Want to Learn Electronics? Build Some Circuits!
Tom Spendlove posted on March 14, 2019 |

Engineer Frenoy Osburn Madre Deus and his company BitsNBlobs Electronics have a mission to “build a community and design products to help people learn electronics – no matter what their age or skill level.” Deus says that before Arduino or Raspberry Pi programming starts the user should know how resistors, transistors and capacitors work. If the most basic parts of electronics knowledge comes from building circuits, then we should learn by building the actual circuits. BitsNBlobs is running a Kickstarter campaign for the BBox1 – a kit with 500 items to build 24 different circuits.

The experiments start with basic breadboard construction to light and LED and then add components and complexity. There’s a progression that goes from fundamentals to new concepts to show users how different components interact. A booklet included with the box has circuit schematics and layouts for the breadboards, and videos posted online show the circuit and running commentary. An intruder alarm, soil moisture indicator, transistor siren, AND gates, and a wire loop skill gate are all shown in the campaign video. This BBox 1 is the first of three currently planned learning systems, with BBox 2 teaching more circuit elements and BBox 3 bringing in single board computers.

 As one might imagine, to get to 500 components in a kit there’s a heavy lean on resistors, ceramic capacitors and electrolytic capacitors. I was a little surprised, however, that only 25 of the 500 pieces are jumper wires. The BBox1 is a great tool to teach the fundamentals of electronics without worrying about programming – even when students download Arduino programs to use on their first projects issues can happen. I also like that the videos have commentary that tells more about the components and circuits in general, the campaign page uses the example that circuits on a breadboard can be built several different ways and still function. This feels like the 2020 maker version of the Radio Shack kits so many of seemed to own in the 1980s. The campaign has already hit its modest funding goal and ends on April 11, 2019.

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