kestrel

kestrel
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2022-11-09 20:31:00 (UTC)

Electricity Projects #1

Personal entry follows.
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Recently, I purchased one of those snap-together electricity project kits. They're typically intended for children to learn about electricity, but looks like I'm starting just a bit late, maybe like 37 years or so.

Anyhow, I'd been curious about electricity and while I think I know the basics I wanted to broaden my knowledge and become more confident about how to do simple electrical things. My hope is that the skills and learning I pick up from these various projects will help me in the future with real-life electrical wiring, troubleshooting, repairs, and so on. This was a simple, safer place to start.

I also decided to record my observations for each session I spend time with this kit. There are 300 projects, so I predict I'll be busy with this for quite some time. So here's my first entry recording these observations.

PROJECTS 1 - 5
- Mostly just creating basic circuits, or "loops" that allow simple actions to be performed and electricity to flow in an uninterrupted path. These first projects included an electric motor, a light, and a sound module with a detachable speaker.
- These projects created circuits in Series, not in Parallel. This means there are no branches, and all power/electricity follows a single pathway through all of the parts/modules. There are limitations to a Series, mostly demonstrated through the introduction of Resistance.

- The most complex of these projects was the "Adjusting The Sound Level" project. You flip a switch to send power to a speaker that outputs a little bit of music. Tapping an actuator (shown on the photo as the vertical yellow pad on the left-hand side) starts the music playing again.
Adding a Resistor definitely reduced the volume level (this is the horizontal yellow pad close to the bottom of the photo). Replacing this with the next-level Resistor (labeled "1K Ohms") made the sound nearly inaudible.
What else provides resistance? Can this be adjusted manually, or at a set sequence? Future projects will show how to circumvent resistance, adjust resistance, and so on.

- "Lamp & Fan In Series" showed that other things beyond speakers/sound modules are affected by resistance, as well as that other useful things can create resistance. This is why in some "Christmas light bulb" strings linked together in the same series will become slightly dimmer/weaker the further along the bulb is located in the series. Unless the bulbs are connected in parallel, the last bulb will be the dimmest.
- Using low-power bulbs can circumvent the brightness loss in series, and this is likely how LED lights can be so small and still be bright. I assume there are material limits however, and increasing power supply may not be able to circumvent this and/or may cause problems with the materials.


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