Using the Breadboard

The Breadboard 

For an electronics hobbyist as well as an engineer the breadboard is the primary platform to deal with. The white dotted board is used to test electronics circuits before soldering it permanently. 

Advantages of using the Breadboard:

  1. For testing whether a circuit is working or not.
  2. Experimenting by replacing old components with a new one having different value.
  3. Breadboard reduces time of soldering.
  4. Testing different IC operations in a short time.
  5. Low cost & well available.

How a Breadboard looks like?

Breadboard
This is how the most used Breadboard looks like there are also lot of variations in sizes.

What inside a Breadboard?

 The upper & lower both two rows are connected horizontally. They are used as power supply terminals, they are not continuous. The middle portion of both supply terminals are not connected so we have to use jumper wires to make it continuous on both sides.

The other terminals below the supply terminals are connected vertically, these terminals is the prototyping terminal.

Setting up Breadboard for your very first project :

A neat & clean work on Breadboard can give mental satisfaction, make good impression, saves time also it can make all of the connections understandable. So if there is something wrong anyone can correct it easily. Use jumper wires (Single Core) to make connections. Remove insulation of the wire using a wire stripper. Jump terminals as shown below hence you get the upper and lower rows connected. So it will be easy to power components or devices from anywhere of the Breadboard.

Some tips & tricks :
  • Try to use less jumper wires as possible to make the platform neat & clean.
  • Place ICs carefully. After placing the IC on the breadboard press it’s both end and then in the middle.
  • Try to remove sufficient insulator from wire not more not less otherwise two conductors closer to each other can make short circuit.
  • Remove ICs with care. Use a needle pass it through the middle channel of the breadboard and remove the IC.

Happy Prototyping!

 

Hacking the Switched Mode Power Supply

Hacking & something more on the SMPS

The SMPS or the Switched Mode power Supply generally used to drive our Personal Computers. It can also be used to drive other loads also so it is a versatile power supply.

Why SMPS is used in Personal Computers?

In the motherboard of a Personal Computer different sections needs different operating voltages those are +3.3V, +5V, -5V, +12V, -12V DC. The SMPS converts & switches 230V AC supply to those voltages respectively in a very short time so it minimizes the wastage of energy thus the efficiency increases. An ideal SMPS dissipates no power.
introduction
Stages of AC to DC conversion & Switching done in a SMPS:
 
Stages of conversion

Hacking the SMPS & using it as your own power supply

Using the Switched Mode Power Supply as a workbench power supply is not so difficult. Everyone can use it. Starting from beginner level, if you Plug in the SMPS and you will find it is not running. Well that not means that the device is damaged.

Running the SMPS

Step 1: Go for the ATX Power connector. It is the connector having 20 or 24 pins. 
ATX Power connector
Step 2: There is only a green wire(PS_ON). Now short PS_ON with any of the Black wire(COM/Ground) of the SMPS and Plug it again to AC. Now if the SMPS is working the fan will start rotating. Now you are able to use it as your power supply.
 
There is only one green wire(PS_ON) short it with and of the black wire(COM/Ground)
ATX Pin out
Step 3: Now check the voltages of the different pins using a multimeter. 
Reading 1
Reading 2
Reading 3
Step 4: Now use the SMPS as a power supply. I’ve use an old one as my workbench power supply. Here is a simple LED test circuit.
 
Test Circuit