Phototransistor – A Newbie’s Guide

A phototransistor is an incredibly useful component for detecting light in electronics projects. You’ll often find them in remote-control receivers, pulse oximeters, and line-following robots.

In this guide, you will learn what phototransistors are, how to use one, and with a simple project you can build to create an automatic light on/off switch.

Phototransistor symbol and package

Photodiode – A Beginner’s Guide

In this guide you are going to learn what a photodiode is, how it works, and more importantly, how you can use it in your own circuits. We’ll go through the basics, then build a fully working fire sensor circuit! Did you know that there are two different ways to use photodiodes? Both of them

Zener Diode Basics (A Beginner’s Guide)

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how a Zener diode works and how to use it in circuits.

Did you know that some of the common things you can build with Zener diodes include simple power supplies and guitar pedals?

Sounds interesting? Let’s jump in!

Zener Diode symbol

What is an Integrated Circuit (IC)?

An integrated circuit is simply any type of circuit, made to fit onto a small chip. Sometimes referred to as a chip, a microchip, or an IC. It can be a microcontroller, an amplifier, a Bluetooth module, or anything in between.

An integrated circuit made in 2008 by Oyvind Dahl
The integrated circuit I made in 2008

By making a circuit on a small chip, it’s much easier to build advanced projects. Let’s say you want to make a tracking device for your car. You can find a GPS chip for positioning, a GSM chip to send text messages with the position, and a microcontroller chip to control everything. Then create a printed circuit board design to connect them all.

This would be pretty much impossible to do if you were to design everything from scratch with individual components. Integrated circuits make building circuits so much easier!

Back in 2008, I made my own integrated circuit as I was doing my master’s degree at the University of Oslo. So if you want to learn how these tiny and powerful components are actually made, from a practical point of view, (and how you can make one yourself as a hobbyist), read on!

Rectifier Diode: Guide to Functionality and Circuits

The rectifier diode lets you convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). In this guide, you are going to learn how this component works and some of the circuits you create by using one. Diodes are one of the basic electronic components in electronics. There are many types of diodes, but the most common

Beginner’s Guide to the Shift Register in Digital Electronics

A shift register is a common building block in digital electronics that is used to store and move bits, for example, to convert from serial to parallel data and vice versa. 

How a shift register work
How bits move through a shift register

It is basically a group of flip-flops that can store bits, and shift its stored bits sideways by one bit-position every time it is triggered. It is made using a series of D flip-flops with the output of one connected to the input of the next. Each clock pulse triggers a shift. 

In this tutorial, you will learn the different types of shift registers, how they work, and how to build them using flip-flops.

What is a Light-Emitting Diode (LED)?

A Light-Emitting Diode (LED) is a small component that lights up when there is current flowing through it. It’s used in light bulbs, displays, lighting decorations, and much more. In electronics, it’s often used for showing the state (is the gadget turned on?).

You can see the light-emitting diode everywhere! In laptops, on mobile phones, on cameras, on toys, in our car +++.

A green light emitting diode on a breadboard

It’s a type of diode, so it only works when you connect it with its anode towards your battery’s plus terminal.

Chances are you will be working with LEDs a lot when you start learning electronics. They are cheap and simple to use, and it’s a great way to check if your circuit is working properly or not.

What is a Diode? A Guide For Beginners

A diode is a component that lets current flow in one direction and blocks it from flowing in the other direction. It has two pins; anode and cathode.

The diode symbol looks like an arrow pointing toward a line. The line represents the cathode side, and so does the line marking on the diode component itself.

Diode symbol and diode markings showing anode and cathode

The T Flip-Flop (Quickstart Tutorial)

The T Flip-Flop is a flip-flop that can toggle its output. Toggling means switching its output to its opposite; 1 becomes 0, and 0 becomes 1. This type of flip-flop is often used in counters and frequency dividers. In this quickstart tutorial, you will learn how it works, its truth table, and how to build

How To Use A Breadboard – The Beginner’s Guide

A breadboard is a simple and useful tool for connecting a circuit. It’s really useful for beginners as you can easily experiment and test out circuits without soldering. But it’s also useful for more experienced people since you can prototype an idea, or parts of a circuit, quickly.

I often use breadboards in my work.

Want a quick introduction to the breadboard? Check out my short video below (2:30) or continue reading.

Capacitors in Series

Capacitors in series are capacitors that are connected one after the other. The result always becomes a capacitance that is lower than the lowest value. In this guide, you’ll learn why this is the case and how to calculate their combined values. And I’ll also throw in a simple rule of thumb that you can

Capacitors in Parallel

When you connect capacitors in parallel, you connect them alongside each other. And the result becomes a capacitance with a higher value. In this guide, you’ll learn why it works like that, how to calculate the resulting capacitance, and some examples of this in practice. As you’ll soon see, this is actually very simple. How

The JK Flip-Flop (Quickstart Tutorial)

The JK Flip-Flop is a type of flip-flop that can be set, reset, and toggled. It can be used for making counters, event detectors, frequency dividers, and much more. In this tutorial, you will learn how it works, its truth table, and how to build one with logic gates. What is a JK Flip-Flop? Flip-flops

The D Flip-Flop (Quickstart Tutorial)

The D Flip Flop is an edge-triggered circuit that combines a pair of D latches to store one bit. It is commonly used as a basic building block in digital electronics to create counters or memory blocks such as shift registers. In this tutorial, you will learn how it works, its truth table, and how to build one with logic gates.

The D Latch (Quickstart Tutorial)

The D Latch is a logic circuit most frequently used for storing data in digital systems. It is based on the S-R latch, but it doesn’t have an “undefined” or “invalid” state problem. In this tutorial, you will learn how it works, its truth table, and how to build one with logic gates.