Learning about Electricity

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

AKPilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
0
As a follow-up to a conversation I had back in 2007, I wanted to learn more about electricy so I can start an Av-Bay.

So for my birthday last week, my wife bought me a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab kit, with both basic and digital worksbooks written by Forrest Mims (who I've heard is respected in this area). The kit itself is pretty darn neat and takes you step-by-step through the learning process.

Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab

Anyone else ever practice on one of these things?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

H_Rocket

Death by Powerpoint
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,931
Reaction score
280
Location
North Central Texas
Lord yes when I was around twelve. Not the exact same thing, however it was a Radio Shack set that would let you make something like 64 different projects.
 

ben_ullman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,523
Reaction score
0
Ill be honest im sure some of those projects are harder than an eletronics bay! It doesn't take much to hook up a battery, switch, and 2 charges.

Ben
 

Zeus-cat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
4,629
Reaction score
836
I have found mechanical aspect of building the bay to be more of a challenge than any of the electrical stuff. As has been stated, all you really need to do is run some wiring from the altimeter to the charges and hook up a switch and a battery to the altimeter. The battery is the only polarized connection you need to make. The wiring to both charges and the switch should consist of a pair of wires and they can be reversed without any problems. I recommend color coding or marking the wiring in some way so that it is easily identifiable.

The wires from the positive terminal of the battery to the altimeter should be red.

The wires from the negative terminal of the battery to the altimeter should be black.

Think of the wiring to the charges and the switch like the wires running from your launch controller to the igniter in one of your rockets. It doesn't matter which clip connects to which igniter lead so long as you complete the circuit and don't have a short.
The wires to the apogee charge should be color 1
The wires to the main charge should be color 2
The wires to the switch should be color 3

If you don't have 5 different colors of wire, then mark them in some way so you can keep them straight.

As I stated earlier, designing a lightweight, strong electronics bay that holds the altimeter and battery securely is the tough part. You also need to mount a switch somewhere on the rocket that allows you to turn the altimeter on and off with the rocket ready for launch. Trust me, you don't want to have to disarm a rocket on the pad by pulling it apart to get to the altimeter. If the altimeter is armed you can activate it by opening the electronics bay and changing the air pressure. The altimeter should fire the ejection charges under such circumsances.

I am sure you will learn something from the Radio Shack kit, but I doubt it will be readily applicable to your electronics bay.
 

Buckaroo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
392
Reaction score
7
Ill be honest im sure some of those projects are harder than an eletronics bay! It doesn't take much to hook up a battery, switch, and 2 charges.

Ben
Yeah it's easy... until something doesn't work right and you have to figure out why :p

I'm a mechanical/aero kind of guy. Electrons never did make much sense to me :eek:

Here's everything I know about Electrcity Eeeeeeeeelectricity!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuLgfePrids
 

eugenefl

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Messages
4,375
Reaction score
10
I always wanted one of those when I was a kid. My brother got two. I always wanted a microscope set - yep, my brother got two. I wanted a drum set, my brother got an electronic keyboard. You'd think he'd share, but nope. He was the older brother. All I got was a rock. LOL.

I do remember he'd put together some really neat projects. One that stands out was a radio. I was amazed that a box of wires and a shovel as the ground could make a real receiver. Really neat.
 

Peartree

Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Administrator
Global Mod
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
5,474
Reaction score
932
Location
Alliance, Ohio
My older brother had a Heathkit. Cool stuff but I'm not sure if I learned anything that lasted. Then again, I'm sure I never read the theory but just did the experiments. I did get an degree in Elec. Engineering so maybe *something* stuck. :D
 

georgegassaway

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
4,781
Reaction score
695
So for my birthday last week, my wife bought me a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab kit, with both basic and digital worksbooks written by Forrest Mims (who I've heard is respected in this area)
Uh, saying Forrest Mims is respected as the writer of how-to electronics books is sort of like saying G Harry Stine wrote a book about Model Rocketry that wasn't half-bad.

