# Basic electronics

Resistors The resistor's function is to reduce the flow of electric current. This symbol is used to indicate a resistor in a circuit diagram, known as a schematic. Resistance value is designated in units called the "Ohm." A 1000 Ohm resistor is typically shown as 1K-Ohm ( kilo Ohm ), and 1000 K-Ohms is written as 1M-Ohm ( megohm ). There are two classes of resistors; fixed resistors and the variable resistors. They are also classified according to the material from which they are made. The typical resistor is made of either carbon film or metal film. There are other types as well, but these are the most common. The resistance value of the resistor is not the only thing to consider when selecting a resistor for use in a circuit. The "tolerance" and the electric power ratings of the resistor are also important. The tolerance of a resistor denotes how close it is to the actual rated resistence value. For example, a ±5% tolerance would indicate a resistor that is within ±5% of the specified resistance value. The power rating indicates how much power the resistor can safely tolerate. Just like you wouldn't use a 6 volt flashlight lamp to replace a burned out light in your house, you wouldn't use a 1/8 watt resistor when you should be using a 1/2 watt resistor. The maximum rated power of the resistor is specified in Watts. Power is calculated using the square of the current ( I2 ) x the resistance value ( R ) of the resistor. If the maximum rating of the resistor is exceeded, it will become extremely hot, and even burn. Resistors in electronic circuits are typicaly rated 1/8W, 1/4W, and 1/2W. 1/8W is almost always used in signal circuit applications. When powering a light emitting diode, a comparatively large current flows through the resistor, so you need to consider the power rating of the resistor you choose. Rating electric power For example, to power a 5V circuit using a 12V supply, a three-terminal voltage regulator is usually used. However, if you try to drop the voltage from 12V to 5V using only a resistor, then you need to calculate the power rating of the resistor as well as the resistance value.

At this time, the current consumed by the 5V circuit needs to be known. Here are a few ways to find out how much current the circuit demands. Assemble the circuit and measure the actual current used with a multi-meter. Check the component's current use against a standard table. Assume the current consumed is 100 mA (milliamps) in the following example. 7V must be dropped with the resistor. The resistance value of the resistor becomes 7V / 0.1A = 70(ohm). The consumption of electric power for this resistor becomes 0.1A x 0.1A x 70 ohm = 0.7W. Generally, it's safe to choose a resistor which has a power rating of about twice the power consumption needed. Resistance value As for the standard resistance value, the values used can be divided like a logarithm. ( See the logarithm table ) For example, in the case of E3, The values [1], [2.2], [4.7] and [10] are used. They divide 10 into three, like a logarithm. In the case of E6 : [1], [1.5], [2.2], [3.3], [4.7], [6.8], [10]. In the case of E12 : [1], [1.2], [1.5], [1.8], [2.2], [2.7], [3.3], [3.9], [4.7], [5.6], [6.8], [8.2], [10]. It is because of this that the resistance value is seen at a glance to be a discrete value. The resistance value is displayed using the color code( the colored bars/the colored stripes ), because the average resistor is too small to have the value printed on it with numbers. You had better learn the color code, because almost all resistors of 1/2W or less use the color code to display the resistance value.

Fixed Resistors A fixed resistor is one in which the value of its resistance cannot change. Carbon film resistors This is the most general purpose, cheap resistor. Usually the tolerance of the resistance value is ±5%. Power ratings of 1/8W, 1/4W and 1/2W are frequently used. Carbon film resistors have a disadvantage; they tend to be electrically noisy. Metal film resistors are recommended for use in analog circuits. However, I have never experienced any problems with this noise. The physical size of the different resistors are as follows.

Rough size Rating Thickness Length power (mm) (mm) (W) From the top of the photograph 1/8 2 3 1/8W 1/4 2 6 1/4W 1/2W 1/2 3 9

This resistor is called a Single-In-Line(SIL) resistor network. It is made with many resistors of the same value, all in one package. One side of each resistor is connected with one side of all the other resistors inside. One example of its use would be to control the current in a circuit powering many light emitting diodes (LEDs). In the photograph on the left, 8 resistors are housed in the package. Each of the leads on the package is one resistor. The ninth lead on the left side is the common lead. The face value of the resistance is printed. ( It depends on the supplier. ) Some resistor networks have a "4S" printed on the top of the resistor network. The 4S indicates that the package contains 4 independent resistors that are not wired together inside. The housing has eight leads instead of nine. The internal wiring of these typical resistor networks has been illustrated below. The size (black part) of the resistor network which I have is as follows: For the type with 9 leads, the thickness is 1.8 mm, the height 5mm, and the width 23 mm. For the types with 8 component leads, the thickness is 1.8 mm, the height 5 mm, and the width 20 mm.

Metal film resistors Metal film resistors are used when a higher tolerance (more accurate value) is needed. They are much more accurate in value than carbon film resistors. They have about ±0.05% tolerance. They have about ±0.05% tolerance. I don't use any high tolerance resistors in my circuits. Resistors that are about ±1% are more than

and to fine-tune a circuit. It is used to adjust the operating condition of the circuit by the technician.5 12 1W (tolerance ±5%) 1 5 15 2W (tolerance ±5%) 2 Variable Resistors There are two general ways in which variable resistors are used. Some variable resistors must be turned many times to use the whole range of resistance they offer." In the photograph to the left. and low-noise analog signal circuits. like the volume adjustment of Radio. These are called "Potentiometers" or "Trimmer Potentiometers. This allows for very precise adjustments of their value. One is the variable resistor which value is easily changed. The metal film resistor is used for bridge circuits.sufficient. Semi-fixed resistors are used to compensate for the inaccuracies of the resistors. The rotation angle of the variable resistor is usually about 300 degrees. the variable resistor typically used for volume controls . Rough size Ratin g Thickne Lengt ss h From the top of the powe r (mm) (mm) photograph (W) 1/8W (tolerance ±1%) 1/8 2 3 1/4W (tolerance 1/4 2 6 ±1%) 3. filter circuits. The other is semi-fixed resistor that is not meant to be adjusted by anyone but a technician. Ni-Cr (Nichrome) seems to be used for the material of resistor.

It suits the characteristics of the ear. throughout the sweep of the axis. Type "C" changes exactly the opposite way to type "A". This symbol in a circuit diagram. it changes very quickly. One type is the Cadmium Sulfide Photocell. A larger change is needed as the volume is increased. or linear. These ones are mounted on the printed circuit board. is used to indicate a variable resistor There are three ways in which a variable resistor's value can change according to the rotation angle of its axis. The ear hears low sound changes well. most are type "A" or type "B". It is well suited to adjust a low sound subtly. the resistance value changes rapidly. The four resistors at the center of the photograph are the semi-fixed type. In the early stages of the rotation of the axis. The two resistors on the left are the trimmer potentiometers. a balance circuit and so on. These "A" type variable resistors are sometimes called "audio taper" potentiometers. Its value is very easy to adjust. This type isn't too much used. As for the variable resistor. the resistance value changes slowly and then in the second half of its axis. and in the second half.can be seen on the far right. As for type "B". the change occurs more slowly. It is a special use. They are sometimes called "linear taper" potentiometers. for example. The "A" type variable resistor is typically used for the volume control of a radio. When type "A" rotates clockwise. but isn't as sensitive to small changes in loud sounds. The rate of change is the same. the rotation of the axis and the change of the resistance value are directly related. (Cd) The more light that . CDS Elements Some components can change resistance value by changes in the amount of light hitting them. This type suits a resistance value adjustment in a circuit. at first.

it is also a coil. resistance value etc. Other Resistors There is another type of resistor other than the carbon-film type and the metal film resistors. They have very high power ratings.hits it. Pictured at the left is a typical CDS photocell. from 1 or 2 watts to dozens of watts. The upper one is 10W and is the length of 45 mm. Wirewound resistors cannot be used for high-frequency circuits. This device is using for the head lamp illumination confirmation device of the car. Using one could change the behavior of the circuit. Since a wirewound resistor is a wire wrapped around an insulator. These are wirewound resistors in a ceramic case. size. . the value is about 200 ohms. 29 mm thickness. The upper one is has metal fittings attached. Also. with a cylinder form. These resistors can become extremely hot when used for high power applications. and this must be taken into account when designing the circuit. for example. they can be manufactured to precise values. The lower one is 50W and is the length of 75 mm. in a manner of speaking. They vary according to light sensitivity. 4 mm high. There are many types of these devices. and because of this. the smaller its resistance value becomes. When bright light is hitting it. It is the wirewound resistor. These devices are insulated with a ceramic coating. 13 mm thickness. Coils are used in high frequency circuits. A wirewound resistor is made of metal resistance wire. Its diameter is 8 mm. strengthened with a special cement. These devices can easily get hot enough to burn you if you touch one. high-wattage resistors can be made by using a thick wire material. Still another type of resistor is the Ceramic resistor. the resistance value is about 2M ohms. and when in the dark. The photograph on the left is of wirewound resistors.

