Circuit ideas are everywhere! There are many places to find cool circuits.
The greatest sources for my inspiration are hacker/maker/electronics blogs, schematic webpages, hobby project pages and open source hardware companies.
Or you can also check out some electronic kits for inspiration.
Sometimes I just want to try to replicate an electronic circuit I’ve found on the web. Either because it is something I need or just to prove to myself that I can do it. Like this amplifier circuit diagram.
Sometimes I find something cool that I want to modify and improve on. And other times I get completely new circuit ideas out of the blue that I want to build.
Articles about electronic circuits
The image above shows the PCB of a radar sensor I was involved with. Read about cool radar circuits here.
Read about my electronics project turning an old radio into an iPhone dock
Read about the huuuge recycling machine me and a few other people built.
Read the story of the first circuit I built.
Read about 3 Simple Electronic Circuits for beginners
Read about 5 Cool Circuit Ideas.
Read about Brainstorming Techniques.
Sources of inspiration
- SparkFun Electronics
- Massimo Banzi (co-founder of Arduino)
- Seeed Studio
- Alexander Weber (from Tinkerlog)
- Daniel Garcia (from Protostack)
- Chris @ Pyroelectro.com
Blogs aimed at hackers/makers/hobbyists are my daily news. Instead of reading the “normal” newspaper like everybody else, I make myself a cup of dark roast coffee, sit down in my favorite chair, power up my iPad’s RSS feed reader and tune in to the latest electronic circuit news. I usually find several circuit ideas. It really makes my day =)
Here are some of my favorite blogs.
Online electronic shops
Sometimes, just browsing online shops like Sparkfun, Seeed Studio or Adafruit gets me inspired to build new circuits. Maybe I find a really small and cheap WiFi-module. Then I start thinking about a problem that I have and realize that with this WiFi module, I can solve this problem! Boom! A new circuit idea.
About two years ago I was very active on Twitter. I found out that some cool electronics people was tweeting, so I decided to follow them. It was not long before I had to quit. I was finding so many cool articles I wanted to read and circuits that I wanted to build, but I didn’t have time for any of that. So I just had to stop my Twitter career. I couldn’t get anything done. (But now I’m back on)
So if you need inspiration, Twitter can be a very good source of that.
Electronic forums (Show and tell)
Edaboard.com, a forum for electronic geeks like me, has a “Show and tell” section where people show what they have built. You can find many interesting circuit ideas with schematics here.
There are many talented people around the world who creates incredible stuff. And with a bit of searching you can find many pages dedicated to the personal projects of these people.
Setting up your circuit ideas for success
Inspiration and new ideas are great! But it gets even better when you actually complete a project. Therefore, I will end with a note on finishing your projects. I have started many projects that I never completed. How can we avoid this?
Over the years I have learned that a clear goal is crucial to complete the projects I start. Do I only want to create a circuit board and confirm that it works? Or do I want to create a complete usable gadget that I can put in my living room?
By clarifying your goal you can see how much work that is left on the project and you know when your project is complete. A clear goal can be “I want to create a complete stereo amplifier with volume knob, connector for audio input and connectors for the speakers”
Read more about SMART goals.
Motivation is also very important. This is what makes you actually prioritize working on the project. Motivation is highly individual. Some are motivated by the “cred” they will receive by their impressed friends when they show off their circuit. Some are motivated by the learning opportunities of the project itself. What motivates you?
Read more about planning your project to be able to build electronic projects much faster.