Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 70

Electronics Handbook

A Simplified Reference for Teachers

2000 J P Fuller

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 1

ELECTRONICS HANDBOOK - A Simplified Reference


First Published 1997

Published by:

J P Fuller

48 Portmarnock Circle
MANDURAH Western Australia 6210

ph (09) 535 6471

ISBN: 0 646 07144 0

Special Acknowledgements:

Reg Ion (Retired Television Technician) for technical support and


This work is held copyright by the author

Permission is granted for non-profit educational institutions to make multiple

copies of this booklet. It is a condition of such permission that at least one
complete copy of this work is left in its original form with all acknowledgments
and copyright notices in tact.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 2

Resistors are devices which limit the flow of electricity. Resistors are generally
made of substances which only partially conduct electricity such as carbon and
some metal oxides.

The unit of resistance is the "ohm". The symbol for resistance is the Greek letter
omega: ohm

Resistors are constructed to offer predetermined resistances. Most common

resistors are guaranteed to be within 5% of their marked value. ('Metal oxide'
resistors are rated at their marked value plus, or minus 1%.)

In the early days of electronics, resistors were large enough to have their
resistance printed directly onto the body of the device. Modern resistors,
however are far too small to allow values to be marked and use a "colour code"
consisting of 'bands' painted onto the device. Each colour and its position
represents a specific value.
Colour Bands

Numerals Tolerance
The "tolerance" band indicates the accuracy of the resistor.

Silver = +/- 10%

Gold = +/- 5%

Resistors with a blue body (metal oxide types) have a tolerance of +/- 1%.

The values represented by each colour are:

Black 0
Brown 1
Red 2
Orange 3
Yellow 4
Green 5
Blue 6
Violet 7
Grey 8
White 9

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 3

Reading Resistance Values:
On 5% resistors (that don't have a blue body) the first two bands represent the
first two digits in the number. The third band represents the "multiplier" ie the
number of zeros to be added after the first two numbers. The value is in 'ohms'.
Red Red Orange

eg 1

First two digits : Red, Red - therefore: 2, 2

The multiplier : Orange - therefore: 000 (ie three zeros)

The value is therefore: 2 2 0 0 0 ohms, or 2.2 thousand ohms, or 2.2kohms, or

2.2 kohm, or 2k2ohm.
Brown Black Black

eg 2

First digit : Brown - therefore: 1

Second digit : Black - therefore: 0
The multiplier : Black - therefore: zero (ie no zeros)

The value is therefore: 10 ohms, or 10ohm

1% Tolerance Resistors

High accuracy resistors are made using a metal-oxide film, rather than carbon.
These resistors have a blue body and four colour bands instead of three. The
same colour code system applies, but there are three 'digit' bands and one
'multiplier' band.

First digit : Red - therefore: 2

Second digit : Red - therefore: 2
Third digit : Orange - therefore: 3
The multiplier : Brown - therefore: one zero

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 4

The value is therefore: 2230 ohms, or 2.23kohm

Standard Resistor Values:

With 5%-accurate resistors, there is no point in making values closer than 10%
apart. If a 1000ohm resistor can only be guaranteed to be somewhere within the
range 950ohm to 1050ohm, there is no point trying to market a 980ohm resistor,
for example.

To cater for the 'overlap' in resistor values, a standard 'series of values is used.
The series is called the "E12 series" and was developed in the days of +/- 10%
values. (You can confirm the 'overlap' status of this range for yourself.) The E12
series is:

1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8, 2.2, 2.7, 3.3, 3.9, 4.7, 5.6, 6.8, 8.2

in 'tens' this would become:

10, 12, 15, 18, 22, 27, 33, 39, 47, 56, 68, 82

and so on ....

When designing projects using 5% tolerance resistors, the 'nearest' value in the
series is chosen.

NOTE: You can purchase exact values down to the several decimal places, but
the cost is significant. A special value resistor from a multi-meter, for example,
may cost up to $10 each!!

If guaranteed accuracy is required, the 1% 'metal-film' resistors are used. These

values are close enough for all but high precision applications.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 5

Variable Resistors - Potentiometers:

Variable resistors are used in applications such as the volume control on a radio
receiver and the vertical screen positioning on a computer monitor. These
resistors are constructed with a path of carbon and a movable 'wiper' which is
used to change the length of carbon path the current flows through.

Adjusting 'wiper'

High Low
Carbon track Resistance Resistance
path path

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 6

In its simplest form, a capacitor consists of an insulator sandwiched between two
conductors. The insulator is called a "dielectric" and may consist of almost any
insulating material ranging from paper, ceramic, air, oil, plastic and so on.

The capacitors used for tuning in radio applications, often have moveable 'plates',
but in by far the majority of applications, the positions and sizes of the plates and
dielectric are fixed. (Hence the capacitance remains constant.)

The unit of capacitance is the Farad. (After Faraday)

Until very recently, it would be true to say that a 'one-farad' capacitor would be
the size of a dinner plate. The 'farad' is a very large unit.

The majority of capacitors in general use have values in the rage of micro-farads,
nano-farads, or pico-farads!

(One farad = one million micro-farads

= one thousand million nano farads
= one million million pico farads.)

Large capacity capacitors are used in domestic appliances such as some video
recorders as an emergency memory back-up power supply, rather than using
batteries. Typically, these capacitors may have values of five or six farads at 3

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 7

Capacitors cont....

The key to understanding the use of capacitors in circuits is that they are
basically insulators.

If a battery is connected to a capacitor, electrons will flow from the battery onto
one of the plates and from the other plate into the battery. This flow of current
will continue until the charge on each plate is at its maximum. (As determined
by the construction of the capacitor.)

For the brief time this process is taking place, there appears to be a complete
circuit. If a globe were connected into this circuit, it would glow during the time
current was flowing and charging the plates.

Consider then, if alternating current is applied to the capacitor, the plates will be
continually charging and discharging as current flows into and out of the plates.
A globe connected into the circuit will now remain alight for as long as the
varying voltage is applied.

A capacitor will therefore conduct changing current, but block Direct Current
(DC) (It is important to appreciate that the voltage need not necessarily alternate
from positive to negative to be 'passed'; a changing DC current will pass 'through'
a capacitor.)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 8


As outlined previously, the main use of capacitors is where the designer wishes
to pass changing voltage ( the 'signal') while blocking unwanted DC effects.

The choice of capacitor depends upon two factors - the signal voltage and its
frequency response. (In some cases, current carrying capacity is also significant.)

