This weeks lab involved familiarizing myself with the use of a multimeter, measuring continuity, voltage/current in series and parallel and resistance.
I initially had problems with the lab because I was not aware I did not have all the parts for the lab. After two trips to radio shack (one for a jack and 9v, and another because I thought that the transformer was a voltage regulator) I was ready to undertake it. When I went to solder the jack, I forgot/did not know which was which, so I soldered a red wire to the outside and a green wire (no black) to the center pin. Oops, this is definitely backwards. How do I know it is backwards? Well, my voltage regulator was burning up, my battery was burning up, and there was no light in the light bulb. After realizing this (and re-soldering one of my connections which was a bit loose) the lab was a piece of cake.
Things to know:
1. A Maximum of 2 LEDs in series will light up (since the third pushes all three below the minimum required power).
2. Putting wires the wrong way is very bad, and very hot.
3. In series, all components have the same current and a portion of the voltage, in parallel the opposite is the case.
4. Resistance is a function of the material, and does not change (effectively).
5. To use the multimeter in current, set it to be in series with the circuit. To use the multimeter for resistance, remove the component. To observe the voltage, set it in parallel (all of these make sense when looking at the info above, since the idea is not to alter the readings).
One last thought: I am really happy to finally be making circuits. Of course I took physics in college, but figuring out the total effective resistance of an area never mattered as much as when it has the possibility for blowing my components up (namely LEDs).