The photograph on above is a ceramic (or cement) resistor of 5W and is the height of 9 mm. . 22 mm width. 9 mm depth.

the resistance value decreases continuously as the temperature rises. typically. the resistance value decreases suddenly when the temperature rises above a specific point. PTC(Positive Temperature Coefficient Thermistor) : With this type. The NTC type is used for the temperature control. NTC(Negative Temperature Coefficient Thermistor) : With this type. 25°C is used. R : The resistance value at the temperature T T : The temperature [K] R0 : The resistance value at the reference temperature T0 T0 : The reference temperature [K] B : The coefficient As the reference temperature. The unit with the temperature is the absolute temperature(Value of which 0 was -273°C) in K(Kelvin). The relation between the temperature and the resistance value of the NTC type can be calculated using the following formula. CTR(Critical Temperature Resister Thermistor) : With this type. the resistance value increases suddenly when the temperature rises above a specific point. This part is used as a temperature sensor. 25°C are the 298 kelvins. There are mainly three types of thermistor.Thermistor ( Thermally sensitive resistor ) The resistance value of the thermistor changes according to temperature. .

05 ±0.Resistor color code Color Black Brown Example 1 (Brown=1).(Red=2) 470 x 102 = 47k ohm Tolerance(Brown) = ±1% Gold Silver None Value Multiplier 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 -1 -2 Tolerance (%) ±1 ±2 ±0.(Violet=7).25 ±0.1 ±5 ±10 ±20 .5 ±0.(Black=0).(Orange=3) 10 x 103 = 10k ohm Tolerance(Gold) = ±5% Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Violet Gray White Example 2 (Yellow=4).(Black=0).

Alternating current is similar to repeatedly switching the test meter's probes back and forth on the capacitor. So the capacitor can be used as a filter that blocks DC current. The capacitor is constructed with two electrode plates facing eachother. but separated by an insulator. This symbol is used to indicate a capacitor in a circuit diagram. in the case of alternating current. so units such as the microfarad ( 10-6F ). Recently. The Electric Double Layer capacitor has capacitance designated in Farad units. but only for a moment. While the capacitor is charging up. The value of a capacitor (the capacitance). You can confirm that the meter's needle moves off of zero. current flows. The current will stop flowing when the capacitor has fully charged. nanofarad ( 10-9F ). an new capacitor with very high capacitance has been developed." . (A "DC cut" filter. the current stops flowing. a current will flow. or electrical energy. The capacitor also functions as a filter.Capacitors The capacitor's function is to store electricity. Once again. Current flows every time the probes are switched. and picofarad (10-12F ) are used. is connected to a 10 microfarad (µF) electrolytic capacitor. an electric charge is stored on each electrode. passing alternating current (AC). The capacitance of a capacitor is generally very small. but returns to zero right away. When DC voltage is applied to the capacitor. When a circuit tester. the current will be allowed to pass. These are known as "Super Capacitors.) However. such as an analog meter set to measure resistance. when the capacitor has fully charged. and blocking direct current (DC). is designated in units called the Farad ( F ). you will note that current once again flows for a moment. When you connect the meter's probes to the capacitor in reverse.

Breakdown voltage When using a capacitor." The breakdown voltage depends on the kind of capacitor being used. you must pay attention to the maximum voltage which can be used. the other uses only numbers. You must be especially careful with electrolytic capacitors because the breakdown voltage is comparatively low. For example. Different kinds of capacitors use different materials for the dielectric. [10n] and [103] denote the same value of capacitance. When this happens. In either case. Picofarad ( pF ) units are written this way. For example. The method used differs depending on the capacitor supplier. the 1st and 2nd digits from the left show the 1st figure and the 2nd figure. Values under 100pF are displayed with 2 digits only. Large values of capacitance can be obtained in comparison with the size . One uses letters and numbers. a three-digit code is used to indicate the value of a capacitor. This is the "breakdown voltage. there are only three characters used.01 microfarad( µF ). when the code is [103]. 47 would be 47pF. The capacitor has an insulator( the dielectric ) between 2 sheets of electrodes. The breakdown voltage of electrolytic capacitors is displayed as Working Voltage.000pF = 10 nanofarad( nF ) = 0. it indicates 10 x 103. If the code happened to be [224]. In the case that the value is displayed with the three-digit code. The breakdown voltage is the voltage that when exceeded will cause the dielectric (insulator) inside the capacitor to break down and conduct. and the 3rd digit is a multiplier which determines how many zeros are to be added to the capacitance.22µF. it would be 22 x 104 = or 220. I will introduce the different types of capacitors below. There are two ways in which the capacitance can be written.Sometimes. Electrolytic Capacitors (Electrochemical type capacitors) Aluminum is used for the electrodes by using a thin oxidization membrane. the failure can be catastrophic. or 10.000pF = 220nF = 0.

If the capacitor is subjected to voltage exceeding its working voltage. high 11 mm] 220µF (25V) [diameter 8 mm. From the left to right: 1µF (50V) [diameter 5 mm. or if it is connected with incorrect polarity. high 40 mm] .) The photograph on the left is an example of the different values of electrolytic capacitors in which the capacitance and voltage differ. or as a filter to bypass low frequency signals. Electrolytic capacitors range in value from about 1µF to thousands of µF. high 5 mm] 100µF (25V) [diameter 5 mm. Because this type of capacitor is comparatively similar to the nature of a coil in construction. Mainly this type of capacitor is used as a ripple filter in a power supply circuit. because the dielectric used is very thin. It is extremely dangerous. because it can quite literally explode. it may burst. it isn't possible to use for high-frequency circuits. Make absolutely no mistakes. in the circuit diagram. (It is said that the frequency characteristic is bad.of the capacitor. etc. They have a positive and a negative electrode. Generally. The most important characteristic of electrolytic capacitors is that they have polarity. high 12 mm] 47µF (16V) [diameter 6 mm. high 12 mm] 1000µF (50V) [diameter 18 mm.[Polarised] This means that it is very important which way round they are connected. the positive side is indicated by a "+" (plus) symbol.

Also. the mark indicating the negative lead of the component can be seen. the "+" symbol is used to show the positive component lead. An electric charge can be stored on this crack. Large values of capacitance similar to aluminum electrolytic capacitors can be obtained. So the sizes shown here on this page are just examples. a crack forms inside. These capacitors have polarity as well.The size of the capacitor sometimes depends on the manufacturer. Tantalum Capacitors Tantalum Capacitors are electrolytic capacitors that is use a material called tantalum for the electrodes. You need to pay attention to the polarity indication so as not to make a mistake when you assemble the circuit. Do not make a mistake with the polarity on these types. tantalum capacitors are superior to aluminum electrolytic capacitors in temperature and frequency characteristics. . Usually. In the photograph to the right. When tantalum powder is baked in order to solidify it.

Tantalu m capacitor s are a little bit more expensiv e than aluminu m electrolyt ic capacitors. It is written on the body. The photograph on the left illustrates the tantalum capacitor. and these types are very stable. Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are fine if you don't use them for circuits which need the high stability characteristics of tantalum capacitors. it is said to be common sense to use tantalum capacitors for analog signal systems. The capacitance values are as follows. . from the left: 0. because the current-spike noise that occurs with aluminum electrolytic capacitors does not appear.47 µF (35V) 10 µF (35V) The "+" symbol is used to show the positive lead of the component. Therefore. Capacitance can change with temperature as well as frequency. tantalum capacitors are used for circuits which demand high stability in the capacitance values. Also.33 µF (35V) 0.

01 µF). the width is 4 mm. Ceramic capacitors should not be used for analog circuits.Ceramic Capacitors Ceramic capacitors are constructed with materials such as titanium acid barium used as the dielectric. The capacitor on the right side is printed with 103. Square wave signals used in digital circuits can have a comparatively high frequency component included. This capacitor is used to bypass the high frequency to ground. So. Typically. Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors The multilayer ceramic capacitor has a many-layered dielectric. these capacitors are not constructed as a coil. The thickness is 2 mm. so 10 x 103pF becomes 0. The height is 4 mm. the capacitance of the component on the left is displayed as 104. Ceramic capacitors have no polarity. . and have good temperature and frequency characteristics. Internally. because they can distort the signal. Their capacitance is comparatively small. so they can be used in high frequency applications.1 µF. These capacitors are small in size. the diameter of the round part is 2 mm. These capacitors are not polarized.01 µF. the capacitance is 10 x 104 pF = 0. they have no polarity. The capacitor on the left is a 100pF capacitor with a diameter of about 3 mm. That is. In the photograph. The capacitor to the right has a capacitance of 103 (10 x 103 pF = 0. These capacitors have the shape of a disk. they are used in circuits which bypass high frequency signals to ground. the height is 3 mm. The diameter of the disk is about 6 mm.

and is rated 100pF. The component shown on the left has a red color due to the copper leaf used for the electrode. is 5 mm thick. The capacitance is 0.47 F (470.7 mm thickness. I have not used this capacitor in an actual circuit. and is rated 10000pF. polystyrene film is used as the dielectric. is 10 mm thick. The silver color is due to the use of aluminum foil as the electrode." which is quite a wonder. and is rated 1000pF. These devices have no polarity. The device in the middle has a height of 10 mm. because they are constructed like a coil inside. The device on the left has a height of 10 mm. Electric Double Layer Capacitors (Super Capacitors) This is a "Super Capacitor.000 µF).Polystyrene Film Capacitors In these devices. They are used well in filter circuits or timing circuits which run at several hundred KHz or less. . This type of capacitor is not for use in high frequency circuits. The device on the right has a height of 24 mm. 5.

