faced was with uploading the code to the Arduino.  The problem we faced here was that my laptop was trying to upload the code to a wireless mouse which I had also plugged into a USB input on my laptop.  Simply going into the settings on the Arduino program and changing which USB the upload should be sent to solved this problem.

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I worked with Hunter Young on these projects.

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