Electricity & electronics - Robotics, learn by building
- 10.5 hours on-demand video
- 1 article
- 34 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- develop and build analog electronics circuits
- you will build multiple circuits from sound buzzers to bionics where we actually control a servo motor by reading signals from your muscles
- Basic math skills, as well as some basic tools and electronic parts (parts & tools list is in the first lesson)
You can open all kinds of doors for advancement in so many careers with a basic understanding of electronics. Think of all of the fields and hobbies that involve electronics to some degree! This "Robotics: Learn by building" series of courses focuses on robotics - which itself is a very diverse field that has application in everything from industry, manufacturing, laboratory work, or military, even in home automation.
Updated January 1, 2020
With over 17,000 students enrolled and more than 1,300 five star ratings, students aged 8 to 60+ have enjoyed the course and projects.
In this module 1 course, you will build electronic circuits, actually make some electronic components from scratch and use them in your circuits, learn about electricity, soldering skills, and basic analog electronics. You'll need some basic math skills and that's it! No prior knowledge of electricity of electronics is required, and yet by the end of this course you'll have built functioning electronic circuits like light flashers, sound effects, and controlling the robotics engineer's best friend, the servo motor which is a motor that turns to a specific direction at your command. You will have even connected that servo motor up to read electrical impulses from the muscles in your arm to control the motor bionically. All courses have captions for the hearing impaired.
Start through the lessons today to begin your personal education journey towards your goals - a horizon now filled with so many more opportunities because of your new-found knowledge.
You will need electronic parts and a breadboard, which you can purchase as an accompanying kit (the Analog Electronics Kit) or provide your own.
The first section of the course (available for free preview) explains what the tools and parts are and what you will need if you are supplying your own electronic parts.
Tools needed: a multimeter, soldering iron and solder, wire,
This course is the prerequisite for the module II course which is digital electronics where you will work with a computer-on-a-chip and hook that computer up to the real world. In module III you'll learn robotic drive systems and physics, and gain a wide variety of skills in prototyping so you can actually build your own robots and manufacture your own parts. In module IV, you'll culminate all you've learned so far as you build a 3D printer from scratch, hook it up to a desktop computer and make your own plastic parts. The 3D printer is, in effect, a robot which you can then use to make parts for your other robot designs. In module V you can take your robot design and construction skills to the next level with a hands-on approach to autonomous robotic systems: learning about various sensors to know where you are and what your robot is doing, GPS navigation, basic artificial intelligence, powerful microchips known as FPGA's where you literally design a custom circuit on the chip, vision systems and more.
- Intended for beginners and those with some experience in electronics and hobby robotics
Let's go over materials and tools you'll need for this course.
In this lesson we remove the mystery of the "breadboard" which is an actual, professional tool used by electronics engineers to design and prototype electronic circuits. We actually crack one open so you can see how they work, and then use one to build up our first simple circuit.
Using the circuit we built in the previous lesson, we'll now put our scratch-made electronic components to use, using them in an actual circuit.
Soldering electronic circuits is a bit of an art. A little bit of knowledge and practice will go a long way in helping you to make permanent, good quality electronic circuits.
Voltage dividers are a simple, yet essential part of electronic circuits. In this lesson we learn what a voltage divider is, where it's used and why, and then built a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) which has a miriad of uses. Please note: April 2018, an error was pointed out to me. In the original video lesson and in the original schematics, I had written that an increase in voltage on pin 5 increased the frequency. This is wrong. An increase in the voltage decreases the frequency and a decrease in voltage increases the frequency. I have updated the downloadable schematics with the correction.
Switches and relays may seem simple at first, but when you pick up a simple switch that has 8 wires coming out of the back of it, it suddenly doesn't seem so simple anymore. They are, and in this lesson we learn the different types of switches and relays and how to use them. We then build an LED flasher and relay control circuit to use our relay.
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is a very versatile and effective way of controlling motors and lights by altering the electrical signal. It's also used in a few other, not-so-obvious ways like controlling servo motors. Here we learn what PWM is, and build a circuit to speed control a DC motor. Please note: I actually made a mistake in the circuit build for the filming. For some mysterious reason, the circuit worked anyway! So the downloadable schematic for the circuit is correct. I also made an alteration to the original circuit: R5, a 4.7k resistor was swapped out for a 3.3k resistor to remove those beat notes I referred to in the video lesson.
Hobby Servo motors are the roboticist's best friend. Cheap and readily available, they are super simple to use BUT, require a pretty sophisticated circuit to control them. Here we use a PWM circuit specifically designed for controlling servo motors, and hook it up to a servo motor.
Student feedback showed a surprisingly strong interest in very high power control, like mobile tank robots and electric cars. In this lesson we'll learn what doesn't work, and what does work for controlling very large power with many MOSFET transistors.
After discussing what "bionics" is, we dive into this exciting field of robotics which is a melding of the human and robot. We start by making our own homemade sensors for reading signals from the human muscle.
In robotics, we'll often have to deal with high power, like drive motor power and electric vehicle power. In this lesson we discuss why the electrical grid boosts their voltages so high and directly relate it to the design and construction of our robotic systems.
At the request of many students, this lesson explains how to calculate resistor and capacitor values on 555 timer circuits, and how to customize the chip to get it to do what you want.
In this bonus lesson, we look at the RC constant (Resistor-Capacitor constant), what it is and where we might use it. Oh, we also cover the maths. We then take a look at using capacitors (and in particular, supercapacitors) as power supplies. This is an area of research for use in devices such as cellular phones because of the incredible charge rates of capacitors over batteries.