From the left in the photograph Capacitance: 0. Polyester Film Capacitors This capacitor uses thin polyester film as the dielectric. The rectifier in the circuit can be destroyed by a huge rush of current when the capacitor is empty. etc.Care must be taken when using a capacitor with such a large capacitance in power supply circuits.22 µF (printed with . the diameter is 21 mm.1 µF (printed with 104K) [the width 10 mm.001 µF (printed with 001K) [the width 5 mm.22K) [the width 13 mm. . the height 10 mm. The size is small in spite of capacitance. A protection circuit needs to be set up. the thickness 7mm] Care must be taken. because different manufacturers use different methods to denote the capacitance values. Here are some other polyester film capacitors. Care is necessary. Physically. the height is 11 mm. They are not high tolerance. the thickness 5mm] Capacitance: 0. the thickness 2 mm] Capacitance: 0. but they are cheap and handy. the height 18 mm. the capacitor is more like a short circuit. Their tolerance is about ±5% to ±10%. the height 11 mm. because these devices do have polarity. For a brief moment.

the height 6mm. the thickness 4mm] Capacitance: 0. the thickness 3mm] Capacitance: 0. . the height 14mm. From the left in the photograph Capacitance: 0. the height 6mm. the error was +0. Polypropylene film is used for the dielectric. the height 11mm.022 µF (printed with 223F) [the width 7mm. the thickness 2mm] Capacitance: 0. the thickness 2mm] Capacitance: 0.1 µF (printed with 104F) [the width 9mm. Polypropylene Capacitors This capacitor is used when a higher tolerance is necessary than polyester capacitors offer. the height 7mm. the thickness 7mm] These capacitors have no polarity. It is said that there is almost no change of capacitance in these devices if they are used with frequencies of 100KHz or less. the height 10mm.01 µF (printed with 103F) [the width 7mm. the thickness 5mm] When I measured the capacitance of a 0. These capacitors have no polarity.2%.0068 µF (printed with 682K) [the width 4mm.01 µF capacitor with the meter which I have.Starting from the left Capacitance: 0.0047 µF (printed with 472K) [the width 4mm. The pictured capacitors have a tolerance of ±1%.47 µF (printed with 474K) [the width 11mm.

Mica capacitors have good stability because their temperature coefficient is small." These can handle up to 500 volts. the thickness 4mm] These capacitors have no polarity. the height 9mm.Mica Capacitors These capacitors use Mica for the dielectric. and so can be utilized in high voltage circuits. Mica capacitors do not have high values of capacitance. Because their electrodes are thin. the height 5mm. Also. and high frequency filters. and they can be relatively expensive. they are used for resonance circuits. . Because their frequency characteristic is excellent. they can be miniaturized. the height 6mm. etc. Pictured at the right are "Dipped mica capacitors. It was often used for vacuum tube style radio transmitters. the thickness 4mm] Capacitance: 220pF (printed with 221J) [the width 10mm. the thickness 4mm] Capacitance: 1000pF (printed with 102J) [the width 14mm. they have good insulation. Metallized Polyester Film Capacitors These capacitors are a kind of a polyester film capacitor. The capacitance from the left Capacitance: 47pF (printed with 470J) [the width 7mm.

When adjusting the value of a variable capacitor. the height 6mm. Variable Capacitors Variable capacitors are used for adjustment etc." which uses ceramic as the dielectric. because the component lead easily breaks off from these capacitors.001µF (printed with 1n.2µF (printed with 2u2) Breakdown voltage: 100V [the width 15mm. The pictured components are meant to be mounted on a printed circuit board. These capacitors have no polarity. it is advisable to be careful. the thickness 2mm] Capacitance: 0.From the left in the photograph Capacitance: 0. there is no way to fix it. the height 10mm. Once lead has come off. the thickness 3mm] Capacitance: 2. On the left in the photograph is a "trimmer. It must be discarded.22µF (printed with u22) Breakdown voltage: 100V [the width 8mm. of frequency mainly. One of the component's leads is connected to the adjustment screw of the capacitor. the thickness 8mm] Care is necessary. n means nano:10-9) Breakdown voltage: 250V [the width 8mm. This means that the value of the capacitor can be affected by the . Next to it on the right is one that uses polyester film for the dielectric. the height 6mm.

(Not including the adjustment rod. To the right in the photograph is a variable capacitor using polyester film as the dielectric. and 20mm width and height. The variable capacitor on the left in the photograph. chosen in accordance with the purpose for which they are needed. Physically. width (short) 4. the device on the right has the following specifications: Capacitance: 30pF (5pF . (Not including the adjustment rod. the capacitance changed 2pF .) The pictured device also has a small trimmer built in to each capacitor to allow for precise adjustment up to 15pF.70pF. Physically.15). They are called "Varicons" but this may be only in Japan. as well. and 17 mm width and height. For each one. The pictured components are very small. uses air as the dielectric. etc.8 mm] Their are different colors. green: 30pF (5 . When the adjustment axis is turned. It combines three independent capacitors. Two independent capacitors are combined. Pictured in the upper left photograph are variable capacitors with the following specifications: Capacitance: 20pF (3pF . The capacitance of one side changes 12pF . the capacitance of all 3 capacitors change simultaneously.9 mm. it has a depth of 11mm.40pF measured) [The width (long) 6. .9). the device has a depth of 29 mm.72).35). and the height 5 mm] The components in the photograph on the right are used for radio tuners. Blue: 7pF (2 . brown: 60pF (8 . It is better to use a special screwdriver to adjust these components.capacitance of the screwdriver in your hand.) There are various kinds of variable capacitor. height 4.8 mm.18pF. while the other side changes from 11pF . white: 10pF (3 .27pF measured) [Thickness 6 mm.150pF. In the same photograph.

It is used to regulate voltage.) Variable capacitance diode The circuit symbol is . A diode can be used as a rectifier that converts AC (Alternating Current) to DC (Direct Current) for a power supply device. This symbol is used to indicate a diode in a circuit diagram. by taking advantage of the fact that Zener diodes tend to stabilize at a certain voltage when that voltage is applied in the opposite direction. With the change of this . A diode is specifically made to allow current to flow through it in only one direction. Diodes can be used to separate the signal from radio frequencies. This type of diode emits light when current flows through it in the forward direction. (Forward biased. it does not operate the way a diode does. Current flows from the anode side to the cathode side.Diodes A diode is a semiconductor device which allows current to flow through it in only one direction. the following devices are best used for the applications noted. The meaning of the symbol is (Anode) (Cathode). In this condition. It is a very small capacitance. Some ways in which the diode can be used are listed here. there are different types suited to different applications. Voltage regulation diode (Zener Diode) The circuit symbol is . Although a transistor is also a semiconductor device. The capacitance of the diode changes when changing voltage. Diodes can be used as an on/off switch that controls current. For example. Although all diodes operate with the same general principle. The current does not flow when applying the voltage of the opposite direction to the diode. the diode has a capacitance like the capacitor. Light emitting diode The circuit symbol is .

the frequency of the oscillator can be changed. the voltage will drop slightly as current flows through the diode. Also. current flows easily. which is very small. When a small voltage is applied to the diode in the forward direction. A given diode should be selected depending on how it will be used in the circuit. almost 0. A typical diode causes a voltage drop of about 0.1V (VF) (In the case of silicon diode.6V) This voltage drop needs to be taken into consideration in a circuit which uses many diodes in series. When voltage is applied in the reverse direction through a diode. Because the diode has a certain amount of resistance. the amount of current passing through the diodes must be considered. The limiting voltages and currents permissible must be considered on a . The current that will flow through a diode biased in the reverse direction will vary from several mA to just µA.6 . The graph on the right shows the electrical characteristics of a typical diode.capacitance. Different diodes have different characteristics when reverse-biased. the diode will have a great resistance to current flow.

