Gizmodo University: The Bright Ideas Behind LED'sS

In this week's Gizmodo University: Discover Electronics, we will investigate the practical and theoretical fundamentals of electronics. This lesson, the first of four in the series, is presented in conjunction with Sparkle Labs.

Update: Due to unforeseen technical difficulties, this post briefly went live before the featured videos were available. Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this incident may have caused.

Welcome, students! Today, we're examining the fundamentals of electronics: how electrons move and how we measure them; how circuits work and what happens when they fail. We'll also learn a bit about LED's.

Chapter 1: Electrical Pressure

Electrical Pressure from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

OK, now we have a basic understanding of what electrons are, how they move through conductive material, and how batteries function within a circuit. Next, let's crack open our Discover Electronics kits and take a look at what's inside.

Chapter 2: The Solderless Breadboard

The Solderless Breadboard from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

DO NOT DISASSEMBLE YOUR BREADBOARD! The breadboard in that video was a trained stunt professional, so please don't try that at home. But now that we know how it works, let's take a look at how to power ours up.

Chapter 3: 7805 Power Regulator

7805 Power Regulator from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

Right then, now that the juice is flowing let's put it to use powering a small light while we learn about the circuit! If you have any questions or problems setting up your power supply, your Sparkle Labs TA is available in the Comments section.

Chapter 4: First Circuit: LED Driver

First Circuit : LED Driver from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

Watching that LED blink on when the circuit completed sure was satisfying! Since we've mastered the basics of circuitry, let's talk about the basics of electronics theory; Volts, Amps, and Ohms.

Chapter 5: Volts, Amps, and Ohms

Volts, Amps, and Ohms from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

You might want to take a moment and review that last video again. The concepts of volts, amps and ohms are fundamental to the study of electronics—make sure you know what each one measures. Once you feel comfortable, you're ready for the day's final subject: the inner workings of the light emitting diode.

Chapter 6: Light Emitting Diode

Light Emitting Diode from Sparkle Labs on Vimeo.

Thank you very much; this concludes our class for the day. TA's will be available in comments until 2pm Eastern and are eager to to answer your questions. Additional learning material is available here. Review today's videos again at your leisure and we'll see you back here next Saturday 12 noon Eastern for "Switches, buttons, booby traps. Series and parallel, and voltage dividers."