If the applied voltage exceeds the rating of the capacitor, current may 'punch'
through the dielectric from one plate to the other. Maximum voltage rating is
usually marked on the capacitor in some way.

(Information at the end of this section will provide a general guide.)

The size of the plates and the thickness of the dielectric determines the efficiency
with which the capacitor will pass a particular signal. A small, thin capacitor is
more effective for higher frequency signal than one with large plates and thick

Physical construction and the type of materials used will also have an effect on
the frequency response of capacitors.

Once the general type of capacitor has been chosen (refer to the following table),
the designer must select the capacitance needed to 'pass' the specific signal. As a
general guide, if audio signals are involved (several thousand Hz), typical values
would be tens of micro-farads, while radio frequency signals would necessitate
the use of pico, or 'nano' values.

In reality, consideration must be given to the effects of other components, but the
general rule applies.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 9



Capacitor type Max. voltage Frequency

ceramic 50 volts typical high (radio)

greencaps (polyester) 100 volts typical low to medium
polystyrene 100's of volts low to medium
tantalum up to 50v typical low
electrolytics up to 100v typical low

NOTE: This table is meant to provide a guide only. There are many exceptions
to the 'voltage' figures given. In general, a higher voltage rating results in much
higher cost.


The capacitance of capacitors may be marked in one of several ways.

Where there is sufficient room on the body of the device a number and the units
will be printed e.g. 100uF 25 VW,

which indicates that this capacitor has a capacitance of 100 micro-farads and a
breakdown voltage of 25 volts. (approximately)

Smaller capacitors, such as 'greencaps' use a numerical system where the first
place represents the first digit, the second place; the second digit and the third
place is the number of zeros. (the multiplier) The capacitance so indicated is in

104 K = 100,000pF or 0.1uF

Colour codes follow a similar pattern to that used for resistors, but they tend to
become rather confusing at times. A good set of 'data' sheets should be consulted
when decoding is needed.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 10

Diodes are the simplest of solid-state devices. They consist of a piece of P-type
material fused to a piece of N-type material. The most common forms of diodes
are constructed from Silicon, with Germanium reserved for those special
applications where a low forward bias is essential.

As outlined later in the section on the "P-N junction", the diode will only conduct
in one direction, with electrons flowing from the N-type end to the P-type end.

If a voltage is applied which reverse biases the junction, the depletion layer will
widen until a point is reached where the voltage exceeds the 'breakdown' voltage
of the diode and large currents flow; destroying the device. (One type of diode,
the 'zener', actually makes use of breakdown voltage in an interesting way.)

There are many different forms of diodes, from simple 'point-contact' signal
diodes to multi-coloured light emitting diodes. A few of the more common
varieties are discussed below.

Signal Diodes
Signal diodes are physically small devices usually used where small currents and
high frequencies are involved. As will be discussed in the section on 'vari-caps',
the size of the junction has an effect on the signal capabilities of the diode. A
small junction offers less resistance to high frequencies than does a wide thick

As the name implies, these diodes are to be found in the 'signal' section of radios
and televisions. ( This role is being phased out by I.C. detectors.)

Signal diodes are very small and often glass encapsulated, with a red or black
band on one end. (The glass is sometimes painted over to reduce unwanted
photo-voltaic effects.

Cathode K A Anode
- +

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 11

Power Diodes
Where larger currents are involved, a larger junction is needed to dissipate the
heat generated. A small junction would be in danger of literally melting with
currents in excess of a few hundred milli-amps.

Since the power diode has a large junction, it is not suited to high frequency
applications. (High frequency, high current diodes are available, but the cost is

One advantage of the larger junction is its ability to withstand higher voltages
without sustaining damage. While a signal diode may only be able to take 30 to
50 volts reverse potential, it is quite common to find power diodes rated up to
several thousand volts maximum reverse bias. (Termed "Peak Inverse Voltage",
or PIV.)

Power diodes are able to pass large loads varying from the 1N400X series rated
at 1 amp up to industrial diodes capable of carrying hundreds of amps!

These diodes come in a variety of encapsulations, the most common being a

black cylinder of plastic about 3mm across with a white band indicating the
cathode (negative) end. Large-current devices are often encased in metal to
provide efficient heat transfer.

It is possible to purchase a 'pack' of four power diodes arranged in a full-wave

bridge configuration. (See the section on power supplies.) The physical
construction of bridge depends again on the current demand, but all have four
leads; two for A.C. input and one each for positive and negative output.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 12

The varicap is a fascinating application of the P-N junction. As discussed later,
in the section on the P-N junction, a reverse bias on the 'diode' junction widens
the depletion layer. It should remembered that this region is devoid of carriers,
or in other words; an insulator.

We therefore have an insulator between two conductors, or a CAPACITOR!

Varicaps are used in modern 'tuners', such as in televisions and videos. All
'touch-tuning' appliances are based on the varicap principle.

A varicap allows the designer to use voltage changes to directly produce a

change in capacitance.

Light Emitting Diodes

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are among the most widely used of all types of
diodes. Colours available range from red, orange, yellow, and the recently
developed blue LED

Various sizes and intensities are available, with the most common (and cheapest)
being the 5mm red led.

LEDs are also available in "packages" arranged to produce letters and numerals.
The price and availability of these packages depends to a large extent upon
current industrial requirements. The once common "FND500" could be obtained
for less than a dollar until quite recently. At the moment it costs considerably
more, if it can be found at all! (The problem of changing commercial demand for
components needs to be kept in mind when choosing student projects.)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 13

LEDs cont........

Numerals are produced by arranging LEDs in a seven-segment arrangement as

outlined below. I.C.s are available for "driving' displays directly. (The 4026 for
example, will take pulses, count them and display the count on a seven-segment
display, all for a few dollars!)

A LED may be thought of as a 1.5 volt globe for design purposes. If voltages of
more than this are involved, a 'dropping' resistor is needed, as indicated below.

Rx = (E - 1.7) x 1000 I

Where E is the input voltage and I is the current in amps.

eg: Voltage Rx

6v 330 ohms
9v 390 ohms
12v 560 ohms

As with all diodes, orientation is critical. The following diagram should provide
a useful guide.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 14

Zener Diodes
If a reverse bias is applied to a diode it will resist conduction until a point is
reached where current is forced to flow. This voltage is called the Peak Inverse
Voltage, or; breakdown voltage.

Under normal circumstances, the diode would be destroyed.

It was discovered that precise production techniques could produce a diode with
a predetermined 'breakdown' voltage which was less likely to be damaged by
'reverse' current flow. This type of diode is called a "Zener Diode".