The top two devices shown in the picture are diodes used for rectification. The device at the bottom of the picture is a voltage regulation diode with a rating of 6V. If the diodes are not chosen carefully. part of the time they will be required to withstand a reverse voltage. and the one below it can safely handle up to 1A. it will resist changes in voltage. when using diodes for rectification. the maximum current it can handle is 120 mA.case by case basis. The maximum reverse voltage (reverse bias) this diode can handle is 30V. it is best used at about 70% of its rating because this current value is a maximum rating. For example. However. This makes it well suited to use within digital circuits. The third device from the top (red color) has a part number of 1S1588. the output current will. . because it can switch on and off at very high speed. If the input voltage is increased. They are made to handle relatively high currents. (Or any change will be an insignificant amount. The device on top can handle as high as 6A.) While the output voltage does not increase with an increase in input voltage. The stripe shows the cathode side. they will break down. When this type of diode is reverse biased. the output voltage will not change. This diode is used for switching. However. Rectification / Switching / Regulation Diode The stripe stamped on one end of the diode shows indicates the polarity of the diode.

Generally. When 4 diodes are combined. It is possible to do only 'half wave rectification' using 1 diode. 3 terminal regulators use voltage regulation diodes inside. .This requires some thought for a protection circuit so that too much current does not flow. 'full wave rectification' occurrs. Devices that combine 4 diodes in one package are called diode bridges. Therefore. The rated current limit for the device is 30 mA. a 3-terminal voltage regulator is used for the stabilization of a power supply. Diode bridge Rectification diodes are used to make DC from AC. this diode is typically used to protect the circuit from momentary voltage spikes. They are used for fullwave rectification.

or the chasis of device in which they are used.The photograph on the left shows two examples of diode bridges. As for size. The photograph on the right shows a large. Diode bridges with large current capacities like this one. The flat device on the left has a current limit of 4A. It is has a thickness of 6 mm. it is 7 mm high. is 16 mm in height. The cylindrical device on the right in the photograph has a current limit of 1A. and the height of the module part is 10 mm. and 19 mm in width. It has a current capacity of 15A. Typically. they are screwed to a piece of metal. require a heat sink. high-power diode bridge. The peak reverse-bias voltage is 400V. Physically. this one is 26 mm wide on each side. Light Emitting Diode ( LED ) . The heat sink allows the device to radiate excess heat. and 10 mm in diameter.

When using a test meter to determine polarity. The voltage drop (forward voltage. it becomes orange. The most common colors are red and green. . one side is for the green. Positive voltage flows out of the black probe when the meter is set to measure resistance. The device on the far right in the photograph combines a red LED and green LED in one package. As for the remaing two leads. It is possible to use an LED to obtain a fixed voltage. because there are various kinds. the side of the diode which is connected to the black meter probe when the LED glows. Connect the probes of the meter to the LED. or VF) of an LED is comparatively stable at just about 2V.Light emitting diodes must be choosen according to how they will be used. The component lead in the middle is common to both LEDs. I explain a circuit in which the voltage was stabilized with an LED in "Thermometer of bending apparatus-2". the other for the red LED. The diodes are available in several colors. switch the meter probes to the opposite leads on the LED. and the short one is the Cathode side. When both are turned on simultaneously. or even a 1.5 V battery. set the meter to a low resistance measurement range. the polarity of the device can be determined by looking at the leads. the LED will glow. but there are even blue ones. If the polarity is correct. The polarity of an LED can also be determined using a resistance meter. When an LED is new out of the package. The longer lead is the Anode side. In either case. is the Anode side. If the LED does not glow.

However. this diode is often used for the switching regulator in a high frequency circuit. However. rectification will not occur when the frequency of the alternating current is too high.Shottky barrier diode Diodes are used to rectify alternating current into direct current. The shottky barrier diode has the following characteristics. The diode can have relatively high leakage current." The reverse recovery characteristic can be explained as follows: IF the opposite voltage is suddenly applied to a forward-biased diode. The surge resistance is low. . The reverse recovery time is short. Because the reverse recovery time is short. This is due to what is known as the "reverse recovery characteristic. it has the following disadvantages. This time until the current stops flowing is called the Reverse Recovery Time. The Shottky barrier diode has a short reverse recovery time. current will continue to flow in the forward direction for a brief moment. The current is considered to be stopped when it falls to about 10% of the value of the peak reverse current. which makes it ideally suited to use in high frequency rectification. The voltage drop in the forward direction is low.

a circuit is built with integrated circuits(ICs). (In my case. In many cases. only two values matter. on or off. . as well as the type and the way it is used is shown below. when powering an electromagnetic switch (called a 'relay'). PNP type and NPN type The name (standard part number) of the transistor. For example. When the power supply is the side of the positive (plus).Transistors The transistor's finction is to amplify an electric current. or when controlling a light emitting diode. Many different kinds of transistors are used in analog circuits. Transistors are often used in digital circuits as buffers to protect ICs. This is not the case for digital circuits.) Two different symbols are used for the transistor. In a digital circuit. The amplification abilitiy of a transistor is not relevant in a digital circuit. for different reasons. 2SAXXXX PNP type high frequency 2SBXXXX PNP type low frequency 2SCXXXX NPN type high frequency 2SDXXXX NPN type low frequency The direction of the current flow differs between the PNP and NPN type. the NPN type is easy to use.

They are inexpensive when I buy them in quantity. The electrical characteristics of each is as follows. Here. In Japan it costs 2. Its part number is 2SD880.Appearance of the Transistor The outward appearance of the transistor varies. Item VCEO(V) IC(mA) PC(mW) hFE fT(MHz) 2SC1815 2SD880 50 150 400 60 3A 30W 70 . (About 10 US cents/piece in 1998) On the right is a device which is used when a large current is to be handled.300 80 3 VCEO : The maximum voltage that can be handled across the collector(C) .000 yen for a pack of 200 pieces. On the left in the photograph is a 2SC1815 transistor.700 60 . two kinds are shown. which is good for use in a digital circuit.

Maximum collector(C) loss that continuously can cause it consumed : at surroundings temperature (Ta)=25°C (no radiator) : The current gain to DC at the emitter(E).and emitter(E) when the base(B) is open. (the transision frequency) Component Lead of the Transistor Because the component leads differ between kinds of transistors. (IC/IB) hFE fT : The maximum DC switching frequency. etc. (Not connected) (It may be shown as VCE) IC PC : The maximum collector(C) current. you need to confirm the leads with a datasheet. .

Example of 2SC1815 transistor Part number is printed on the flat face of the transistor. and indicates the front. Right side : Emitter Center : Collector Left side : Base 2SC1815 is opposite. Right side : Base Center : Collector Left side : Emitter Example of 2SD880 transistor Part number is printed on the flat face of the transistor. . and indicates the front.

1 inch (2." or PCBs. or bakelite plastic. paper epoxy. and can be very difficult. . For this reason. In Japan. they are still refered to as "Printed Circuit Boards. This board is called a Printed Wiring Board (PWB). so DIP or SIP ICs can be easily mounted. a board is needed on which the components can be mounted and wired together. and the component leads are passed through the nearest holes. to project through the bottom of the board.Printed Wiring Boards When assembling an electronic circuit. The insulation board is comprised of fiberglass (glass epoxy). The universal PWB consists of an insulation board drilled with .1 inches (2. for many hand-made circuits. The color is green. To use the board. the parts are mounted on the face of the board. I often use a universal PWB.8mm holes at 0. where the wires can be soldered together. The interval between the holes is 0. The board is completely covered with these holes from edge to edge." Nowadays in Japan the name "Printed Circuit Board" is not used because the initials of "Printed Circuit Board" are "PCB.54 mm) intervals." In other countries. Making a PWB takes a lot of work. So in Japan.54 mm). Centered around each hole on the bottom of the PWB is an (approximately) 2mm copper leaf (known as the "land" or "pad"). we refer to the boards as "Printed Wiring Boards. The photograph shows a PWB made of glass epoxy. the printed wiring board used to be called a "Printed Circuit Board." PCB also stands for "Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)." which is a poison.

so you can select a board according to your needs. so it has a silver color. there are several kinds by the number of the holes. then it is seen to have a copper color. On the top right in the photograph. . The boards can also be cut to size. The copper leaf on this board has been pre-soldered ("tinned") to make soldering easier. the back side is shown. As for the size of the board. From the left side in the photograph 55 x 40 holes (size 160 x 115 mm) 30 x 25 holes (size 95 x 72 mm) 25 x 15 holes (size 72 x 47 mm) There are various sizes in addition to what I have shown. In case of bakelite. the color is thin brown. If the board has not been pre-soldered.Paper epoxy boards have a beige color.

resistance of the contacts. The relay will fail. which is attached to a switch. drive voltage. sometimes fusing together. The electromagnetic coil attracts a steel plate. The value is printed on the relay. it becomes an electromagnet. You can select one according to your needs.g. number of contacts.Relays The relay takes advantage of the fact that when electricity flows through a coil. impedance. voltage and current capacity of the contact points. A very useful feature of a relay is that it can be used to electrically isolate different parts of a circuit. The resistance voltage of the contacts is the maximum voltage that can be conducted at the point of contact in the switch. It will allow a low voltage circuit (e. so it can not operate at high speed. respectively. The various things to consider when selecting a relay are its size. The relay operates mechanically. or not. the contacts will spark and melt. When the maximum is exceeded. 100 VAC or more). So the switch's motion (ON and OFF) is controled by the current flowing to the coil. . etc. There are many kind of relays. 5VDC) to switch the power in a high voltage circuit (e.g.

