Trimmer potentiometers (trimpots) are a resistance based, three terminal component that can be used as a variable resistor or voltage divider. The most common ones can be plugged directly into an electronics prototype breadboard. Some are a tight fit though and may damage the slots that hey are inserted into. I generally devote certain breadboard slots to the trimpot in those cases.
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Basic trimpot (trimmer potentiometer) properties
- 3 terminals: 2 of the terminals, usually the ones on opposing sides of the component, are connected to the ends of a resistive element. The third terminal is connected to a wiper that slides anywhere along the resistive element. A rotatable knob or screwdriver slot is usually how the wiper position is adjusted.
- Variable resistor: When only one side of the resistive element and the wiper are connect to a circuit, a resistance will be provided based on how far the wiper is positioned from the connected resistive end.
Instead of leaving the unused terminal of the resistive element end floating, it can be connected directly to the wiper. The wiper output will ignore this connection unless the wiper loses connection to the resistive element. If that happens, then the full resistance will be delivered to the output.
- Voltage divider: When both ends of the trimpot resistive element terminals are connected to a voltage, then the wiper will output a fraction of that voltage based on the position of the trimpot wiper. The trimpot is commonly connected across the power supply, and the output voltage is usually in relationship to 0V ground.
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Other basic electronics topics that you should know before moving on to more advanced topics.
- Electronic component appearance and schematics – Commonly used through hole versions
- Electronic circuit basics
- Voltage sources for electronics basics
- Multimeter measuring voltage
- Resistor component – Learning electronics resistors
- Light Emitting Diodes – Indicator LEDs
- LED circuit -Lighting a Light Emitting Diode
- Resistor limiting current – Ohms law
- Multimeter measuring current
- Wattage – Electrical Power unit
- Resistors connected in parallel
- Series resistors
- Voltage divider – Setting a fractional voltage
- Resistor color code
- Diode – Rectifier
- Trimpot – Trimmer potentiometer – Voltage divider – Variable resistor
- Capacitor component
- Capacitor RC time constant
- Voltage ramp Demonstrated using a capacitor.
- LM334 three terminal adjustable current source not a common component. I use for an easy current source in many circuits.
- Switch NOT logic gate – digital signal inverter
- Switch OR gate – LED circuit
- Switch AND gate – LED circuit
- Switch based NAND logic gate – LED demonstration circuit
555 timer is an integrated circuit (IC). Being an IC, it has complex circuitry combined in a single package with external pins/terminals to connect to other circuitry. You can easily make all kinds of fun circuits with just a 555 timer and the components covered above, so I think it’s a good component to learn next.
- 555 Timer IC This particulars of this integrated circuit covered on this page make a lot more sense after you study the basic circuits that follow.
- 555 timer bistable mode – Flip flip basic circuit
- 555 timer monostable mode – One shot
- 555 timer astable multivibrator mode – Flashing LEDs
- 555 timer schmitt trigger logic inverter – NOT gate
- 555 timer LDR controlled astable multivibrator mode LED flasher circuit
- 555 timer – Buzzer output – Astable multivibrator mode – Light dependent resistor LDR controlled circuit
Transistors will probably be the most challenging components to learn. Understanding them will help you understand all of electronics much better, and help you the most in being creative while designing your own circuits.
- NPN BJT switch circuit – Bipolar Junction Transistor – 2N3904
- PNP BJT switch – Bipolar Junction Transistor – 2N3906
- NPN BJT emitter follower circuit – transferring a voltage minus a diode drop
- PNP BJT emitter follower circuit – Transferring weak signal voltage with a diode voltage shift
- Bipolar Junction Transistor BJT voltage follower circuit improved to eliminate base emitter diode shift
- NPN BJT current source – Bipolar Junction Transistor – 2N3904
- PNP BJT current source – Bipolar Junction Transistor – 2N3906
- Schmitt trigger – NPN BJT
- Zener diode component – voltage reference – regulator
- Voltage doubler circuit fragment- Capacitor charge pump – Some V loss
- 7805 5V positive voltage regulator IC
- Battery voltage state of charge SOC – From fully charged to discharged
These pages are still being compiled.
Circuits covered more quickly series:
- Brief polarity indicator LEDs circuit
- Brief capacitor charge and discharge through LEDs circuit
- Brief capacitor charging RC time constant demonstration circuit
- Brief 555 bistable mode flip flop alternating LEDs circuit
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