The result is device which maintains a constant voltage across its ends.

Zeners are available in a variety of ratings, the most economical being a one watt
version. 'Voltages' usually follow the E12 series, i.e. 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, etc.

It must be remembered that Zeners are used in REVERSE mode, i.e. the anode
connects to the negative supply.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 15

The transistor may be thought of as an electronic tap, able to control a large flow
of electrons with only small variations of the 'spigot'.

The 'tap' is controlled by varying the voltage between the emitter and base of the
transistor. The main 'flow' is a path between the emitter and the collector.

As outlined later, in the section on the 'Bi-polar' transistor, in order to turn on the
emitter-collector pathway, a forward bias of at least 0.6 volts is needed between
the emitter and base. In a PNP type, this means the base bust be at least 0.6 volts
'more negative' than the emitter and in a PNP type, the base must be at least 0.6
volts 'more positive'.

The actual base current is chosen in order to provide a 'linear' response to the
applied signal. (i.e. the amplified signal is proportional to the changing base

Biasing Transistors:
To keep the transistor operating within this useful range, resistors are used to
establish a predetermined potential difference between emitter and base and base
and collector. These resistors are called 'bias' resistors. There are a variety of
ways to provide the correct 'bias' to a transistor, one of the most common is
presented below:

Resistors R1 and R2 form a 'voltage divider' which establishes correct bias and
ensures a 'linear' response.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 16

The following circuit is presented in order to give some insight into the design of
a typical power supply. The most significant feature of this supply is that the
collector of the output transistor may be connected directly to the case of the unit,
providing a considerable saving by eliminating all heat-sinking. The supply
could be expected to deliver several amps continuously.

Circuit Design and Theory by:

Reg Ion (Technician)

The voltage at the emitter of Q1 is set by the zener. (In this case at 6.4 volts.)
The base of Q1 is therefore at 5.8 volts. (0.6 volts 'lost' because of the barrier
potential across the emitter/base junction.)

The ratio of RA and RB is calculated to produce approximately the zener voltage

at the bottom of RA.

e.g. if the output voltage is 12 volts the ratio required is 5.6 to 6.4.

The 'ratio' of RA to RB could therefore be 5.6k to 6.8k (E12 series)

cont over ......

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 17

The Regulated Power Supply - HOW IT WORKS:
If the output voltage increases, the voltage at the junction of RA and RB also
increases. In other words, the voltage at the base of Q1 rises. This tends to turn
off Q1 which turns off Q2 and Q3. (Reduces the current, rather than turning them
off completely.)

The opposite occurs if the voltage tends to drop off.

A constant voltage is therefore maintained at the output of the supply.

In practice, RA would be adjustable, in order to set the output exactly.

RS - provides a 'starting load' for the supply. A voltage must appear at the base
of Q1 before the circuit will operate. RS allows current to flow at 'switch on' and
to establish the necessary potentials around the circuit. (For a very small load,
RS may be reduce in value.)

CL - provides improved stabilisation. i.e. ripple is further reduced.

RG and Globe - prevents the generation of excessive voltage at the output when
loads are very small. If Q3 switches off under light loading, the current flowing
through RS could allow the output to rise to the voltage at the output of C1 and
C2. The small current flowing through the globe prevents this from happening.
(RS is chosen to limit the current through the globe to 'safe' levels.)

RZ - limits the current passing through the zener.

C1 - provides a degree of 'smoothing'- about 10,000uf total is adequate.

D1 - D4 - rectify the transformer output.

TR - mains transformer with about 20 volts output.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 18

The Regulated Power Supply - How it Works cont.....


The choice of Q1, Q2 and Q3 is an interesting exercise in itself. You must work
'backwards' from Q3.

The most economical choice for Q3 would be a 2N3055. This transistor can pass
up to 15 amps and is easily bolted directly to the case. (Without the use of an
insulating washer!) The required output voltage is also well within the
specifications for this transistor.

Having selected Q3, we must determine its optimum base current . (Data tables
need to be consulted.)

Q2 is selected according to its ability to deliver this base current to Q3, keeping
in mind the current available from Q1 and the gain of Q2.
Q1 is then selected according to the base current needed by Q2, keeping in mind
the gain of Q1 and current available from RA.

This may seem complex at first, but in reality it is very simple. The complication
arises because we must consider the current needed by the following transistor,
while working out the base current and gain of the preceding transistor.

Say for example that Q3 requires a base current of 100mA. Q2 must deliver this
current having 'amplified' its own base current.

We therefore need to know the gain of Q2 and the current available from Q1.

The base current of Q1 is determined by the value of RA and RB.

A small signal transistor such as a BC558 has a gain of several hundred, so even
a few milliamps at its base will provide tens of milliamps at the base of Q2. It is
therefore not all that important to know the exact base current of Q1, as long as a
high gain transistor is used.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 19

The Regulated Power Supply - How it works cont......

Perhaps more important is the choice of Q2. This transistor must be able to
provide sufficient gain and power handling to 'amplify' tens of milliamps into the
hundred, or so needed by Q3.

A typical choice would be a BD139.

The preceding was presented for two reasons. Firstly to provide an insight into
the theory of power supplies and secondly (and most importantly) to try to show
that electronic design is demanding, but by no means impossible. With a good
set of data tables and an understanding of basic transistor theory such as 'gain'
and 'base current' anyone could select suitable replacement for Q1, Q2 and Q3.
(Give it a go!)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 20


P-type and N-type Material:

Electricity travels through substances when electrons move from place to place
within the substance.

Elements which have outer electrons held less tightly than inner ones may have a
number of "free electrons" which are able to move around and take part in this

Substances such as Silicon have some "free electrons", but not as many as a
substance such as copper.

By adding certain 'impurities' to crystals of silicon, or Germanium, more free

electrons (Carriers) may be liberated.

The diagram below represents the structure of a 'normal' pure crystals of Silicon.
(Only outermost electron are shown.)

Notice that each atom shares eight electrons. Under these circumstances, all
electrons are bound strongly to the nucleus, leaving few "free electrons" in the

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 21

If a few atoms of phosphorus are added to the crystal, unpaired electrons are now
free to move within the crystal structure. The process of adding selected
'impurities' to Silicon is termed "Doping".

f atoms of Aluminium are diffused into a Silicon crystal, the following

arrangement will occur.

In this case, spaces, or 'holes' exist where electrons could exist. Electrons can
move from one end of the crystal to the other by 'jumping' from hole to hole. (It
could in fact be imagined that the 'hole' is moving in the opposite direction!)

