Basic Electronics for hobbyists and beginning students

Properly learning electronics really requires building circuits. The kit linked below has everything you need to build circuits, including arduino and instructions. You also need to take measurements. The multimeter linked below is an updated version of one I own and like. The other one I use, seen in most of my videos, is currently out of stock unfortunately.

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Important topics to get familiar with to understand all other electronic topics.

  • Voltage – power source
  • Resistance and voltage drop – load being powered
  • Current – moving charges
  • Circuit – combined component(s) and power source(s)
  • Power – work done, such as the heat produced 
  • Multimeter – measures most electrical properties

Electronics current Ohms law explained and multimeter measurements on YouTube

Electronics involves circuits which have a power source and components that do something interesting or useful (the load). The power source and all components need to be electrically connected, so I will be using an electronics breadboard that makes it easy to build temporary circuits.

Electronics schematic to breadboard 1 basic breadboard use by electronzap

Ohms law: Mathematical relationships that are important for analyzing electric flow of circuits and components. 3 most commonly used Ohms law formulas-  Voltage: V = IR   Current: I = V/R   Resistance: R = V/I

  • Voltage- An electrical pressure across circuits and components. Voltage from the power supply is split up by series components (connected end to end) in a circuit based on their voltage drop or resistance. Unit: Volts (V)
  • Current- Moving charges that flow through a circuit and components. Current is the same through all series components of a circuit.  Unit: Amp (A)
  • Resistance- Opposition to current. Unit: Ohms (Ω)

Resistor component color code values explained for beginning learning electronics

Power: In electronics, power is the outcome of electricity (heat generated, light produced, motor rotation, etc.) and is most commonly calculated by multiplying the voltage across a component by the current flowing through it (P = IV). It is important that you do not exceed the wattage rating of a component. Some components, most likely semiconductors, which often block a predictable amount of voltage, will have a maximum/recommended current rating instead.

It is important to know how to take multimeter measurements of components and circuits.

Beginner basic electronics resistor component introduction and circuit multimeter measurements YouTube video

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Basic electronic components:

  • Switch: Makes electrical connections (closed circuit) or breaks connections (open circuit) in order to control whether power is applied or a signal is provided.
  • Resistor, variable resistor, etc.: Limits current based on the voltage across it and it’s resistance, which might be adjustable by numerous means. Resistor component for electronic circuits page potentiometer/trimpot (manually adjusted resistance/voltage division) Trimpot light dependent resistor (light intensity determines resistance) Light Dependent Resistor LDR Electronics Component Basics , thermistor (temperature determines resistance).
  • Diode/LED: The diode conducts easily when a voltage is applied in one direction (forward-biased) and doesn’t conduct the same voltages in the opposite direction (reverse-biased). LEDs behave like other diodes but light up while forward-biased conducting current.  Diode LED electronic component basics
  • Capacitor: Stores energy from a power supply in the form of separated plates simultaneously adding and removing charges which want to return to equilibrium. Capacitor component page
  • Inductor: Opposes sudden changes in current.  Inductor component page

Powering Circuits:

There are many ways to power electronics circuits. Primarily I focus on building circuits on prototype breadboards which allows easy temporary connections for testing out building circuits. You need to decide which method you want to use and figure out how to make connections.

  • Breadboard power supply: Has a barrel plug to take a higher DC voltage from an AC adapter (which often has to be purchased seperately) or other source and output 5V, 3.3V or 0V to a breadboard power rail depending on a jumper location. The unit has pins that fit pretty nicely into the breadboard power rails.
  • Battery: Lots of options here based on chemistry and power needs.
  • Bench power supply: Typically powered with household AC outlet an adjustable DC voltage and current maximum can be set within the particular unit’s limitations.
  • Solar and other: You can learn how to gather electricity by various means by studying the particular methods and safety requirements of the desired power source.

Electronics schematic to breadboard 1 basic breadboard use by electronzap

Watch electronics schematic to breadboard 6 trimpot component trimmer potentiometer circuit by electronzap video directly on YouTube!

3 terminal components

Watch NPN 2N2222 Bipolar Junction Transistor BJT current gain demonstration beginning learning electronics video directly on YouTube!

Integrated circuits

Additional components and topics

I will be listing basic circuits below, and PROBABLY SOMEDAY devoting a page to explaining them:

Watch high temperature alarm electronics circuit step by step build LM393 comparator NTC thermistor buzzer directly on YouTube!

LM393 Comparator High Temperature Alarm using Thermistsor plus Active Buzzer and 2N2222 or other NPN Bipolar Junction Transistor BJT diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom
LM393 Comparator High Temperature Alarm using Thermistsor plus Active Buzzer and 2N2222 or other NPN Bipolar Junction Transistor BJT diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom

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