This is a must-have by Mims:

"Getting Started In Electronics"

That book was as useful to me for electronics as Stine's Handbook was for Model Rocketry. As I did some googling to dig up the following, I see that over time it has sold 1.3 million copies.

https://www.forrestmims.com

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0945053282/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Sample of what one of the pages is like:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mightyohm/3079379002/

Short background on the creation of the book:
https://blog.makezine.com/archive/2...ting_started_in_ele.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

Never had the Learning Lab kit, so I cannot give any insights into that. But I gotta say, even with the lab, and even with Mims' other books, I think you should get "The Handbook of Electronics" by G. Forrest Mims.

Uh, I mean - "Getting Started In Electronics", by Forrest Mims III. Because for a lot of people, that still is their "handbook" for electronics. Sure is mine.

Even with the Lab, you really want to know why things work. Not just that if you hook them up, that they will either work , not work, or sometimes "let out the magic smoke".

BTW - Mims was into model rocketry in the late 1960's and early 70's. He wrote some electronics articles for Model Rocketry Magazine. One of them was for a "ram-air guidance" system intended to make a model home in onto the sun. When the Ram-Air guidance system itself turned out to have a fatal flaw in concept, he moved on to other projects. I have no doubt he could have made the sun-homing part work if he had used a conventional type control system, such as external control surfaces driven by the smallest model airplane servos circa 1970 (though they were not very small or light), but his focus was on a neat type of control concept (the ram-air), not the sun-homing.

He helped create a small company named MITS to sell some rocket electronic devices. The focus shifted to non-rocket electronics. And eventually, they came up with the Altair 8800, the worlds first Mini-Computer KIT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800

- George Gassaway

getting-started-in-electronics.jpg


750_Mims_006_800_pixels_ANNOTATED.JPG
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dpower

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,359
Reaction score
141
Lord yes when I was around twelve. Not the exact same thing, however it was a Radio Shack set that would let you make something like 64 different projects.
Oooh, the famous 64-in-1 kit! It had little springs to connect various component terminals to each other (which often took a little wiggling to get good contact). Had a variety of resistors, capacitors, and not just one, but *two* transistors! Enough to make one whole flip-flop :rolleyes:

I still have mine, I really should get rid of it since I haven't used it in over 30 years...
 

davel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
594
Reaction score
46
Had a variety of resistors, capacitors, and not just one, but *two* transistors!
Transistors? Your kit had transistors? My first multi-project kit had 4 tubes, a chassis and an assortment of R's and C's. Had to unsolder one project before you could build the second.
 

H_Rocket

Death by Powerpoint
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,931
Reaction score
280
Location
North Central Texas
I still have mine, I really should get rid of it since I haven't used it in over 30 years...

Yeah the little spring thingys for connections. I remember building a crystal radio, a flip flop, an astable multivibrator, some stuff with a solar cell.
 

Handeman

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
7,831
Reaction score
399
Location
Stafford, VA
If you really want to learn electronics you can do it the way I did, enlist in the US Navy Advanced Electronics program. Six years and you get to see the world too. You'll learn a lot more then you expect.
 

AKPilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
0
If you really want to learn electronics you can do it the way I did, enlist in the US Navy Advanced Electronics program. Six years and you get to see the world too. You'll learn a lot more then you expect.
Umm, my time's passed . . . already served 22 years on active duty with the Air Force. Retired in 2005. ;)
 

m85476585

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
2
This is a great applet for learning about circuits:
https://www.falstad.com/circuit/index.html

It is fun to play with if even if you have no idea what you are doing, and now that I'm taking Circuit Analysis, it helps me visualize what we are learning and figure out difficult homework problems.
 

mjennings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,705
Reaction score
76
Happy late Birthday Troy,

I know what you mean tell me a bunch of pool balls are doing something, then change the pool balls to electrons and I can't make sense of it, even though everything is the same.
 

falingtrea

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
798
Reaction score
1
Heheh, my dad had a DeVry modular "learn electronics by mail" set with tubes!! That was my first exposure to electronics.
 

Latest posts

Top