As the above two examples illustrate, conduction through 'doped' Silicon differs.
In one case, conduction is by electron flow and the other by 'hole' flow. (This is
not just a case of semantics, there are measurable differences between the two!)

Materials which conduct by electron movements are called: N-type.

Materials which conduct by 'hole' movement are called: P-type

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 22

When a piece of P-type and N-type material are fused (melted) together an
interesting phenomenon occurs. The following diagrams show diagrammatically
what happens to carriers within the resulting fused mass.

N-Type P-Type

(Only one type of carrier at a time will be shown in the following diagrams.)

On fusing, carriers 'migrate' into the opposite region because of attraction

between opposite charges.



This process continues until the number of carriers which have crossed the
'junction' have a large enough charge to repel any others and prevent the others
from crossing.

A "barrier potential" is set up within the device, preventing carriers from crossing
the barrier. The region between is free of carriers and is termed the "depletion

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 23

The P-N Junction cont ...

The voltage needed to overcome this 'barrier potential' and allow carriers to move
across the junction is dependent upon the conductor material. For Silicon it is
0.6 volts and for Germanium it is only 0.2 volts.

NOTE: If a reverse potential is applied to the junction ('reverse bias') the

depletion layer becomes even wider, making it even more difficult for conduction
through the device.



Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 24

The preceding discussion has assumed that the conducting material is either
'pure' N-type, or 'pure' P-type. In reality, any conductor will have some
impurities. In P-type material, the majority of carriers are 'holes' and only some
current flow is due to electrons. ("Electrons" in this sense as discussed previously
- obviously all flow is due to electrons.)

In P-type material then; 'holes' are majority carriers and 'electrons' are minority
carriers. Similarly, in N-type; 'electrons' are majority carriers and 'holes' are
minority carriers.

The small 'reverse' current across forward biased junctions is due to the flow of
minority carriers, which 'see' the junction as forward biased. Flow due to this
phenomenon is termed 'leakage current'.

This concept of minority flow across a 'reverse biased' junction is key to

understanding the operation of most semiconductor devices.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 25

An examination of how the Bi-Polar transistor works should provide an insight
into the physics of similar multi-junction devices....

A bi-polar transistor consists of three 'doped' pieces of semiconductor material

fused to produce a device with two 'junctions', each with characteristics similar to
the basic P-N junction discussed in the previous section.

The ease with which the carriers can move across a junction may be represented
by an 'energy level diagram'.

Consider firstly, energy levels across the basic 'diode' junction.

As can be seen from the diagrams; when forward biased, majority carriers from
each side will readily flow 'downhill' to a lower energy state across the junction.

Minority carriers, on the other hand see the junction as a 'hill' and will not
readily flow to the higher energy state. The small current which does flow is
called: 'leakage current'.

When three pieces of semiconductor material are fused together, the situation
becomes slightly more complex, but the same basic 'diode' principles apply.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 26

The Bi-polar Transistor cont ....
The bi-polar transistor is constructed with a heavily doped emitter, a very thin
base and a lightly doped collector.

Electrons flow from the emitter to the base region, but since the base is so thin,
most diffuse into the collector. While this region is reverse biased for holes, it is
forward biased for the electrons which have just arrived. The light doping of the
collector prevents too high a degree of repulsion between the electrons in the
collector and those which arrive from the emitter. (via the base)

The small base current 'removes' any electrons in the base region which would
otherwise tend to block the flow of current from the emitter.

As the collector-base junction is reverse biased (for majority carriers), the

collector supply voltage may be considerably larger than the base-emitter
junction voltage. This allows a large 'load' resistor to be connected in series with
the collector as shown. (Rc above)

In other words, the low resistance of the base-emitter junction has been
transferred to a higher resistance in the collector circuit. (ie "Transistor")

The same principles apply for PNP transistors, but the charges on the majority
and minority carriers are opposite.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 27

FND 500 Seven Segment Display
A "seven segment display" consists of seven separate segments, made up of
LEDs, Fluorescent tubes, or magnetic panels (on some petrol bowsers) which can
be individually activated to display digits.

One of the most common electronic versions of such displays is made up of

seven rectangular LEDs moulded together into a single digit 'block'.
One leg of each individual LED connects to a pin at the rear of the device and the
second legs are all connected together as a single "common" pin. Depending
upon which arrangement is used, the display is described as "common cathode",
or "common anode".

The FND 500 is a "common cathode" display.

Pins 3 and 8 are connected to the cathodes of each LED (the negative leg). Either
pin may be connected to the negative line.

A positive voltage at appropriate pin will light the corresponding LED segment.

eg ... FND 500 pin configuration

1 - E 6 - B
2 - D 7 - A
3 - cathode 8 - cathode
4 - C 9 - F
5 - Decimal point 10 - G

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 28

FND 500 cont....

A special purpose Integrated Circuit (IC) is used to control the display and
illuminate the appropriate segments in order to produce the desired digit.

eg Lighting up segment "B" and "C" produces the numeral "1". Segments
"A","B","G","E" and "D" produce "2". Other digits from 0 to 9 are all produced
in the same way. (Some displays of this type have a few extra segments which
allow letters to be produced as well as numerals.)

The 4511 and 4026 "driver" ICs may be used with the FND 500 to produce the
appropriate segment display for each digit required.

NOTE: To limit current through the LEDs, a "dropping" resistor may be inserted
between "common" (pins 3, or 8) and the negative line.

(A more even display is produced when individual dropping resistors are used on
each segment line.)

The 4511 and 4026 are discussed in the following pages.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 29

The 4026 Decade Counter/Driver

This is a very versatile IC - able to drive a common cathode display (eg the FND
500) directly. Square wave pulses at pin 1 are counted by the IC and the
appropriate digit for the count displayed. ie The first pulse detected results in a
display of "1". The second pulse displays "2" and so on.

In normal operation, Reset and Clock Enable are held low with a 100kohm
resistor connected to the negative rail. Display Enable is held high with a
10kohm resistor to the positive rail.

The counter is reset (ie the count goes back to zero) by a high pulse on the Reset

A low at Display Enable turns off the display.

Pin 5 ( divide by 10 ) may be taken to the "Clock" of another 4026 to provide a

second counting digit.

Pin 14 goes low on count "2" only.

Typical price for a 4026 is around $3.00!

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 30

The 555 "timer" is one of the most versatile ICs available for project builders. It
is very robust and priced from as little as 40 cents in bulk lots!

In essence, the 555 switches its output from high to low (or vice versa) as
determined by associated circuitry.

