Electronics as I knew it… House of the Rising Sun Old School Computer Remix [music]

Shortened link to video: Electronics as I knew it… House of the Rising Sun Old School Computer Remix [music]: http://youtu.be/w68qZ8JvBds

The underemployed, unemployed, or never got a chance to work in the industry engineers theme song

This is the way that one might imagine electronics to be. Today it gets complex as the technology incorporates nano-technology, chemistry, light physics and many more strange scientific theories such as quantum mechanics as the stuff we use for “so called electronics” gets smaller and smaller.

While electronics is quite interesting and can be fun to build, in an industrial environment it can also pose many health risks from electromagnetic radiation–you mobile telephones give this off, dangerous toxic materials during manufacture and assembly, electrical dangers, sharp components, noise–a danger to hearing, flickering lighting effects–irritating, but also should be avoided by those with epilepsy. There might even be a few that have been missed here.

It should be noted that electronics can be done without solder (mechanical bonding and various forms of adhesion) and that reduces an number of risk factors. A lot of electronic and electrical kits used for experiments on the commercial market avoid the use of solder for example–they prefer to clamp the wires together. Mechanical joins are also preferred in the past as the joins (in this case wire is tightly wound around a post) are much more reliable and used in military and space craft designs. This mechanical joining (that also caused atoms to bind at the atomic scale–thing close together tend to do that).

Mechanical joins are around in many products today form your USB drive, headphone connectors, and battery chargers to name but a few applications. However, if a mechanical connection is not done right (and the circuitry is not protected) it can cause sparking or introduce noise into waveforms. Mechanical joins (sometimes used in combinations with bonding materials like solder) can be useful in environments of varying heat, vibrations, corrosion, and low contaminant areas of electronics. Circuit boards of today use machines that allow for exact conditions to produce the perfect solder join.

Wire Wrap: don’t twist two wires together and expect good results for example–wire wrap is something like soldering that must be done correctly:

Noodle Board: Wire Wrap

Wire wrap construction can produce assemblies which are more reliable than printed circuits and was popular in the 60’s and 70’s and produced what I like to call “noodle boards…” lol.

Here is an example of standard practices in connecting wires in the electrical and electronics industry: molex mechanical connection for wires.

Printed circuit boards: is a method of preventing the spaghetti (noodle) wiring problem that circuits (as is often the case) with lots of connections tend to have. With high frequency electronics, spaghetti wiring also runs the risk of picking up signals or loosing power as they send energy out as if they were a radio transmitter–circuit board, because they can be designed to exact specifications (& use grounding tracks to catch emissions–EMR).

The problem with circuit boards is that they are often etched with nasty chemicals and that is a problems you might want to avoid. 3D printing can be one solution to avoid this–a new technology that came in recently and can produce printed circuit boards and 3D mechanical connectors (in a single production round) –that may join up with more robust commercial connectors if that is what is required.

You can also mill you own circuit boards, but it’s difficult and technical without high cost equipment. The most important thing about milling is to avoid danger from both electrical shock, protect the eyes–safety goggles or glasses, and avoid danger from the high speed spinning mill tool. Here is some assistance if you are thinking of this method of prototyping: http://www.pcbgcode.com.

Making your own circuit board is an art-form and take some practice and skill. It requires a understanding of material properties, heat output of wires and components, predicted conditions during failure of circuits, electromagnetic radiations and shielding, aging and corrosion of materials, choice of products and circuit components. Also today, electronics is becoming miniaturized and so the ability to treat it as a hobby becomes much more complex as discreet components or large IC-packages may no longer be available for the hobbyist.

This is a method the author has created that is probably an hybrid idea for low power circuits such logic circuits or low voltage & low current analog circuits:

  1. Make a circuit diagram, and then convert it into circuit tracks that would actually be used on a circuit board. This requires knowing the board dimensions, places of holes and how many layers a board has. The exact placement of mechanical connectors for the components needs to be considered here also. Good planning here will prevent the end product from looking less like art and more like a mess–making it hard to maintain in the long run also.
  2. Layered constructions need to allow heat to escape from the sandwiched layers. also layered constructions need wiring that is only a single layer–a thing to consider in the circuit track design stage.
  3. Power to your project should be supplied externally from a commercially supplied power supply, solar energy, or batteries. It can be very dangerous to make your own power supply or converter so avoid that step in the design if possible.
  4. Use the mechanical connectors (mentioned above that don’t need the use of solder) with wire to wire connections (unless you are making a multilayered construction)
  5. wiring that uses plastic coating.
  6. Buy a circuit board (with or without a grid of holes in it) but no copper on it unless you want to use the copper plate as a ground to absorb leeks of EMR.
  7. Make your circuit using plastic coated wires, unless your design calls for a certain type of wiring. Communications and power generating circuits often demand specific types of wires to carry signals &/or larger then normal currents.
  8. To attach the wires to the board use glue (superglue for example), mechanical fastens (non-toxic, non conducting, and heat resistant–string, plastic ties,  plastic coated wires, or string), or commercially available wire to wire connectors.
  9. It’s possible to layer the circuit tracks made out of wire, but this is quite an art-form in itself–but material strength and thinness of materials makes it possible today.
  10. If it’s extremely low powered design, you may even get away with using double sided tape in your construction of a circuit board; then adding another layer to clamp the entire bunch of wires into position. More wiring can be added to the outside of this construction to make it a 3 layer sandwiched circuit board.
  11. Add components to mechanical connectors (sockets) or clamps (also go by the name of terminal blocks).

So for those who found the electronics industry to be risky or dangerous, perhaps this song is for them also.

Shortened link to article: Electronics as I knew it… House of the Rising Sun Old School Computer Remix [music]: http://wp.me/p10Tww-1po

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