If it is used to control a DC system. I think that it will handle several hundred mA. and if it is used to control an AC system. and the permissible current limit is 2A. The physical dimensions of the relay on the left are width 19. the spacing of the component leads is a multiple of 0. and the permissible current limit is 1A.On the left in the photograph is a small relay with a coil driving voltage of 12 VDC. and depth 10 mm. the maximum resistance voltage is DC30V. Its driving voltage is 3 VDC. the maximum resistance voltage is 125 VAC. It can also be mounted on the universal PWB. Both types of relay can be mounted on the PWB.5 mm. height 10 mm.) Although the resistance and permissible voltage and current at the point of contact are indistinct. The one that is on the right has the width 20 mm. It has two electrically independant points of contact (switches. . The relay on the right in the photograph can be used to control a 100 VAC system. It has one contact only. height 15 mm.1 inches. and depth 11 mm.

The different types of wire can be divided largely into two categories: single wire and twisted strand wire. the maximum resistance voltage is DC 28V. single wire is used to connect devices (resistors. Its driving voltage is 12 VDC. Wiring materials Wire is used to electrically connect circuit parts. It needs a socket. and the permissible current limit is 5A. capacitors ect) together on the PWB. There are various kinds of wiring materials. it will break soon. height 35 mm. and the permissible current limit is 5A in case of AC system.32 mm . and depth 20 mm. and also to connect discrete pieces of equipment. equipment etc. On this page. I introduce the type that is used for the assembly of electronic circuits. but usually. so it can be used for wiring on the PWB. It really doesn't matter which kind you use for a given application. It is convenient to use the single tin coated wire of the diameter 0. (Parts that don't move) It is also used for jumper wiring. as it is not very flexible. devices. In a DC system. and mounts on the case or some other place with a screw. It has 2 contacts. maximum resistance voltage is AC 240V.The relay pictured to the right is able to handle a little larger electric power. Twisted strand wire can bend freely. This type of relay can not be mounted on the PWB. If single wire is used to connnect separate equipment. The dimensions are width 22 mm.

Otherwise. If the diameter is larger.for the wiring of PWB. It's convenient to wire the circuit using different color wires for different purposes. it becomes difficult to bend the wire the way you want it to stay. If you want to connect separated parts on the PWB.12/7PVC. wiring the circuit with many wires the same color gets confusing. It's best to use whatever wire you are comfortable with. twisted wire covered with soft insulation material is most convenient for wiring. It is called 0. The pictured wire is comprised of 7 tin . And if the diameter is too thin. and not worry about those things. The photograph on the left shows several colors of twisted wire. soldering becomes a little bit difficult.

jumper wiring etc. you need to scrape the enamel off the wire. It is used for making coils. polyester enameled copper wire (PEW) which is also thin brown. The PEW can not be soldered. you do not need to scrape the insulation off the wire. There are several kinds of coated wires. Pictured at the left is polyurethane wire. when you are building a circuit on a universal PWB. and enameled wire with a burnt brown color.coated wires 0. polyurethane enameled copper wire(UEW) which has a thin brown color. In case of the UEW. Coated wire is used for making coil components like a transformers.32 mm. because the polyester coating will not melt at the soldering temperature. .12 mm each in diameter. covered by very thin PVC plastic. because the polyurethane will melt at the soldering temperature. It is convenient to use for wiring components. 0. In the photograph to the right is pictured tin coated wire with a diameter of 0. So if you want to solder PEW wire.4 mm in diameter. Tin coated wire colored silver.

Next. The wire is polyurethane coated single wire of 0.We first make schematic in it. Keil on its own converts these files to hex files. the wire is attached and solderd to the first lead of a given component. Microcontroller understands hex files.2 mm thickness. Copper wire can be drawn out from the tip like the core of a pencil. But as hex files are very complicated therefore we make use of the software keil. This in turn creates lay out of PCB. First. the wire is drawn out from the tool and can be soldered at the desired lead of another component. . Software tools:- Orcad for circuit designing . Programming in keil makes use of C or Assembly language which are easily programmable.In this photograph is a tool used for wiring. Keil for compiling.

Soldering is an ancient technique mentioned in the Bible and there is evidence that it was employed up to 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. roof flashing. electrical conductivity. and occasionally still are. In a soldering process. Joints in sheet metal objects such as food cans. but have adequate strength. Jewelry components are assembled and repaired by soldering. Soft soldering is characterized by the melting point of the filler metal. it is distinguished from welding by the base metals not being melted during the joining process. Soldering is also used to join lead . heat is applied to the parts to be joined.Proload After the formation of hex file we need to insert this hex file into the micro controller so that it executes the program written in the keil. After the metal cools. Another common application is making permanent but reversible connections between copper pipes in plumbing systems. causing the solder to melt and be drawn into the joint by capillary action and to bond to the materials to be joined by wetting action. The filler metal used in the process is called solder. rain gutters and automobile radiators have also historically been soldered. the resulting joints are not as strong as the base metal. For this purpose we make use of proload. Soldering Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint. and water-tightness for many uses. Applications One of the most frequent applications of soldering is assembling electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCBs). which is below 400 °C (800 °F). Soldering is distinguished from brazing by use of a lower melting-temperature filler metal. the filler metal having a relatively low melting point. Small mechanical parts are often soldered as well.

came and copper foil in stained glass work. chief among these is the coincidence of the liquidus and solidus temperatures.4 °F) (eutectic: the only mixture that melts at a point. Soldering can also be used to affect a semipermanent patch for a leak in a container cooking vessel. i. Common solder alloys are mixtures of tin and lead. instead of over a range) y y 60/40: melts between 183 190 °C (361 374 °F) 50/50: melts between 185 215 °C (365 419 °F) . the eutectic alloy of 63% tin and 37% lead (or 60/40. mechanical assembly. Lead-free solders are suggested anywhere children may come into contact (since children are likely to place things into their mouths). Other alloys are used for plumbing. which is almost identical in performance to the eutectic) has been the alloy of choice. A non-eutectic formulation must remain still as the temperature drops through the liquidus and solidus temperatures. Solders Soldering filler materials are available in many different alloys for differing applications. and quicker setup as the solder cools. In electronics assembly. Any differential movement during the plastic phase may result in cracks. or for outdoor use where rain and other precipitation may wash the lead into the groundwater. giving an unreliable joint. This allows for quicker wetting out as the solder heats up. a eutectic formulation has the lowest possible melting point.e. respectively: y 63/37: melts at 183 °C (361. the absence of a plastic phase. and other applications. A eutectic formulation has several advantages for soldering. Additionally. which minimizes heat stress on electronic components during soldering.