When used as a "timer", this switching action takes place after a predetermined
period. In its "siren" mode, the 555 produces very rapid ON/OFF switching
which results in a tone when a speaker is attached.

When wired as a "siren", the 555 has two resistors and a capacitor connected as
indicated below:

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 31

The NE 555 Siren - How it Works:
Figure 5 shows resistor R1 connected between pin 7 and the positive rail, R2
between pin 7 and pin 6 and a capacitor between pin 6 and "ground".

When power is connected, pin 3 goes High. Capacitor C1 begins to charge via
R1 and R2. When the voltage across the capacitor reaches 2/3 of the supply
voltage (as detected at pin 6), pins 3 and 7 go Low and the capacitor begins to
discharge through R2 into pin 7. When the voltage across the capacitor drops to
1/3 of the supply voltage, pins 3 and 7 go High and the cycle repeats.

A "square wave" is produced whose shape is determined by the charge/ discharge

times of the capacitor. The times "t1" and "t2" are determined by the values
chosen for R1,R2 and C1.

The relationship between t1 and t2 is called the "mark to space" ratio.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 32

The 4511 Seven-segment Driver
The 4511 decodes Binary Counting Digits ("BCD") and drives a common
cathode display (eg FND 500) directly. In effect, the 4511 acts a four-bit binary
to decimal converter with direct output of the decimal conversion to a seven
segment display.

Input pins 1,2,6 and 7 receive BCD information from a device such as the 4518.
The 4511 decodes the binary count and displays it according to the "truth table"
below. (NOTE: "0" is logic Low and "1" is logic High.)

- BCD to Decimal "Truth Table" -

"D" "C" "B" "A" Decimal

pin 8 pin 2 pin 1 pin 7 value

0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 1 1
0 0 1 0 2
0 0 1 1 3
0 1 0 0 4
0 1 0 1 5
0 1 1 0 6
0 1 1 1 7
1 0 0 0 8
1 0 0 1 9

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 33

The 4511 cont...

In normal operation, pins 3 and 4 are held High (with a 10kohm resistor to the
positive rail) and pin 5 is held Low (with a 100kohm resistor to ground).

If pin 5 is taken High, the last BCD value received is held in display for the
duration of the High pulse.

If pin 4 is taken Low, the display is "blanked" (ie goes out).

If pin 3 is taken Low, all segments are illuminated, regardless of other

conditions. (Hence: "Lamp Test".)

The 4511 costs around $2.00!

NOTE: As with ALL CMOS devices, all inputs must be tied High, or Low. They
must not be left "floating". The usual approach is to tie "High" with a 10kohm
resistor to the positive rail, or tie "Low" with 100kohm resistor to the negative
rail (or "ground").

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 34

4017 Decade Counter

The 4017 accepts incoming pulses and "turns on" one of ten output pins as each
pulse arrives. Only one pin is "ON" at any one time.

eg At the first pulse, pin 3 goes High ("turns on"), on the next pulse, pin 3 goes
Low and pin 2 goes High. The next turns off pin 2 and turns on pin 4 and so on...

If a LED were connected to each of the "output" pins, they would turn on and off
in sequence as each "clock" pulse arrived.

Pin 11 (the tenth output) is usually connected to pin 15 (Reset) to automatically

reset and continue the cycle of "count to ten". If a count of less than 10 is
required, the pin after the desired count is taken to pin 15.

eg For a count of seven, pin 6 connects to pin 15.

The " 10 OUTPUT" is High for counts 0 to 4 and Low for counts 5 to 9.

A High at the "ENABLE" pin will stop the counting process.

This IC is not cheap (around $3.00) and is a very sensitive CMOS device. IC
sockets are recommended!

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 35

Silicon Controlled Rectifier ("SCR")

The SCR is a high-current, high-voltage solid state switch. A typical SCR, such
as the C106D is rated up to 400 volts at 4 amps!

Only a few milli-amps between the "Gate" and "Anode" will "trigger" the SCR,
which will continue to conduct until the voltage across A-K is removed (or

For low voltages, a "shorting switch" across A-K will stop conduction (ie turn it
off!) In the case of an AC supply, this resetting action will occur each time the
cycle changes. The SCR will therefore only continue to conduct AC while the
Gate current is present.

The SCR is very easy to trigger, but usually requires manual resetting, or
complex circuitry to perform an 'electronic' reset.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 36

SCRs cont ....

Typical Application:

The circuit outlined above may be used to control any battery-operated device up
to around 30 volts and drawing no more than about one amp. Simply cut the
power lead and connect leads to the device so that it becomes the "load"
represented above.

NOTE: This circuit must NOT be used on mains-connected devices, or high-

current loads (such as car horns.) It would be safe to use a battery/mains device
but ONLY with the mains disconnected. As a general rule - unless you are sure -

Electronics Handbook Part 2

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 37

The natural world tends to follow a pattern of continuous and gradual change.
Plants grow from seed to adulthood as a reasonably smooth transition. Even
"growth spurts" are regular for the duration of the "spurt". Mountains form,
weather and reform over countless centuries. In these "natural" environments the
starting point and end point are most definitely different, but any two "close"
points are usually very similar.

This type of change is often termed: "analogue", which means that each
succeeding part resembles the previous.

Typical of "analogue" change is the pattern produced by sound waves displayed

on an Oscilloscope screen.

Digital processing, on the other hand, deals solely with two states: ON or OFF.

Digital Electronics cont ....

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 38
The basic digital electronic "unit" is a switch. In most applications, the "switch"
is based on simple (and complex) transistor design. Many such switches are often
combined together in the same IC.

In Digital electronics, such "switches" are called "Gates".

A very large number of operations can be performed by combinations of only a

very few different type of "gates".

The basic digital gates (or "Logic Gates") are outlined in the following pages...

The AND Gate

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 39
In digital logic, the "normal" state is a "Low" (ie the voltage is OFF). The action
of gates is usually described in terms of what must happen to produce a High.

In an AND gate, a High is produced at the output only if the first AND second
inputs are High. Any other condition would leave the output Low.

An AND gate may be compared to two switches, A and B. If A AND B are

closed then the output is High.

The output "Z" will remain Low unless A AND B are High.]

The possible combinations are summarised in a "Truth Table" -

AND Truth Table


0 0 0 NOTE: "0" = Low

"1" = High
0 1 0

1 0 0

1 1 1

AND Gates cont ...

