Electronics Classes

We expect most people to start classes at the beginner level, but have added ‘Survey of’ classes to make the learning curve even easier, for those who feel like they need a little extra time. Our classes take you from beginner to advanced, gradually increasing the challenge until you’ve mastered far more than you imagined when you started.

Direct Current

Survey of DC – This class introduces some basic principles of Direct Current (DC) electronics for those with no prior exposure. How electricity works is dicussed, followed by the relationship of voltage, current and resistance. Power is defined as is the principles of grounding. All students will build a light with switch and battery. Check Availability.

DC for Beginners – Students learn how current and voltage can be manipulated by parallel and series circuits. The potientiometer is introduced and transitions into the workings and use of the multimeter. Students hook up a simple voltage divider. Check Availability.

DC for Adv. Beginners – This class covers the principles of energy storage and leads into a discussion of capacitors. Capacitor discharge can be diverted using switching and relays. Students test capacitors to failure (explosions!). DC for Beginners is recommended. Check availability.

Intermediate DC – Students learn about various diodes and how they can be used to control and manipulate current. Standard, Zener, Avalanche and Schottky diodes are covered. The class also discusses LEDs. Students build their own control panel. DC for Adv. Beginners is recommended. Check availability.

Advanced DC – The basics of induction is covered. Brushless DC motors are introduced as are solar arrays and bipolar transistors. Students build their own motorized chassis controlled by the panel constructed in the intermediate class. Intermediate DC is recommended.

Alternating Current

Survey of AC – This class introduces some basic principles of Alternating Current (AC) concepts for those with no prior exposure. Students learn the basics of frequency, wavelength and phase. The basics of induction for AC systems is covered. Students create their own buzzer. Check availability.

AC for Beginners – Students learn about oscilliscopes and function generators. These diagnostic devices are used to discuss reactive circuits and the basics of filters. The students build their own high pass filter. Check availability.

AC for Adv. Beginners – This class investigates the use and construction of electromagnets. Related topics are inductors and transformers. Students learn about the use of rectifiers. Each student builds their own Linear AC power supply to charge a battery. AC for Beginners is recommended. Check availability.

Intermediate AC – Covered are new circuits that have fundamental use in AC circuit design. Oscillating and timing circuits is discussed. Students build their own sound generator. AC for Adv. Beginners is recommended. Check availability.

Advanced AC – This final class in the AC track explores the use of AC motors and electro-mechanical servos. Students build a steerable chassis, using the chassis from Advanced DC if available. Intermediate AC and Advanced DC is recommended.

Analog Circuits

Survey of Analog Circuits – This class introduces some basic principles of Analog Circuits for those with no prior exposure. Students are introduced to the basics of electromagnetism and the theory behind Field Effect Transistors (FET). The students conduct some basic experiments with electromagnetics.

Analog Circuits for Beginners – Students are introduced to the theory behind audio systems. Solenoids are covered, as are voice coils. Students build a simple speaker from basic parts. Intermediate AC is recommended.

Analog Circuits for Adv. Beginners – This class covers the principles of amplifiers. Basic experiments in comparitors and feedback loops are discussed. The operational amplifier (Op-Amp) is introduced. Students build a battery charger for Lithium Ion batteries, building on the power supply from the AC Advanced Beginner class, if available. Beginner Analog and Advanced Beginner AC is recommended.

Intermediate Analog Circuits – Students will cover basic control theory including design of circuits to maintain signals within a certain tolerance. Voltage controlled oscillators and phase lock loops are discussed. Students will create a more efficient motor system, using precision control. Analog Circuits for Adv. Beginners and Advanced AC is recommended.

Advanced Analog Circuits – This class covers the basics of radio frequency (RF) systems.  RF modulation and communication is discussed with a segway into antenna design. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) and Faraday Cages are demonstrated. Students build a transmitter-receiver system to be used with their steerable chassis. Intermediate Analog Circuits is recommended.

Digital Circuits

Survey of Digital Circuits – This class introduces some basic principles of Digital Circuits for those with no prior exposure. Students are introduced to the basics of programming, with emphasis on programming microcontroller chips. Students will develop code modules for future use.

Digital Circuits for Beginners – This class covers several topics related to logic systems. AND, OR, NOR and other comparitors are discussed. Several logic components such as flip flop, gates, counters and multiplexors are explored. Students will build their own logic board.

Digital Circuits for Adv. Beginners – Students are exposed to the principles of bus circuits. Latching and Schmidt triggers are also covered. The class will build a feedback control board using the principles covered here. Digital Circuits for Beginners and intermediate Analog circuits are recommended.

Intermediate Digital Circuits – Students are exposed to the wide range of different sensor systems that can be incorporated into a control circuit. Light, position and temperature sensors are discussed. Also covered are the principles of Digital-Analog Conversion (DAC). Digital readout systems are also discussed. Students will build a sensor platform which can be incorporated into the steerable chassis from previous projects. Digital Circuits for Advanced Beginners is recommended.

Advanced Digital Circuits – Peripherials including USB controllers and RS 232 components are investigated. These components are programmed to provide logic for a maneuvering robot. Robot platform is the steerable chassis from previous classes. Intermediate digital circuits is recommended.

Microcontrollers

Survey of Microcontrollers – This class introduces some basic principles of Microcontrollers for those with no prior exposure.  Concepts such as Ohm’s law and the function of resistors, switches and capacitors are covered. Check availability.

Microcontrollers for Beginners – Students are introduced to the Arduino, C programming and basic electronics. The class will build a red and green led toggle.

Microcontrollers for Adv. Beginners – This class adds the Arduino shield and covers breadboarding and prototyping with the Arduino. Sensors using light and touch are covered. Students investigate the use of the Arduino for managing a variable speed controller for a DC motor.

Intermediate Microcontrollers – Students will investigate use of input/output devices to enable human interface with microcontrollers. The principles of LCDs are covered and integrated with the Arduino platform.

Advanced Microcontrollers – This class introduces the Raspberry Pi, a complete computer on a chip.