All About Microcontrollers

Most of the projects in STEM Stars are microcontroller based - but what is a microcontroller? In this post we will discuss the basics of what a microcontroller is, why we use them, what basic capabilities they have, and the basics of the most commonly used microcontroller in our course, the Adafruit ESP8266 HUZZAH Feather.


Ohm’s Law, Resistors, and LED’s

Current, Voltage, and Resistance are three properties of electrical circuits that allow us to specify parts, calculate needed values for various elements, and model circuits.

Components in Electronics Circuits

Here, we will briefly discuss the most common components you will encounter in electronics, their symbols in circuit diagrams, and why we use them in electronics. These components are all the small electronics pieces that are attached to a printed circuit board (PCB) or inserted into a breadboard.

Techniques for Removing Solder

Sometimes, solder needs to be removed, this could happen for several reasons – too much was applied, it was applied in the wrong area, or for certain instances of disassembly. The two main techniques discussed here will be solder wick and using a solder sucker.

Soldering Technique for Through-Hole PCB

Through-hole soldering refers to soldering wires or pins to a printed circuit board or a proto-breadboard where the wire or pin is pushed through the hole before it is soldered and attached. This technique is like wire soldering but there are important differences.

Soldering Technique for Two Wires

Before delving into through-hole soldering or surface mount soldering, it can be helpful to review joining two wires, which can help reinforce important techniques. Make sure the iron is turned on and set at the appropriate temperature (about 700 degrees F for leaded solder, and 800 degrees F for lead-free solder) and the tip is tinned.

Soldering Tools

I'm here to assure you that anyone that can hold a pencil can solder! All you need is the ability and maturity to handle the hot iron safely and a desire to learn! To begin, we will review the tools used in soldering, why we use them, when we use them, and how to use them safely.

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