An AND gate may have more than two inputs.
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 40
In the example above, the output "Z" will be High only if "A", "B" and "C" are

This device is known as a "three input AND gate". A 16-pin package would
have room for at least three of these gates and would be called something like a
"triple, three-input AND" , meaning that there are three such gates in the

The NAND Gate

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 41
The "N" in front of a gate name means "NOT". In simple terms, it means the
output is "inverted". The state expected from a conventional "AND" gate is
opposite in a "NAND". If it would be High in an AND, it is Low in a NAND and
vice versa.

NAND Truth Table

1 0 1
1 1 0
0 1 1

The OR Gate
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 42
As the name implies, if either input "A" OR input "B" is High, then the output
will be high, otherwise the output will remain Low.

OR Truth Table


0 0 0

0 1 1

1 0 1

1 1 1

The NOR Gate

As outlined above, the "N" means "NOT". The output of a NOR gate is therefore
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 43
opposite to that of the OR gate.

NOR Truth Table


0 0 1

0 1 0

1 0 0

1 1 0

The "Exclusive OR" Gate

The output, "Z" is High if ONE and ONLY ONE input is High.

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 44



0 0 0

0 1 1

1 0 1

1 1 0

The NOT-Inverter
The output will NOT be the same as the input!
(Hence the alternative name for this gate: "inverter")
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 45
NOT Truth Table


1 0

0 1

NOTE: A "NAND" gate could be built by combining an AND gate and a NOT
gate! One of the design skills of the digital engineer is the most economical
choice of gate packages needed to perform the desired function.


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 46

eg 4050

The output of one stage of a digital circuit may not be "clean" enough to drive
the next stage directly. In such cases, a "buffer" is placed between each stage in
order to "square-up" the signal and return it to true digital.

NOTE: Buffers have no effect on the logic state of the circuit.


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 47

Many of the gates outlined previously are so small and simple to manufacture
that several gates are available in the one IC package.

eg 74C14 Hex Inverter (Six inverters)

When using this type of multi-gate package, you may use all available gates, or
just a few. (As discussed in the section on the 4017, when using CMOS devices,
all unused pin should be tied either High, or Low and not left "floating".)

If three inverters are connected as indicated below, the output of the circuit will
"oscillate" from High to Low and back again, producing a typical "square wave".
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 48
The frequency of oscillation will be determined by the "natural" delay caused by
the electrical characteristics of the gates themselves.

How it Works:

Imagine a starting point where the output of IC1 is Low (as above). A Low at the
input of IC2 will drive its output High. This will cause the output of IC3 to go
Low. Since B is connected to A, the Low at the input of IC1 will cause its output
to go High and so on ....

The result is an "unstable" circuit which will oscillate between High and Low

This particular arrangement has little application, but it demonstrates the

principle of oscillators in general. A more realistic arrangement is presented on
the next page.

Oscillators cont ...

If a resistor/capacitor delay is added to the arrangement on the previous page, the
result is an oscillator whose frequency may be controlled. In effect, R1 and C1
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 49
delay the time between B changing and A detecting that change.

NOTE: * RL is added to protect IC1 from high voltages.

The circuit above may be used to drive external components such as a LED or
amplifier stage.

An even simpler oscillator can be produced using a "Schmitt Trigger" inverter.

The Schmitt Trigger has two significant features:

1. it switches very rapidly, producing a near perfect "square wave"

2. the difference in input required to change output states is large (usually several

cont over .....

Schmitt Trigger Oscillator

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 50

If a NAND Schmitt trigger gate is used, on of the inputs may be used to control
the output, producing a series of "pulses" (or allowing the rapid sampling of
analogue input in a simple "A to D" converter).

Using Logic Gates

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 51
As well as producing IC's containing AND, OR and NOT gates, manufacturers
offer specialised combinations of these basic units such as "Flip-Flops",
"counters", "decoders" and so on. A number of examples of these digital
"families" are presented in the following pages.


A "Flip-Flop" is a circuit which is stable in one of two "states". It remains

"locked" in each state until triggered to swap to the other. The simplest flip-flop
is made using two NOR gates.

How it Works:

Consider the case of both inputs pulsed High. Each gate will attempt to drive its
output Low (Refer to the NOR truth table if you're not sure why.) Since the
output of each gate is connected to the input of the other, the effect of one output
going Low will drive the other gate's output High. Which gate "wins" will
depend upon the slight differences between them in terms of switching speed.
One gate will therefore become High and the other Low. The circuit will remain
"locked" in this stable state.

Flip-Flops cont ....

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 52
The "double input-High" situation described above is rare, but it serves to
highlight the action of Flip-Flops in general. More control is maintained using
the "Reset" input.

If the "Reset" is pulsed from High to Low, the state of the outputs will swap as
indicated below:

Possible conditions


Q Q-Bar Q Q-Bar

High Low Low High

Low High High Low

NOTE: Any other input condition will have no effect on the state of the Flip-Flop.

A Flip-Flop such as the one above is termed "Active High" because it is designed
to "toggle" its output as the reset input is taken from Low to High.


Flip-Flops cont ...

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 53
A Flip-Flop designed to toggle as the Reset input is taken Low is termed :
"Active Low"


"Clocked" Flip-Flops:
Many of the applications of Flip-Flops require that they respond only at certain
times. (Such as in computers and "A to D" converters.) For this reason, a "clock
input" is added. Such a Flip-Flop will not respond to any changes until the clock
pulse arrives.

Flip Flops cont ...

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 54
Another of the "clocked" Flip-Flops is the "Toggle" or "T-type".

If "T" is Low during a clock pulse, the outputs remain unchanged. If "T" is High
during the clock pulse the outputs will "toggle" (swap states), no matter what
their previous state may have been. ie High becomes Low and vice versa.

The "J-K "Flip-Flop:

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 55
Of the other types of Flip-Flops, the "J-K" is the most common and versatile.


By convention, the state of the Flip-Flop when the Q output is High is the "Set"

When the Q output is Low, it is in the "Reset" state.

Also remember that the Q and Q-Bar outputs are always complimentary. ie when
one is Low, the other is High.

J-K Flip-Flop Truth Table

Before Clock After Clock
J K Pulse Pulse

0 0 0 0
0 0 1 1
1 0 0 1
1 0 1 1
0 1 0 0
0 1 1 0
1 1 0 1
1 1 1 0

Uses of Flip-Flops cont ...

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 56


Any system which stores and manipulates information is called a "register". Flip-
Flops are the common building-blocks of registers.

The "D-type" Flip Flop:

If the D input is Low when the clock pulse is applied, the Flip-Flop switches (or
remains in) the "reset" state. ie Q output Low.