Traditional rosin fluxes are available in non-activated (R). better electrical conductivity and higher corrosion resistance. Other common solders include low-temperature formulations (often containing bismuth). Tin-lead solder. for example. reducing the surface tension of the molten solder and causing it to better wet out the parts to be joined. flux acts as a wetting agent in the soldering process. Flux is a substance which is nearly inert at room temperature. Flux In high-temperature metal joining processes (welding. making it more difficult to create reliable joints with them. which increases the wettability of metals to which it is applied by removing existing oxides. The residue resulting from the use of RA flux is corrosive and must be cleaned . RA and RMA fluxes contain rosin combined with an activating agent. but which becomes strongly reducing at elevated temperatures. and high-temperature formulations (usually containing silver) which are used for hightemperature operation or for first assembly of items which must not become unsoldered during subsequent operations. which form quickly at soldering temperatures. the primary purpose of flux is to prevent oxidation of the base and filler materials. Fluxes currently available include water-soluble fluxes (no VOC's required for removal) and 'noclean' fluxes which are mild enough to not require removal at all. 'no-lead' solders are becoming more widely used. Specialty alloys are available with properties such as higher strength. which are often used to join previously-soldered assemblies without un-soldering earlier connections. brazing and soldering). depending on their composition. but not give adequate performance for a poorly-controlled hand-soldering operation. attaches very well to copper. mildly activated (RMA) and activated (RA) formulations.Lead-free solder alloys melt around 250 °C (482 °F). typically an acid. a very mild 'no-clean' flux might be perfectly acceptable for production equipment. preventing the formation of metal oxides. but poorly to the various oxides of copper. see also RoHS. Unfortunately most 'no-lead' solders are not eutectic formulations. For environmental reasons. Secondarily. Performance of the flux needs to be carefully evaluated. See complete discussion below.

heating the parts. "Hard soldering" or "silver soldering" (performed with high-temperature solder containing up to 40% silver) is also often a form of brazing. A temperature of 450 °C is usually used as a practical cut-off.off the piece being soldered. even at elevated temperatures. or a torch. Depending on the nature of flux material used. especially in the field of jewelry. Practically speaking there is a significant difference between the two processes²brazing fillers have far more structural strength than solders. applying flux. or in excess of. or occasionally a hot-air pencil. removing heat and holding the assembly still until the filler metal has completely solidified. cleaning of the joints may be required after they have cooled. In silver soldering ("hard soldering"). the temperatures . Thus. the goal is generally to give a beautiful. one joint at a time. with cleaning being preferred but optional. torches or electrically-heated soldering irons are more convenient. fitting up the joint. structurally sound joint. based on the melting temperature of the filler material. soldering gun. it may be technically incorrect depending on the exact melting point of the filler in use. Sheetmetal work was traditionally done with "soldering coppers" directly heated by a flame. Brazed connections are often as strong or nearly as strong as the parts they connect. with sufficient stored heat in the mass of the soldering copper to complete a joint. Although the term "silver soldering" is used much more often than "silver brazing". All soldered joints require the same elements of cleaning of the metal parts to be joined. The distinction between soldering and brazing is arbitrary. since it involves filler materials with melting points in the vicinity of. or en masse on a production line. applying the filler. Basic soldering techniques Methods Soldering operations can be performed with hand tools. 450 °C. and are formulated for this as opposed to maximum electrical conductivity. Different equipment and/or fixturing is usually required since (for instance) a soldering iron generally cannot achieve high enough temperatures for brazing. RMA flux is formulated to result in a residue which is not significantly corrosive. Hand soldering is typically performed with a soldering iron.

ceramics. and graphites can be soldered but it involves a process similar to joining carbides. stainless steel and aluminum are a little more difficult. Titanium. would seem to indicate that the process should be referred to as "brazing" rather than "soldering". This induces currents in the part being soldered. The coils are usually made of copper or a copper base alloy. Desoldering and resoldering Used solder contains some of the dissolved base metals and is unsuitable for reuse in making new joints. Induction soldering is a process in which a filler metal (solder) is placed between the faying surfaces of (to be joined) metals. Iron and nickel are found to be more difficult. silver. usually resulting in a brittle cold solder joint with a crystalline appearance. and the usual use of a torch rather than an iron. Some metals are easier to solder than others. Generally copper coils are used for the induction heating. Once the solder's capacity for the base metal has been achieved it will no longer properly bond with the base metal. It is good practice to remove solder from a joint prior to resoldering²desoldering braids or vacuum desoldering equipment (solder suckers) can be used.involved. Desoldering wicks contain plenty . but the endurance of the "soldering" apellation serves to indicate the arbitrary nature of the distinction (and the level of confusion) between the two processes. The filler metal in this process is melted at a fairly low temperature. Fluxes are a common use in induction soldering. The source of heat in induction soldering is induction heating by high-frequency AC current. They are first plated with a suitable metallic element that induces interfacial bonding. Because of their thin. This is a process which is particularly suitable for soldering continuously. strong oxide films. Copper. Induction soldering is a process which is similar to brazing. The process is usually done with coils that wrap around a cylinder/pipe that needs to be soldered. The copper rings can be made to fit the part needed to be soldered for precision in the work piece. and gold are easy. steels. magnesium. cast irons.

leaving it mostly intact though the outer layer will be "tinned" with solder. Common tools Hand-soldering tools include the electric soldering iron. Soldering coppers are sometimes used in auto bodywork. shiny. which is heated in a blacksmith's forge fire. as well as making the new solder flow very quickly and easily. . Flux will remain which can easily be removed by abrasive or chemical processes. A soldering copper is a tool with a large copper head and a long handle. which has a variety of tips available ranging from blunt to very fine to chisel heads for hot-cutting plastics. and the soldering gun. Soldering torches are a type of soldering device that uses a flame rather than a soldering iron tip to heat solder. The lower melting point of solder means it can be melted away from the base metal. clean junction to be resoldered. This will leave a bright. giving faster heat-up and allowing larger parts to be soldered. resulting in a new joint. Soldering torches are often powered by butane[3] and are available in sizes ranging from very small butane/oxygen units suitable for very fine but high-temperature jewelry work. Toaster ovens and hand held infrared lights have been used to reproduce production processes on a much smaller scale. although body solder has been mostly superseded by nonmetallic fillers. Hot-air guns and pencils allow rework of component packages which cannot easily be performed with irons and guns. This tinned layer will allow solder to flow into a new joint.of flux that will lift the contamination from the copper trace and any device leads that are present. to full-size oxy-fuel torches suitable for much larger work such as copper piping. and used to apply heat to sheet metal for soldering. which typically provides more power.

Electronic joints rarely require mechanical cleaning. For electronic work. A heat sink. Wire brush. A heavy rag is usually used to remove flux from a plumbing joint before it cools and hardens. alcohol and acetone are commonly used with cotton swabs or bristle brushes to remove flux residue. . For electronic work.Bristle brushes are usually used to apply plumbing paste flux. but additional flux may be used from a flux pen or dispensed from a small bottle with a syringe-like needle. wire wool and emery cloth are commonly used to prepare plumbing joints for connection. flux-core solder is generally used. For PCB assembly and rework. A fiberglass brush can also be used. such as a crocodile clips. can also be used to prevent damaging heat-sensitive components while soldering. solder wick and vacuum-operated "solder sucker" are used to undo solder connections.

Audio connectors such as XLR's will require a larger tip. For circuit board work you will need a finer tip. and different temperatures too. Temperature There are a lot of cheap. A low wattage iron may not keep its temperature on a big joint. Wattage adjustable or fixed temperature power source (electric or gas) portable or bench use I do not recommend soldering guns. melt cable insulation. Audio connectors need something bigger . Therefore. however. a lower temperature and finer grade solder. Higher wattage irons just have more power available to cope with bigger joints. . and even damage connectors. lots of soldering accessories available (see soldering accessories for more information). higher temperature and thicker solder. Soldering Irons There are several things to consider when choosing a soldering iron. Most of these are fine for basic soldering. as it can loose heat faster than it can reheat itself. You may also want to use a magnifying glass. as these have no temperature control and can get too hot.Soldering Tools The only tools that are essential to solder are a soldering iron and some solder. Some of these simply have a boost button on the handle. This can result in damage to circuit boards. others have a thermostatic control so you can vary the heat of the tip. Clamps and holders are also handy when soldering audio cables. but if you are going to be doing a lot you may want to consider a variable temperature soldering iron. low watt irons with no temperature control available. y y y y Wattage It is important to realise that higher wattage does not necessarily mean hotter soldering iron. Different soldering jobs will need different tools.around 15-30 watts will be fine. smaller joints such as circuit boards require a lesser wattage iron . There are.I recommend 40 watts at least. which is useful with larger joints.

If you have a temperature controlled iron you should start at about 315-345°C (600-650°F). You may want to increase this however - I prefer about 700-750°F. Use a temperature that will allow you to complete a joint in 1 to 3 seconds.

Power
Most soldering irons are mains powered - either 110/230v AC, or benchtop soldering stations which transform down to low voltage DC. Also available are battery and gas powered. These are great for the toolbox, but you'll want a plug in one for your bench. Gas soldering irons loose their heat in windy outside conditions more easily that a good high wattage mains powered iron.

Portability
Most cheaper soldering irons will need to plug into the mains. This is fine a lot of the time, but if there is no mains socket around, you will need another solution. Gas and battery soldering irons are the answer here. They are totally portable and can be taken and used almost anywhere. They may not be as efficient at heating as a good high wattage iron, but they can get you out of a lot of hassle at times. If you have a bench setup, you should consider using a soldering station. These usually have a soldering iron and desoldering iron with heatproof stands, variable heat, and a place for a cleaning pad. A good solder station will be reliable, accurate with its temperature, and with a range of tips handy it can perform any soldering task you attempt with it.

