Paleotech Projects!

Learning about electronics (and technology in general) is, for me at least, about building things. It’s nice to learn the theoretical background behind how a circuit works, but sometimes getting a good intuitive understanding means putting components together into a real, working circuit.

I’m currently working on developing several projects to be published here. The idea behind each one will be to allow anyone interested to build them, and learn about various concepts related to electronics in the process. The plans will be open-source and published under the Creative Commons “CC BY-NC-SA” license, meaning you’re free to copy the plans (with attribution) for noncommercial purposes, and modify them as long as you share your modifications. If you’d like to use one or more projects in a commercial venture, please contact me first. The idea is to help more people get interested in electronics and to teach basic electronics concepts; if you have an idea for a product that could help with that, I’d like to hear about it.

The projects are categorized according to a rough “level” scheme, to provide an idea of how complex or difficult a particular project is. Here is an overview of what is meant by each level:

  • Level 1: A quick project (maybe an hour or less) requiring basic tools and equipment. An example would be experiments connecting light bulbs in series and parallel.
  • Level 2: A short project (perhaps an evening) requiring basic to moderate-level tools and equipment. An example would be a 555-based LED blinker or perhaps a very straightforward Arduino project.
  • Level 3: A moderate-length project (maybe a weekend or two) requiring some specialized equipment (oscilloscopes, programmers, etc) depending on the project. Simple PIC projects would generally be Level 3.
  • Level 4: A significant project (perhaps a few weeks) requiring extensive electronics knowledge and/or specialized equipment. Examples would be the GPS puzzle box project and the DrACo/Z80.
  • Level 5: Extremely complex projects requiring weeks to years to complete. (Basically, anything too complex to qualify as Level 4.) An example would be GPS-enabled autonomous aircraft.

The projects have their own page, in addition to being featured as regular articles as they are created. Comments and questions are welcomed — post in the comments or send me an email (“eric” at this domain) if you’re not a spambot.


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