If the D input is High at the clock pulse, the Flip-Flop switches to the "set" state.
ie Q output High.

The D-type Flip-Flop is sometimes called a "Latch", since it stores, or latches,

the logic level present at the D input until the arrival of the next clock pulse.

In other words, the logic state at D is transferred to Q at each clock pulse!

Registers cont ...

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 57

How it Works:

Imagine that we wish to store a binary value of "1001".

The sequence required is ...

D1 is taken High as the first clock pulse arrives, driving Q1 High. (The clock
pulse must end before Q1 can in turn effect the second latch.)

The next clock pulse coincides with D1 going Low, but before Q1 goes Low, D2
goes High, driving Q2 High.

Next clock pulse: D1 Low, Q1 Low, D2 Low, Q2 Low, D3 High, Q3 High.

Next clock pulse: D1 High, Q1 High, D2 Low, Q2 Low, D3 Low, Q3 Low,

D4 High, Q4 High.

The pattern therefore becomes:

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

1 0 0 1

This pattern will remain "latched" in the register for as long as power is supplied.
Computer memories are based on this type of "latching" principle.

(Applying four more clock pulses "sifts" the stored data to the "Data Out" pin.)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 58
Counters are based on the "T-type" Flip-Flop.

Each successive Flip-Flop receives a clock pulse only after the preceding Flip-
Flip has been "set" and "reset". ie a full High-to-Low transition.

Such an arrangement produces "binary counting digits" ("BCD") at its outputs.


Input Pulses O4 O3 O2 O1

0 0 0 0 0
1 0 0 0 1
2 0 0 1 0
3 0 0 1 1
4 0 1 0 0
5 0 1 0 1
6 0 1 1 0
7 0 1 1 1
8 1 0 0 0

....., etc.

Such an arrangement is found in the 4518 "Dual BCD up Counter". (There are
actually two of the above in the 4518 package!)


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 59

There are three basic considerations when choosing project work for your unit
1. complexity
2. cost
3. availability of components (and circuit information)

Until such time as you are able to build up a personal library of suitable project
work , it is recommend that you base your models on books like E.T.I.'s "Project
Electronics". (An orange covered book, not to be confused with the series called
Electronics Projects 1,2....etc.)

Experience has shown that it is best to start all introductory electronics (eg 8231)
students on the same project. The most suitable is the "Heads and Tails" from
Project Electronics. (Replace the 'trimpot' with two 22kohm resistors to save

Either the "Two Tone Doorbell", or the "Electronic Siren" may be attempted
next, followed perhaps by the "LED Dice" or "Buzz Board".

The Simple Intercom", "Basic Amplifier" and "500 second Timer" are reasonable
projects, but avoid the more elaborate types such as alarms and the
"Tachometer". (The cost of the meter makes this a prohibitive expense.)

There are a variety of other Electronics magazines on the market which should
provide a good source of alternative projects. You must be wary, however about
outlaying large amount on books until you can recognise unsuitable material.
(As a typical example; stay well clear of any British or American circuits, you
may find it impossible to obtain the components!)

Most of the larger schools keep a library of suitable projects. A few dollars spent
on telephone calls may prove to be your best investment in the early years of
Electronics at your school.


There is little to compare with the personal satisfaction of making an electronic
project 'from the ground up'. Not only is it considerably cheaper to 'manufacture'
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 60
your own boards, but the insight gained into the area of 'fault finding' will prove
invaluable when trying to track down board faults in commercial appliances.

In principle PCB manufacture is very elementary. A chemical is used to etch

away unwanted copper laminate, leaving the desired 'track'. The chemical is
usually Ferric Chloride.


There are several versions of the basic 'blank' PCB. All have a thin layer of
copper bonded to a suitable substrate. The substrate may be 'phenolic' or fibre
glass. Fibre glass has many advantages over the cheaper substrates and provides
far greater mechanical strength.

Both the substrate and the copper are available in different thicknesses.

PCB is often available as 'off-cuts' from larger manufacturers such as Jemal in

Welshpool for around $25per Kg.


Ferric Chloride - Although FeCl3 stains both clothing and painted surfaces, it is
by far the safest of chemicals for general class use. It is strongly recommended
that a splash tray be used when etching in order to keep staining to a minimum.

The solution is prepared by mixing 500g of FeCl3 with 1500ml. of water. A

considerable amount of heat is generated during this process so care is needed.
On technique is to add FeCl3 slowly to the water contained in a large 'ice cream'
container which is in turn placed in a sink.

The solution will remain clearer during use, if 20 or 30 ml of about 2M HCl is

added after mixing.

A 2 litre bottle may be used to store the solution until needed.

Peroxide and HCl - Hydrogen Peroxide and 3 to 6 Molar HCl may be mixed and
used as a fast and clean etchant. While this solution is ideal when time is a factor,
it should not be seen as safe for student use. One of the greatest advantages of
this etchant is that ordinary 'textas' may be used as the 'resist'.

Making PCB's cont ...


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 61

Any coating which is not effected by the etchant used may serve as a suitable
resist medium. Nail polish, bituminous paint, varnish and so on would do, but
the task is made considerably easier if commercial resist pens are used. These
pens are filled with low viscosity liquid which presents a strong barrier against
Ferric Chloride. Turpentine may be used to remove the resist after etching. (The
'Dalo' brand is typical of this type of marker.)


Many of the splash problems associated with the use of FeCl3 can be eliminated
by restricting all etching to a set up similar to the one outlined below:

Also needed will be a container holding turpentine, a 'turps' cloth, an abrasive

paste cleaner and a cloth for the cleaner. (Cheap sponges are ideal)


1. Using a 'laminex' knife, score a cut along the copper side of the laminate.
Turn the board over and score along the fibre glass side. The depth of cut
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 62
needed will come with practice. Bend the board using firm pressure until it
breaks. ( A paper guillotine is even better!)

2. Make a tracing of the PCB artwork onto heavy duty tracing paper.

3. Cut the tracing paper and a piece of 'carbon' paper to the same size as the
board. Fix both to the PCB with adhesive tape along one edge. (This allows
you to keep everything in place while still being able to check your progress by
lifting up one side.)

4. Go over the original tracing with biro to transfer the pattern to the laminate.
Use only thin lines and small dots to represent tracks and holes.

5. Remove the adhesive tape and go over the tracing now on the copper with a
'Dalo' pen. The resist track should be dark and as wide as possible. If the pen
begins to dry out, press down on the tip. (Press down in an unused part of the
board - the pen sometimes 'floods'.) Any corrections should be left until the
resist is completely dry. (At least 10 minutes.)

