Before we begin, for those who might be thinking of ignoring Mr. Platt’s advice and want to see what happens when you short a lithium battery, just watch this AWESOME video instead.
*Generating heat with current
The battery and cables will get hot!
It didn’t happen as fast as I thought it would, though.
Don’t worry as long as you don’t leave ’em on too long you’ll still be able to touch the cables so you can disconnect/untangle them.
*How to blow a fuse
I used 2 different 1.5V AA brand new batteries but unfortunately, I was unable to blow the 3A fuse (I even tried with a 9V battery).
Luckily I had a 1A fuse at home, which did burn, but only by applying the wires from the battery holder to it directly.
Note: The kits from Protechtrader now include a 1A fuse and the text of the book has been modified to recommend this.
Many people have had trouble blowing a 3A fuse for two reasons:
- Some fuses are manufactured differently from others
- The wires from a battery holder have been made thinner by companies trying to save a little money, so the wires can’t pass enough current to blow the fuse.
A 9V battery could also not work, because it can’t deliver more current than a 1.5V battery–in fact, a 9V battery just contains 6 little 1.5V batteries in series. So, this is an interesting lesson in voltage vs current. Current is needed to blow a fuse!
To learn more about batteries and fuses you can also check out Mr. Platt’s Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Vol. 1 Chapters 2 and 4
The first challenge in the book is to lick a 9V battery. Why is it a challenge, you ask?- Try it!
I’ve read some other people’s accounts of this experiment in which they say they barely felt anything, but oh did I feel it!
After drying my tongue it was less uncomfortable, but still perfectly detectable.
* Measuring Your Tongue
My multimeter’s readings were both higher than what the book suggested they would be.
I did get the experiment’s conclusion that the lower resistance of my moist tongue allowed more current to flow through it and that’s why the sensation was weaker when my tongue was dry.
¾ in (1.905 cm)
* Further Investigation
¼ in (0.635 cm)
1 in (2.54 cm)
No reading/ L
Mark your arm so you know where to place the probes.
The added salt dramatically diminished the resistance!
Glass of water (1cup)
2/3 in (1.69 cm)
Without added salt
With added salt (3 gr.)
Everything you will need to perform the experiments is detailed in the “Tools, Equipment, Components, and Supplies” section of the book.
In addition to this, the materials needed for the experiments from each chapter will be mentioned at the beginner of the chapter. The materials needed for each experiment will also be listed at the beginning of each experiment.
Buying a lot of components can be overwhelming for a beginner, which is why you can also buy kits with all of the components you need. I bought the 3 kits offered by ProTechTrader and I can honestly say I’m truly happy I did. There’s no electronics shop where I live so I would have had to order all of the components online which, if you don’t know what you’re doing, can get very time consuming and expensive if you order the wrong parts.
The people from ProTechTrader answered all of my questions about the kits. They’re in touch with Charles Platt so the components included in the kits are truly those you need. ProTechTrader also offers a kit for Charles Platt’s latest book: Easy Electronics.
Everything comes very neatly packaged and labeled!
If you have already a lot of the components needed for the experiments at home, then you can buy those you need from websites like Digikey.
They have a very cool website that allows you to efficiently filter components so you can find exactly what you’re looking for (They also sell tools!). They also offer a lot of cool free online tools and media. Be sure to check their “Resources” section.
I’ve included links to components listed on the Digikey website that one could use for each experiment. These are not exactly what one must buy for an experiment to work, but rather are meant to serve as examples.
Both ProTechTrader and Digikey provide great Customer Service. Don’t be afraid to explore their websites!
Charles Platt is an author, prototype designer and former
He is currently a contributing editor to Make magazine, which has published more than 50 of his articles. Six of his books are available from MakerMedia:
Make: Electronics, an introductory guide, now available in its second edition.
Newest book! Easy Electronics, a prequel to Make: Electronics which requires no tools and a very low amount of parts.
Fun for the whole family!
Make: More Electronics, a sequel that greatly extends the scope of the first book.
Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, volumes 1, 2, and 3 (the third written in collaboration with Fredrik Jansson).
Make: Tools, which uses the same teaching techniques as Make: Electronics to explore and explain the use of workshop tools.
Welcome to the blog!
The purpose of this blog is to document my observations while working through all of the experiments from the book Make: Electronics, 2nd Edition, by Charles Platt.
A great blog by James Floyd Kelly already exists for the first edition of the book. The first experiments are pretty much the same for both editions. But after these, there are considerable changes between both editions. The differences are detailed in the “What’s New in the Second Edition” section of the 2nd edition of the book.
Personally, I really like to be able to read about other people’s experiences when learning new things and solving problems. Sometimes someone says something in just the way you needed to hear it to truly understand it, or maybe just be able to look at it from a different perspective.
For this reason, I find it beneficial to document and share my own observations.
Already what I’ve read from the book has taught me so much, while having fun! The book doesn’t overwhelm you with theory but rather let’s you learn from your rights and your wrongs and then and only then, does it teach you about the “How”. I’m truly grateful to Mr. Platt for writing not only this book, but also the Encyclopedia of Electronic Components (at the time of writing I own Vol. 1.) and many others.
If you still don’t own the book, I truly can’t recommend it enough. I’d previously purchased other books aimed at teaching beginners about electronics, but this is the first one whose explanations I find truly clear and friendly and whose experiments I truly can’t wait to do!
- To learn more about Mr. Platt go to the “About the author” section of the blog.
- To learn more about the Tools, Equipment, Components, and Supplies that are needed to do the experiments from the book, go to the “Materials” section of the blog.
Let’s get ready to rumble!!!