Solder
The most commonly used type of solder is rosin core. The rosin is flux, which cleans as you solder. The other type of solder is acid core and unless you are experienced at soldering, you should stick to rosin core solder. Acid core solder can be tricky, and better avoided for the beginner. Rosin core solder comes in three main types - 50/50, 60/40 and 63/37. These numbers represent the amount of tin and lead are present in the solder,as shown below.

Solder Type

% Tin

Melting Temp (°F)

50/50 60/40 63/37

50 60 63

50 40 37

425 371 361

Any general purpose rosin core solder will be fine.

Soldering Accessories
Soldering Iron Tips
Try to use the right size tip whenever you can. Smaller wires and circuit boards require small fine tips, and mic cable onto an XLR would need a larger tip. You can get pointed tips, or flat tipped ones (sometimes called 'spade tips'). If you have a solder station with a desolderer, you will also want a range of desoldering tips and cleaners.

Soldering Iron Stands
These are handy to use if you are doing several or more joints. It is a heat resistant cradle for your iron to sit in, so you don't have to lie it down on the bench while it is hot. It really is essential if you are planning to do a lot of bench soldering as it is only a matter of time before you burn something (probably your elbow resting on the hot tip) if you don't use one.

Clamps
I strongly recommend clamps of some sort. Trying to hold your soldering iron, the solder, and the wire is tricky enough, but when you have to hold the connector as well it is almost impossible. The are however, adjustable clamps that can be manipulated to hold both the connector and the wire in place so you still have two free hands to apply the heat and the solder. These are cheap items, and I know mine have paid for themselves many times over.

Magnifying glass
If you are doing work on PCBs (printed circuit boards) you may need to get a magnifying glass. This will help you see the tracks on the PCB, and unless you

have exceptional sight, small chip resistors are pretty difficult to solder on well without a magnifying glass. Once again, they are not expensive, and some clamps come with one that can mount on the clamp stand.

Solder Wick
Solder wick is a mesh the you lie on a joint and heat. When it heats up it also melts the solder which is drawn out of the joint. It is usually used for cleaning up solder from tracks on a circuit board, but you will need a solder sucker to clean out the holes in the circuit board. Place the wick on the solder you want to remove then put your soldering iron on top of the wick. The wick will heat up, then the solder will melt and flow away from the joint and into wick.

Solder Suckers
If you don't have a solder station with desolderer, and you work on PCB's, you are going to need one of these before too long. They are spring loaded and suck the melted solder out of the joint. They are a bit tricky to use, as you have to melt the solder with your iron, then quickly position the solder sucker over the melted solder and release the spring to suck up the solder. I find solder wick to be easier to use and more effective.

Fume Extractors
Solder fumes are poisonous. A fume extractor will suck the fumes (smoke) into itself and filter it. An absolute must for your health if you are setting up a soldering bench.

Preparation
Step 1: Preparation
If you are preparing the cable for a connector, I strongly suggest you put any connector parts on now (the screw on part of an XLR, or casing of a 1/4" jack for example). Get into the habit of sliding these on before you start on the cable, or else you can bet it won't be long before you finish soldering your connector only to discover you forgot to put the connector casing on, and have to start all over again.

and they do the job fine. but not far enough to cut the copper strands of the core. On the other hand. so stick with wire cutters or side cutters if you are at all unsure. you will need to strip your cable.and although I have a couple of wire strippers. I use side cutters for small cable and a Stanley knife for bigger cables. and squeeze it and pull the end bit off. Using a sharp blade like that certainly does have it's risks. You can either use a wire stripper.Once you have all the connector parts on that you need. This may sound a tedious method.. The obvious tool to choose to strip a wire would be. or pull it off with your fingers.. some people (myself included) prefer to use a knife or side cutters. position them about 10mm (1/2 inch) from the end. Common Sense Alert! Please be careful when you flick melted solder. I won't explain how I use a knife to do larger cable. It will cut to a preset depth. but it is better to cut too shallow and have to turn and cut again rather than cut the core and have to start again. and gently squeeze the cutters into the insulation to pierce it.. side cutters. There are many types of wire stripper.. Do this by putting the tip of your soldering iron into the hole and flicking the solder out when it has melted.flick it away from you. Open the cutters slightly so you can turn the wire and pierce the rest of the insulation.. or a knife to do this. or too shallow. but in no time at all you will be able to do it in two cuts and a flick of the cutters. and if you have chosen the right depth it will cut the insulation off perfectly. You simply put the wire in. as I'd hate someone to slice a finger or thumb open following my instructions.. Now you should be able to slide the insulation off with your cutters.. make sure you remove any remnants of wire and solder from the contacts... This may seem odd. You may have to do this a few times to cut through all of the insulation. but they are very easy to use. It is possible to choose the wrong depth and cut too deeply. This means removing the insulation from the end of the wire and exposing the copper core.a wire stripper. and most of them work the same. . If your connector has been used before. If you are using side cutters (as shown here). but I've got my side cutters and knife with me anyway. I haven't used them for years.

You can cut the wire back after you have tinned it. then apply the solder into the cavity of the contact. Once again. you should 'tin' both contacts before you attempt to solder them. The solder should flow freely onto the wire and coat it (if it's stranded wire the solder should flow into it. Be careful not to overheat the wire. the longer it will take to heat up enough to draw the solder in. the solder should flow freely and fill the contact. Connectors such as jacks have contacts that are just holes in a flat part of the connector. To tin these you put your iron on it. hold the iron on the outside of the the contact for a second or two. and expose more copper core that you intended. To tin a wire. apply the tip of your iron to the wire for a second or two. then apply the solder to the wire. You may need to snip the end off afterwards. as the insulation will start to melt. particularly if you have put a little too much solder on and it has formed a little ball at the end of the wire. but it's best simply not to over heat it. This coats or fills the wires or connector contacts with solder so you can easily melt them together. so use a higher temperature soldering iron for larger cables if you can. To tin a contact on an audio XLR connector.Tinning Step 2: Tinning Whatever it is you are soldering. On cheaper cable the insulation can 'shrink back' if heated too much. Once you have tinned both parts. and apply the solder to where the iron is touching. The solder should flow and cover the hole. The larger the copper core. . and fill the wire). you are ready to solder them together.

the wire probably moved during soldering. you may find the insulation has melted. If the joint is dull and crinkly.Soldering Step 3: Soldering This step can often be the easiest when soldering audio cables. or there is too much stripped wire showing. Just rub the soldering iron tip on it after each solder. This should all take around 1-3 seconds. Cleaning Your Soldering Iron You should clean your tip after each use. . There are many cleaning solutions and the cheapest (and some say best) is a damp sponge. slide the wire into the contact. You simply need to place your soldering iron onto the contact to melt the solder. Remove the iron and hold the wire still while the solder solidifies again. If it does not go so well. y y y If you have taken too long it will have have solder spikes. You will see the solder 'set' as it goes hard. A good solder joint will be smooth and shiny. When the solder in the contact melts. If this is the case. you should desolder the joint and start again.

The solder melts and is drawn into the wick. Some solder stations come with a little pad at the base of the holder. Most beginning solderers tend to use too much solder and heat the joint for too long. It may also look like this if the joint was not heated properly while soldering. solder wick is what you need. Desolder the joint and clean the parts before trying again. so it is better not to let the tip get so dirty that you need to use tip cleaner. 2. Troubleshooting If either of the parts you are soldering is dirty or greasy. If there is a lot of solder the wick will fill up. Tips and Tricks 1. If you need to clean solder off a circuit board. If you have one of these. you should get into the habit of wiping the tip on the pad each time you apply solder with it. For example you cannot solder aluminium with lead/tin solder. . Another reason the solder won't take is that it may not be the right sort of metal. 4. and the solder will flow into it as it passes. You place the wick on the joint or track you want to clean up. 3. the solder won't take (or 'stick') to it. This works well if your tip hasn't been cleaned for a while. Use the proper type of iron and tip size. Keep your iron tip clean.Another option is to use tip cleaner. This comes in a little pot that you push the tip into. it may look grainy or dull. so gently pull the wick through the joint and your iron. 5. Don't move the joint until the solder has cooled. Melted solder flows towards heat. and apply your soldering iron on top. It does create a lot of smoke. If the joint has been moved during soldering.

To provide a useable low voltage the PSU needs to do a number of things:y y y y Reduce the Mains AC (Alternating current) voltage to a lower level.If the joint was overheated the solder will have formed a spike and there will be burnt flux residue. Telecommunications equipment is designed to operate on voltages lower than the domestic Mains voltage. The difference between the number of turns provides us with a way of reducing (in our case) a high AC voltage to a lower one. In order to reduce this voltage a PSU is used. A second number of turns of wire are wound around the Primary Winding. Convert this lower voltage from AC to DC (Direct current) Regulate the DC output to compensate for varying load (current demand) Provide protection against excessive input/output voltages. . Reduction of AC Mains This is achieved by using a device known as a Transformer an electromagnetic device consisting of an ferrous iron core which has a large number of turns of wire wound around it. this will be used from hereon in. this set being known as the Secondary Winding. known as the Primary Winding The ends of these turns of wire being connected to the input voltage (in this case Mains AC). Power supply Power supply The term power supply is more commonly abbreviated to PSU.