6. Once the board is 'touch dry' and checked for mistakes, it may be placed in the
etch solution. Keep the solution moving and make sure that boards are not
placed on top of each other.

Replace the FeCl3 once it goes dark with a green tinge - do not add new
solution to old.

7. Use 'turps' to remove the Dalo from the etched board and thoroughly clean the
copper with an abrasive paste cleaner. Once dry, spray the board with PCB
lacquer and allow to dry.

8. Centre punch the hole positions and use a 1mm drill bit to drill the holes.

Your PCB is now complete and ready to form the basis of your project.
(At a fraction of the cost commercial boards.)

A Couple of DON'Ts to keep in mind:

1. Don't heat the FeCl3 in an attempt to speed things up.
2. 2. Don't clean the copper laminate before applying the resist. (If the surface
is very dirty, clean it several days in advance.)


Good soldering technique is the most important skill to be developed in the
students. The solder joint must be strong and reliable. There are two basic rules
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 63
for soldering:

1. be clean

2. provide enough heat

Cleanliness is assured if the board is prepared properly, sprayed with PCB

lacquer and new components are used. (There is little justification in using
'recycled' components.)

If the solder is applied properly, the 'resin' core will provide a degree of cleaning.

The main cause of poor solder joints is insufficient heat. The iron must be
powerful enough to maintain temperature when placed on the joint and it must
remain in contact with both the component and the board long enough for the
solder to adhere properly to each surface.

The STEPS for good soldering are ..........

1. Iron on (Touching both surfaces.)

2. Solder on (To contact both surfaces and the iron at the same time.)

3. Solder off (Leave the iron on for a few seconds.)

4. Iron off.

A good solder joint will appear shiny and smooth. If the joint is heated properly,
the solder will 'break' and wet the surface as it flows onto the component and the

A bad joint is dull, crystalline and usually has sharp 'points'. A 'dry' solder joint
results when the iron is not in contact with the component leg. (These are
sometimes difficult to identify as a cause of faults. Often they will have a minute
depression around the lead as it emerges from the solder 'hill'.)


Good quality soldering irons have a protective coating on the tips to prevent
corrosion. If treated properly, the tip will last years! If neglected, it will
deteriorate within a few weeks. (Since a tip will set you back around $5, it's a
good idea to take care of them.)
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 64
Outlined below are some suggestions for the care of soldering irons. It is
assumed that a quality iron with a 'slide in' tip is used. (There are good irons
with loose 'screw in' tips, but they start at around $40! each.)

Original design by:

Austin Coulthard
-Use a Solder Station which prevents the tip from resting on surfaces

- Never file the tips to clean them. (Use "Sal ammoniac", if necessary.)

- Coat new tips and their sleeves with a Silicon-based grease. This breaks down
on heating to produce a powder lining around the tip which makes removal easy.
Re-coat the tips every few months.

- Provide each station with a damp sponge and stress that the students must wipe
the tips (with a quick 'flicking' action) every few minutes.

- Have students 'tin' the irons before they are put away. i.e. melt solder onto the
tip, flick off the excess then turn off the iron. (This leaves a coating of solder on
the iron to protect it during storage.)

- Organise some means of hanging the irons in storage so that the tips cannot
come in contact with the cords, or bodies of other irons they are still hot.

- Encourage students to turn irons off if they are not going to be used for some

- Don't allow student to de-solder components without supervision. The

tendency is for them to try to 'screw' the component out with the iron tip. (and
damage the coating.) The use of 'salvaged' parts should be discouraged for this
reason. The cost saving is far outweighed by the cost of replacing the tip!


This should prove a very useful project when funds are running short. (Don't be
mislead by the apparent simplicity of this project, it is a real attention grabber!)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 65

(Developed in conjunction with Lou Paris)


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 66

R1 15kohm
R2 4.7kohm
R3 390ohm
R4 390ohm
C1 10uF

(Print at "50% reduction" for actual size artwork.)


Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 67

This project is ideal when funds are a bit low.

I start the students with the basic PCB layout, but leave off the LEDS until later.
They therefore construct a simple 'siren', producing a square wave to drive the

A CRO may be used to show them the shape of the wave.

I then discuss the operation of the '555' and tell them that the wave shape can be
easily changed by varying the values of R1, R2 or C2. (or all of them!) The CRO
can be used to show the changed shape.

The change in sound produced by the speaker should lead on to a discussion of

monophonic organs and how to produce a 'keyboard' containing a bank of
different resistors to allow students to play a tune.

Once they have had a go at the 'organ', I have them solder in the LEDs (Watch
the orientation, it tends to be confusing.) and manipulate the values of R1 and R2
to produce an alternating 'flasher'. (Values of about 1Mohm are needed.)

Students therefore have three projects in one!


Touch Beeper (Based on a project from Everyday Electronics April 1979)

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 68
Parts List

R1 220kohm Q1 BC 548 C1 0.1uF

R2 4.7kohm Q2 BC 548 Battery Clip
R3 56kohm Q3 BC 558 8ohm speaker
R4 33kohm Q4 BC 548

NOTE: R3 is an optional 220kohm trimpot.

Having chosen the most economical projects for the students to construct, the
Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 69
next step is to obtain the components at the best price.

There are now a number of suppliers who offer special deals for schools. Atkins
Carlyle in Perth have continued the supply structure developed by the Ministry
several years ago and offer quite reasonable prices.

Altronics offers schools FREE postage on orders over $20.

Ritronics in Melbourne offer wholesale pricing for schools and have proven to be
cheap, reliable and VERY fast at delivering goods.

Blank printed circuit board can be purchased as "off-cuts" from PCB

manufacturers such as Jemal Products, 5 Forge St Welshpool, for around $30 per

Whichever supplier you choose, you may find advantages in combining your
purchasing power with a nearby school also offering the Electronics units.

Final Comments:

This work was started a few years ago (before "Unit Curriculum" destroyed
Electronics in schools). There may still be a number of errors and omissions. If
sufficient interest is shown I will make the required modifications.

Schools may purchase site rights to duplicate this material by contacting me at

the address listed on page 2. At present, all funds raised through the sale of site
rights is paid into school funds. This is a fund-raising venture, not a private

Unauthorised duplication or use is in breach of Copyright.


Jim Fuller

2000 jfuller EDUCATIONAL www.southwest.com.au/~jfuller

Electronics Handbook 2000 J.Fuller page 70