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How to Build DIY Switches and Potentiometers from Household Materials

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Clive
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Re: Applauding accessible learning
Clive"Max"Maxfield   1/26/2017 11:40:52 AM
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@MWagner: ...have fun with that project.

It's actually a lot of fun -- I'm really enjoying coming up with different ways to present fundamental concepts -- I'm hoping to post excerpts from the first book once we're a bit farther along to get everyone's feedback -- watch this space :-)

MWagner_MA
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Applauding accessible learning
MWagner_MA   1/26/2017 7:41:36 AM
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I must applaud your efforts in this area Max. Traditional ways of teaching Electrical Engineering immediately dives into equations that may deter some while they imagine they couldn't possibly master it.  One suggestion is to provide links to much more detail in areas that a student may have the stomach for deeper learning.  Component engineering is an area where most makers will fail when trying to migrate a design to a "real product".  Simple things like potentiometers...why so many types and when would you use different ones?  Makers who want to turn their "working" prototypes into reliable product will ultimately have to learn.  But like all of us, you need to walk before you run. Nice job Max, have fun with that project.

perl_geek
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Re: Fundamental lessons
perl_geek   1/20/2017 1:18:44 PM
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Rather than repeat the whole quotation about productivity, I'll just point you at http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN1.html I.1.3 (that's Book 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 3).

and from the same site, http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN13.html   IV.2.11 (Book 4 Chapter 2, paragraph 11)

"It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy."

Clive
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Re: Fundamental lessons
Clive"Max"Maxfield   1/20/2017 12:45:45 PM
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@perl_geek: ...the lessons in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations"...

I've not heard of this -- tell me more

perl_geek
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Fundamental lessons
perl_geek   1/19/2017 11:53:12 AM
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There's nothing like trying to recreate simple components from available materials to drive home the lessons in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" about the benefits of specialisation. (Actually, it's rather depressing when you compare the cost (in time and money) of many "store-bought" objects to the equivalent DIY effort, (if it's even possible to DIY.)

antedeluvian
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Twist wire and thermocoupl;e
antedeluvian   1/19/2017 9:16:18 AM
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Max

All this talk of making your own transistor reminded of a technichnique to make your own thermocouple. See idea #14 in my blog "Top 17 Helpful Hints for Constructing Electronic Systems". The need for high current supplies may prove insurmountable for hobbyists though.

Perhaps you should pass on the twisted wire hint as described in idea #1 of the same blog.

Ron Neale
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Re: Scribbled circuits and homemade transistors
Ron Neale   1/19/2017 8:56:58 AM
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Traneus; As at the time a British Grammar school tinkerer the technique I used was the base of one old germanium point contact diode and two pieces of etched phosphor bronze with a very thin piece of mica between.  The junctions were formed by discharging a capacitor to alloy (phosphourous doping???) to create the two junctions. I have omitted the corks used to hold the whole thing together. Managed to make a few oscillators.



traneus
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Scribbled circuits and homemade transistors
traneus   1/18/2017 8:06:05 PM
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Art Trauffer published (in Popular Electronics in the 1950s?) an article describing scribbled circuits using pencil marks on paper for resistors and capacitors (using the paper itself for the capacitor dielectric).

In the 1950s, British experimenters were rebuilding two germanium diodes into one point-contact transistor.

elizabethsimon
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Morse Code Key = Switch
elizabethsimon   1/18/2017 7:01:48 PM
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Since a Morse Code key is just a set of contacts that can be pressed together, a Google search for 'DIY Morse Code Key' or similar will turn up a number of possibilities for DIY switches.


I also seem to recall seeing where someone made a switch with cardboard or plastic and aluminum foil. Of couse most of these are SPST. SPDT is likely to be a bit more difficult to construct.

 

Rcurl
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Taking things apart
Rcurl   1/18/2017 5:53:53 PM
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I think a lot could be learned by disassembling things like a carbon potentiometer, toggle switch, pushbbutton switch, and perhaps a relay. You should be able to find sources of these items for a few cents each.

Notice that I'm not mentioning the "back together again" part of the process. 

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