Lesson 0: Project Overview and Purchasing Parts
In this introductory lesson we take a high level overview of this guided project and explain how to purchase the components we will need for the remainder of the lessons. A zoom recording of this lecture can be found here
Google Form to Get Parts Shipped to You
This year’s hardware project will teach you how to build an analog step sequencer using a few integrated circuits and a handful of discrete components. An analog step sequencer is a device that can generate different tones and then play those tones in a sequence to form a melody.
- There will be ~5 lessons in which we will go through every step of building this project from purchasing components to assembling and discussing each circuit
- Each lesson will be 45-75 minutes and will be split between a lecture period where I will talk about the circuit, and a building period in which everyone will assemble the given circuit and get any needed help
- Before each lesson there will be a “pre-reading” which will be links to optional articles/videos to go through before the lesson. These will help you understand the concepts covered in the lecture, especially if you are a beginner.
Changes this year
Due to the remote circumstances of this quarter/year, the nature of the hardware project has inevitably changed from past years. The main differences being:
- Project parts will be purchased individually instead of being distributed by the club
- All project lessons will be held synchronously over zoom with recordings posted after
- No soldering
Due to the time delay that comes with purchasing parts, the components must be purchased as soon as possible. Therefore this lesson will mainly go over how to purchase the components which are required for the remaning lessons. However, I will also discuss from a high level what we will do in the remaining lessons so that you can decide if you are interested in the project before spending money on components.
Lesson 1-5 Overview
After this lesson, there will be 4-5 more lessons (depending on how much I can cover each lecture) in which we will build and discuss each circuit required for this project.
Lesson 1: Introducing electronic components
- In this lesson we will learn about our discrete components including resistors, capacitors, diodes, LEDs, potentiometers, and BJTs (and how to use a breadboard)
- Using these components, we will build some mini practice circuits, some of which will be used in the project
Lesson 2: Using ICs and the 555 timer
- In this lesson we will talk about ICs and explore the 555 timer IC which is the most important component of this project
- We will use concepts/circuits from lesson 1 in order to build a clock circuit with the 555 IC
Lesson 3: Sound Synthesis
- In this lesson we discuss sound synthesis and take a closer look at how the 555 works
- We will use two 555 chips to create cool noises that we will be able to hear through headphones or a speaker
Lesson 4: The 4017 IC and Counting
- In this lesson we introduce the 4017 counter chip which will be used to step through a sequence
- We combine the circuit from lesson 2 with this chip to sequentially blink 8 LEDs
Lesson 5: Putting it all together
- In this lesson we combine the circuits from lesson 2, 3, and 4 with some additional components to build the final circuit
- We will also discuss the BJT and why we need to use it in our circuit
If this project sounds interesting and you want to buy the components, the rest of the lesson explains how to do so. Below I explain two methods of purchasing the components.
Method 1: Bulk Distribution
The first method to get the components is for me to buy all the parts in bulk, and ship them out to each person. This method will cost ~$13 per person and the parts should arrive by the weekend of the next lesson.
- While this method is the cheapest, it requires you to provide me with your address which some people may not feel comfortable doing
- If you want to do this option, fill out this Shipping Form ASAP.
Method 2: Individual Purchase
The second method to get the components is to individually purchase the components directly from the retailer. This method has two different shipping methods which makes it ~$16.50-$22 (the cheap shipping option takes 2 weeks to arrive so you will not have components by the next lecture). A few things to note about this method.
- If you have any of these components already, then feel free to use them instead of purchasing the ones listed (there is nothing special about the specifc components listed, but contact me if you are unsure). Also make sure to remove it from your order.
- If you find any of the components at a cheaper price let me know but note that component availability as well as shipping fees/times play a major role (The BOM I created lists components that everyone should be able to get)
BOM (Bill of Materials)
There are many distributers of electronic components (Digikey, Mouser, Arrow, Amazon, Ebay …), each with pros and cons. I found that Digikey had good availability and pricing for most of the components needed which are listed below. The other two components needed that are not part of the Digikey BOM are the breadboard and jumper wires which I found a decent price for on Ebay, also listed below.
For Digikey there are essentially two options for shipping, I have used both with no issues.
- USPS First Class Mail (~3 days), Price: $4.99
- I prefer this method because I don’t mind the five extra dollars, it is straightforward, and my parts have always arrived in 3 days or less
- Free shipping by mailing a physical order form with a check (~2 weeks), Price: ~$0.50 for the stamp
- If you don’t want to pay the five dollar shipping fee and don’t mind filling out an order form, mailing a letter (need a stamp as well ~$0.50), and waiting an extra week for parts, then this is another option. I have tested this option and received my parts with no issues but there is always a risk of letters getting lost in the mail so just a warning.
- The order form can be downloaded here and the only sections that need to be filled out are the Ship to and Bill to sections.
For Ebay the shipping is free and should take ~ 1 week or less
- If you are choosing option 1 and want to order from Digikey, click this link and a cart should automatically be created on the Digikey website. From there, click checkout and fill in your shipping address and contact information. Then click continue to shipping, scroll to the bottom and select First Class Mail under USPS Ship Methods (The price should be $4.99).
|Breadboard & wires||1||4.99||https://www.ebay.com/itm/Breadboard-Power-Supply-with-breadboard-and-wire-AMS1117-5V-3-3V-Ship-from-USA/254557636983?hash=item3b44d14977:g:1AQAAOSwPp9edSQE|
|Total:||Shipping Option 1: $23.81|
|Shipping Option 2: $19.32|
While this project seems a little bit expensive there are ways to make it cheaper
- If you already have a 9V battery then that bumps down the price down by $1.90. Don’t forget to remove it from your order
- If you have Amazon Prime you may be able to find some components for less
- If you already have a breadboard and jumper wires then that will bump down the price by $5.38
- If you live near anyone building this project then you can combine your orders together and split the shipping fee. Also, the price of some components will reduce dramatically if you order them in bulk (10, 25, 50, 100 …) so the more people in an order, the cheaper it becomes. Everyone in Sanata Barbara at the moment could combine their order and ship to one location.
In a typical year the club would purchase all the components in bulk which would make the total price significantly cheaper, but unfortunately we are remote and must adapt and be creative to get around these challenges
Even if you can’t get the project to be cheaper, a lot of these components are reusable for future projects and ECE labs. For example, you won’t need to purchase a breadboard or wires for future labs.
If you are having any issues with this process feel free to email me any time for assitance. firstname.lastname@example.org