How a Relay Works and How to Use It in Circuits

Electrical relays are switches that you turn on and off with electrical signals. In this guide, you’ll learn how a relay works and how to use relays in your own electronics projects!

Photo of relay pins and top view

Relays are very important in electronics because you can use them to turn on/off high-power devices like lamps or garage door motors with just a small DC voltage signal.

You can use a microcontroller, such as Arduino, to create the logic for when to turn your lamp on and off, then use an electrical relay to do the switching of the lamp.

This makes it easy to make lights that activate only at night, control your garage door motor with a signal generated by your phone, or control other home appliances.

How Rotary Encoders Work

Rotary encoders are components used for measuring the rotation of a shaft or axle. They are often used for volume knobs in audio equipment, DIY gaming controllers, or as an input device for different Arduino or Raspberry Pi projects. In this guide, you’ll learn how rotary encoders work and how they can be integrated into

The Potentiometer: Pinout, Wiring, and How It Works

A potentiometer is an adjustable resistor with three pins. The fact that it has three pins instead of two was confusing to me when I was starting to learn electronics. But as soon as I saw the inside of it, it all made sense.

In this guide, I’ll show you what the potentiometer looks like on the inside, the different potentiometer types, and examples of how to wire it up for different circuits.

What Is A Potentiometer?

Potentiometers are adjustable resistors used in circuits for many things, such as to control the volume of an amplifier, control the brightness of a light, and much more.

It is like the resistor. But while the resistance value of a resistor stays the same, you can adjust the resistance value of a potentiometer.

Identify Electronic Components (Quick Reference)

Not sure what type of component you’re looking at? Use this list to identify electronic components and learn what they do. 9V Battery ClipTo connect a 9V battery to your board. BreadboardThe breadboard is a very handy tool for connecting circuits. You can use it to practice, test ideas, or build simple prototypes. Breadboard wiresTo

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!

What Is a Voltage Regulator and What Does It Do?

A voltage regulator is a component that gives you a stable output voltage, no matter if the input voltage changes. It’s an integrated circuit (IC), usually with three or more pins.

Voltage regulator

A typical example of when you need a voltage regulator is if all you have is a 9V battery, but your device needs 5V. A voltage regulator can take those 9V as input and create a nice and stable 5V output that you can use to power your device.

Or if you need different voltage levels for a circuit you’re building. Let’s say you have a circuit with a microcontroller that needs 5V and a motor that needs 12V. Instead of using two power supplies, you can use just one 12V supply and add a voltage regulator to provide 5V for the microcontroller.

Where To Buy Electronic Components?

Buy electronic components online

There are a bunch of places to buy electronic components.

Myself, I love to go to a brick-and-mortar store to buy components, because then I can get them without waiting. Unfortunately, many cities don’t have these anymore. So what do you do?

What Is an Inductor? A Practial Guide for Hobbyists

The inductor is a simple component, and how it works is also pretty simple. The only problem is that most explanations do not explain it in a simple way.

So, what is an inductor? Well, it’s kind of a strange component. At the most basic level, it is just a coil of wire. And it’s easy to make one — just make some loops with a wire.

But wires actually create magnetic fields. And that means the inductor behaves in an interesting way and can do interesting stuff.

A simple homemade inductor

The Simple Way To Use a Datasheet

Frontpage of a datasheetI was sitting in front of my computer. It was the first time ever, that I was looking at a datasheet. I didn’t understand anything. This was too hard. So I closed it.

But I tried again and again. And little by little, I started to get familiar with the information in the datasheet. And it was actually really exciting!

If you are a beginner, you might have experienced the same. The datasheet looks really complicated – and you just want to close it right away.

However, when you learn what to look for, the datasheet soon becomes your best friend.

Basic Electronic Components Used in Circuits

Some basic electronic components drawn as cartoons

I learned about the basic electronic components by going to the library and reading books.

I was just starting out.

And I felt like a lot of the books explained everything in a difficult way.

In this article, I will give you a simple overview, with an explanation of the basic electronic components – what they are and what they do.

Electronic Components Online

Buying electronic components online is an easy way to get the components you need. There are many stores that sell electronic components and many can ship worldwide in just a few days.

If you are a beginner, it might be useful for you to read about the basic electronic components found in circuits.

Electronic components online