Electronic Circuit Design (Grade 8+)

Dates: TBD

Location: Stacks Co. Doylestown

Cost: $200 + material fee of ~$40

Overall Description:  Electronic circuits are everywhere today and in this camp the student will use the Electronic Playground Kit to learn the basic principles of electricity and electronics.  The camp is designed for beginners with no experience required in electronics, but it is open to all levels.  Circuit design will start with basic electrical components such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, and will progress to more sophisticated electronic components such as LEDs, basic logic gates, and basic integrated circuits.  At the end of the camp, the student will understand the basic principles of electronic circuits and appreciate the complexity of everyday devices.  With the kit the student can continue learning well after the camp is over.

Preliminary Details:

Day 1: Introduction to electrical circuits- voltage, current, resistance.  Build various resistor circuits.

Day 2: Introduction to capacitors and diodes.  Build various capacitor and diode circuits.

Day 3: Introduction to transistors.  Build basic transistor based circuits.

Day 4: More complex circuits using speaker, and time permitting we will introduce basic logic gates (the building blocks of computer design)

Parallax Microcontroller Programming (Grade 9+)

Dates: TBD

Location: Stacks Co. Doylestown

Cost: $200 + material fee of ~$80

Overall Description:  We will make use of the BASIC Stamp Microcontroller Activity Kit to learn electronics and programming at the same time.  Microcontrollers are extremely pervasive in society today and are used in everything from the simplest household devices such as microwaves to highly sophisticated systems such as satellites systems and cell phones.  The camp is designed for beginners with no experience in programming or electronics but is open to all levels.  At the end of the camp the student will understand basic electronic circuits, basic programming, and how software programs can be made to interface and control various external devices.  The activity kit we use can easily be extended for more sophisticated designs, such as robotics.  A laptop is required.

 

Preliminary Details:

Day 1: Introduction to Micro-controllers.  Download required software, open the hardware and get familiar with all parts.

Day 2/3/4:  We will general follow the learning manual and step through various exercises in a learn as we go format.  We will using basic programming and learning how we can make our programs interact with external hardware.

MATLAB Programming (Grade 10+)

Dates: TBD

Location: Stacks Co. Doylestown

Cost: $200

Overall Description:  Matlab is a very powerful numerical programming environment that is used extensively in both academia and industry.  The programming language is easy to learn, but at the same time it can be used to model highly complex scientific and mathematical systems.  In this camp, after some introduction into the basics of radio waves, we will learn how information is transmitted and received from various electronic devices – radios, televisions, cell phones, etc.  With some algebra and basic trigonometry, we will be able to create a model of an AM transmitter and receiver.  We will make recordings of our own voice to be used to explore transmitting and receiving signals in noisy environments and how these effects can be minimized.  A laptop is required.

Preliminary Details:

  • Day 1
    • Install trial version of MATLAB software on our laptops.
    • Learn the basics of the MATLAB programming environment.
  • Day 2
    • Learn how to write programs in MATLAB.
      • Function, If statements, for loops.
      • How to use built in functions
  • Day 3
    • Introduce the main project (Amplitude Modulation)
      • Extend our knowledge of trigonometry (yep that’s basically all we need to understand the seemingly complicated notion of how wireless communicating works!)
      • What is the electromagnetic spectrum? What is a radio wave?
      • How do we send/receive information over radio waves.
      • What is modulation and why do we need it?
      • Dive into details of Amplitude Modulation (AM Radio…)
      • Start programming AM Transmitter/Receiver
  • Day 4
    • Finish programming AM Transmitter/Receiver
    • Present work and share what we learned