The second capacitor is connected via a low value. In a simple PSU the easiest way to provide regulation to compensate for varying load conditions is to use a pair of relatively high value Electrolytic Capacitors. This is a silicon diode. the diode only allows current to flow in one direction) As our low AC voltage will be working at a frequency of 50Hz (Mains AC frequency) it is desirable to reduce the inherent hum on this to a lower level. which assists in limiting the current demand. . (This can be four individual diodes or a dedicated self contained package) Regulation of Output Voltage The Electrolytic Capacitor is a device capable of storing energy the amount of energy and the time it remains stored depending on the value. This is achieved by a technique known as Smoothing (³Ironing´ out the bumps in the AC). A simple way to reduce the hum is to use Full Wave Rectification. which has operation analogous to a bicycle tyre valve (as the valve only allows air to flow into the tyre. Their values in this case being in the region of 470uF to 2000uF depending on the application and the amount of current required from the output of the unit.Conversion of AC to DC To convert our now low AC voltage to DC we use a Rectifier Diode connected to the Secondary Winding. medium to high wattage resistor. this capacitor also providing an extra degree of smoothing the output waveform. One of these capacitors is connected across the DC output of the rectifier diode(s) or bridge. Today this is usually done by four diodes in a bridge configuration known as a Bridge Rectifier.

also at the DC outputs. In the event of an excessive input voltage. or excessive current being drawn from the output. The transformer may also be fitted with an internal or external thermal fuse. which will open if the transformer becomes hot due to the aforementioned conditions.Protection against excessive voltages In a simple PSU the easiest way to do this is by providing fuses at the input to the transformer. Transformers . generally in the live side of the mains supply. one of these fuses should normally blow protecting the PSU and the equipment connected to it.

[Actually.alternating current (AC) or pulsed DC. Power is fed into one coil (the "primary"). But transformers come pretty darn close. 100 Watts come out the other end. If you put 100 Watts into a transformer.] A transformer is made from two coils of wire close to each other (sometimes wrapped around an iron or ferrite "core"). which creates a magnetic field. The magnetic field causes current to flow in the other coil (the "secondary"). and why should I care? A "transformer" changes one voltage to another. there are minor losses in the transformer because nothing in the real world is 100% perfect. perhaps 95% efficient. . What is a transformer. This attribute is useful in many ways. Note that this doesn't work for direct current (DC): the incoming voltage needs to change over time . A transformer doesn't change power levels.A "transformer" takes one voltage and changes it into another.

y If the primary has the same number of turns as the secondary. y In certain exceptional cases. you have a step-up transformer that increases the voltage. Types of transformers . y If the primary has fewer turns than the secondary. y If the primary has more turns than the secondary. the outgoing voltage will be the same as what comes in.Iron core The number of times the wires are wrapped around the core ("turns") is very important and determines how the transformer changes the voltage. one large coil of wire can serve as both primary and secondary. you have a step-down transformer that reduces the voltage. This is the case with variable auto-transformers and xenon strobe trigger transformers. This is the case for an isolation transformer.

Power Transformers Power transformers are used to convert from one voltage to another. The transformer takes in the low voltage at a high current and puts out the high voltage at a low current. at significant power levels. transformers are used for two purposes: signal matching and power supplies.In general. Step-up transformers A "step-up transformer" allows a device that requires a high voltage power supply to operate from a lower voltage source. Examples: .

but must run off of 220 VAC from the wall. Step-down transformers .S. y The CRT display tube of your computer monitor requires thousands of volts.A.y You are a Swiss visiting the U.. and want to operate your 220VAC shaver off of the available 110 VAC.

y Your doorbell doesn't need batteries. In many cases. step-down transformers take the form of wall warts. but you plug them into the 220 VAC line. The transformer takes in the high voltage at a low current and puts out a low voltage at a high current. converted to 12VAC. Examples: y Your Mailbu-brand landscape lights run on 12VAC. It runs on 220 VAC.A "step-down transformer" allows a device that requires a low voltage power supply to operate from a higher voltage. .

This usually serves as a safety device to prevent electrocution. whatever voltage comes in is what goes out. Variable auto-transformers . An isolation transformer prevents current from flowing directly from one side to the other.Isolation transformers An "isolation transformer" does not raise or lower a voltage.

A "variable auto-transformer" (variac) can act like a step-up transformer or stepdown transformer. Inverters are also used to operate fluorescent lamps from battery power. it contains a transformer (and lots of other stuff). The most common type of inverter takes power from an automobile and cranks out 220 VAC to run appliances and power tools. It has a big knob on top that allows you to dial in whatever output voltage you want. Winter 2003) shows some variacs. WARNING: A variable auto-transformer does not provide isolation from line current. Inverters An "inverter" takes a DC power source and boosts it up to a higher voltage. For that you need an isolation transformer. Technically. . This page from the All Electronics catalog (#103. an inverter isn't a transformer.

Half-Wave Rectifier . these transformers are thought of as impedance matching. and the transformed thing carries some type of information signal. In most cases. This process is called rectification. Rectifier What is a Rectifier? A rectifier changes alternating current into direct current. which changes direct current into alternating current. But in this case.Signal Transformers "Signal transformers" also take one thing in and transform it to another thing out. A rectifier is the opposite of an inverter. the power levels are low. and bridge. The three main types of rectifier are the half-wave. full-wave.

but others require a more steady current. the diode is reverse-biased and the current stops. The result is a clipped copy of the alternating current waveform with only positive voltage. This requires a fullwave rectifier that can convert both parts of the cycle to positive voltage. Full-Wave Rectifier . When the voltage of the alternating current is positive.The simplest type is the half-wave rectifier. the diode becomes forward-biased and current flows through it. This pulsating direct current is adequate for some components. which can be made with just one diode. and an average voltage that is one third of the peak input voltage. When the voltage is negative.

The result is still a pulsating direct current but with just over half the input peak voltage. The center tap allows the circuit to be completed because current can not flow through the other diode. and double the frequency. and can be made with two diodes and an earthed center tap on the transformer. The positive voltage half of the cycle flows through one diode. Bridge Rectifier .The full-wave rectifier is essentially two half-wave rectifiers. and the negative half flows through the other.

The bridge rectifier allows for full-wave rectification without the need for an earthed center tap on the transformer.The bridge rectifier. It it usually packaged as one component with four terminals. The remaining ends are joined to form two input terminals. consists of four diodes connected together in a square. also called a diode bridge. These form the rectified output terminals. and the other two are connected at their cathodes. Two diodes are connected at their anodes. Smoothing .

This eliminates any high frequency AC voltage that could otherwise . The 78XX series of voltage regulators are designed for positive input. the component has three legs: Input leg which can hold up to 36VDC Common leg (GND) and an output leg with the regulator's voltage. And the 79XX series is designed for negative input. adding a capacitor in parallel between the common leg and the output is usually recommended. 78LXX can be used. and releasing it when the voltage falls. As mentioned above. Examples: y y y y 5V DC Regulator Name: LM7805 or MC7805 -5V DC Regulator Name: LM7905 or MC7905 6V DC Regulator Name: LM7806 or MC7806 -9V DC Regulator Name: LM7909 or MC7909 The LM78XX series typically has the ability to drive current up to 1A. Voltage Regulator (regulator). They are available in a variety of outputs. usually having three legs. For maximum voltage regulation. A choke and second capacitor are usually added to further smooth the ripple. The most common part numbers start with the numbers 78 or 79 and finish with two digits indicating the output voltage. converts varying input voltage and produces a constant regulated output voltage. The number 78 represents positive voltage and 79 negative one.1MF capacitor is used. Rectifier Uses Rectifiers are used mostly in power adapters and alternators to convert alternating current to direct current. This removes most of the ripple but does not result in a steady voltage. For application requirements up to 150mA. Typically a 0. so a filter is required to smooth out this ripple.Even the bridge rectifier has some variation in it's output voltage. They are also used in radios to demodulate signals from the antenna. A capacitor connected across the output terminals acts as a basic filter by storing energy during the peak voltage.

the regulator will overheat. See below circuit diagram which represents a typical use of a voltage regulator. .combine with the output voltage. The LM78XX series can handle up to 36 volts input. Lm7805 Note: Heat sink As a general rule the input voltage should be limited to 2 to 3 volts above the output voltage. If the input voltage is unnecessarily high. the regulator will shut down. Unless sufficient heat dissipation is provided through heat sinking. be advised that the power difference between the input and output appears as heat.

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