“I know the basics, and I’ve built a few circuits. But I have no idea how the build my own ideas!”
That’s a common problem.
However, here’s how you solve it.
First of all, make your idea specific.
Choose ONE idea. And write down exactly what it is.
Let’s say it’s an internet-connected cat feeder that enables you to feed your cat while you’re at work.
The “internet-connected” part suggests that you need a microcontroller with an internet-connection. If you already have WiFi in your home, then the easiest way would be to find a microcontroller module with WiFi.
The cat-feeder part suggests that you need some kind of mechanism to release food into your cat’s bowl. To control this remotely, you need a motor.
And to be able to control the motor from the internet-connected microcontroller, you need a motor controller.
Now you’re starting to get an overview of what’s needed.
And before you go “Noooo! I don’t know how to do any of those things!” – realize that there is another step left:
Next up is the research phase.
You’re doing a project you haven’t done before. You’ll inevitably have to do some research!
Even professionals go through the research phase.
Read up on microcontroller modules with WiFi.
Read up on ideas for cat-feeder mechanisms.
Read up on motor controllers.
Take courses. Read books. Or search for articles on the internet.
And ask for help.
Here’s a tip on asking for help:
Don’t ask a general “How do I build an internet-connected cat-feeder?” question.
Because then it seems like you don’t want to put in the work yourself. And it’s demotivating to help people who don’t want to put in the work.
Instead ask for example: “I want to build an internet-connected cat-feeder, and I’m trying to figure out what I need. So far I think I need X,Y,Z – am I onto something here?.”
Or how about: “I’m working on an internet-connected cat-feeder, and I’ve been reading up on motor controllers. What I don’t understand is …”
Sometimes the act of asking helps you get clear and you’ll find the answer on your own.
Of course all of this becomes easier as you get more experience building projects. And as you understand more of the basics of electronics.
If you need a place to learn electronics from scratch and to get help with your projects, check out Ohmify. It’s were I spend my days teaching electronics and helping members make their dream projects come alive. More info here:
Keep On Soldering!
Oyvind @ build-electronic-circuits.com