Introduction: Circuit Visualization

Picture of Circuit Visualization

This instructables show how to visualize the circuit design in real life.

Step 1: Why?

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Circuit can be drawn very clear in diagram, but it is hard to read the connection in real life product. Bread board connections are easier to read, but it still have some main connection hided at the bottom.

How about if the real life product can read all the circuit connection clearly? This instructables try to visualize circuit in module level, I will use my previous project ATtinyPowerMeter as an example.

Step 2: Preparation

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Round female pin header

I will try to use round female pin headers help to flatten all the circuit connections.

Breadboard Wire

Breadboard wire is the best friend of round female pin header!

MCU

ATtiny85-20SU with DIP adaptor board.

Power Monitor Module

INA219 High Side DC Current Sensor Breakout module.

Display Module

SSD1306 128x64 OLED I2C display module (beware of Vcc and GND pin position).

Battery

CR2032 or LIR2032 with battery holder.

Terminal Block Connector

2 pins push wire screwless terminal block connector, one for power source, one for load device.

Power Switch

Any power switch is ok but push button preferred.

Acrylic sheet

A 2-3 mm small size acrylic sheet for the circuit support, 90 mm x 70 mm is good enough for this project. You may find some small cheap dispose acrylic sheet from the acrylic shop near you.

Step 3: Soldering Round Female Pin Headers

Picture of Soldering Round Female Pin Headers

This step is optional, only required if you want to reuse same module in different project.

Firstly, you need to desoldering original pin header if exists. Then put the round female pin headers on the module board and bent it into right angle and soldering it.

Repeat this step in all modules.

Step 4: Design Circuit Layout

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It is very similar to normal circuit design, only one thing need to consider for easy reading: reduce overlapping, each wire should not overlap more than 1 time.

Step 5: Connect Easier Part First

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Next step we need measure and cut the breadboard wire to connect all the component.

Let's start with easier part first, the parallel wires.

In this example, INA219 and SSD1306 modules have same I2C pin order: Vcc, GND, SCL, SDA.

Step 6: Reserve Cross Connect Space

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Some wires require connect with other wires, remove part of the wire cover to reserve the connection space.

Step 7: Connect MCU Wire

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ATtiny85 have Vcc, SCK and SDA pin at the same side, let's connect it then.

Step 8: Connect All Other Wires

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Then connect all other wires one by one. GND is the most difficult one because it connect all the components. All others is point to point connection.

Step 9: Soldering Work

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Soldering all connected points.

Step 10: Fix the Terminal Block Connectors

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The terminal block connectors I am using are connect the cover with 3 of 1.5 mm round legs. I would like to remove the cover any direct plug it into the acrylic base. So that I can see through the connectors.

  1. mark the holes at the acrylic sheet
  2. drill the holes
  3. remove the covers
  4. plug the connectors to the acrylic sheet

Step 11: Fix Other Components

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Stick other components with acrylic foam tape.

You may use normal foam tape instead, but acrylic foam tape make you can see back side clearly too :>

Step 12: Test Connection

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Plug in the battery and switch on the circuit, check the OLED display correctly.

Connect a DC power source to the source connectors (Vin+ and GND) and connect a loading circuit to load connectors (Vin- and GND), check the voltage and current display correctly.

Recheck all connection if something goes wrong.

Step 13: Happy Sharing!

Picture of Happy Sharing!

It's time to show what you have done to your friends!

Comments

lcroisez (author)2017-12-07

A german artist, Peter Vogel, which is dead now, was building amazing interactive electronic structures: http://galerie-baumgarten.de/kuenstler.php?kuenstler=36&name=Peter_Vogel

Mousepotato01 (author)2017-10-01

A tip for you. If you want to have absolutely perfectly straight wire take and use solid core wire like hook up wire or bell wire as it is known in many parts then cut more than what you need be very careful practice with unshielded wire to do this step before you attempt to do this for your art work ok. Take it between 2 pairs of pliers and grasp it very firmly then apply force between the two pliers pulling on the wire being careful not to move it and it will stretch. Now this is the tricky part you only need it to stretch a very small amount to straighten the wires perfectly and then you can take a pair of needle nose pliers without teeth on them to grip the wire where you want a bend and make the bend it will be crisp and clean and no waves in the wire unless the insulation is wavey that nothing can be done about other than purchasing very expensive wire and that is just crazy. After you pull the wire check it with continuity tester to be certain you have no breakages along the way under the insulation and you will have perfectly formed pieces of very very nice artwork. By the way did I mention how beautiful this looks you should get a patent on this before underwriters laboratory (UL) or GE scoops it up you have a gold mine here my friend. People always want to know what they are getting and you stumbled onto pure gold. I do understand the need to keep things hidden from the public to avoid copyright infringement or reverse engineering others work but this is great stuff for weather stations or clocks or things of that nature. Plus one can not get any more open source than this for the software and products. Plus this is a great way to inspire young minds to go into this field. KUDO'S to you my friend very exceptional work I LOVE THIS ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS...... I will need to do this with my signs I make if that is ok with you to take your idea. This is the signs I speak of I made these and they sold for $150.97 on the Swan the Mickey Mouse sold for $200.00 and the S for Superman was a gift. The other signs have not sold yet but I think in place of the black back board I could use clear acrylic and show off the wiring and electronic components with power supplies what do you think INSTRUCTABLES???? I will make a Instructables on how to for my next build on a small wall sign like one of these. They work perfectly in the children's room as a Nightlight it is bright enough to read a book by but pleasant to not bother the child to stay awake and if they are animated it is even better. Some of my signs have Fiber Optics in them with RGB LED's to display multi colored dots all over like snow or stars. The image with me in it is to show just how large they are that is my hottest size seller it is 11x14 inch and the circuitry is hidden in the frames for now or behind the backing if animation is needed due to the circuit boards sizes for sequencing of the neon wire. The Fantasy Witchy Toadstool Mushrooms are in fact Night Lights I used INSTAMORPH Moldable Plastic to make them they sold for $197.98 with the special programming asked for by the customer to play lullabies in her triplets room they also are powered by a battery pack that is solar powered for recharge and comes with a wall outlet for when mom forgets to recharge the batteries they also have a small digital meter to show the power level. The Coffee sign has fiber optics in the steam to make it come to life. Each battery pack has a 4 day operating life left on 24/7 it will last for 4 days before recharge is required. This is why the cost is so high on them the quality is over the top. I will make this to see how it turns out using Lexan plastic glass. A small word of advise if you purchase the plastic glass of Amazon.com do not buy from https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A29P802DGSGI7W&merchant=A29P802DGSGI7W&redirect=true they sell underside pieces of plastic glass and when you speak to them they blow smoke up your behind telling you it is industrial standards now if that were true which it is not I know from expierience everything in this world would be off size and we all know that is not true. Ok sorry I got lost with my reply please forgive my rambling on about my stuff. VERY NICE WORK 陳亮 I love it....

陳亮 (author)Mousepotato012017-10-07

hi Mousepotato01, thanks for your suggestion. I am spending most of time to manage the wire in this project :P

Mousepotato01 (author)陳亮2017-10-24

No problem I was happy to help. If you have any questions about things to maybe make it easier or how to do some task please ask. If I know the answer I would be happy to help you out. I have 30+ years in the field of electronics and mechanical assembly of very high tech sophisticated equipment from X-Ray Machines to Liquid filling systems for major conglomerates like Exxon, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Johnson & Johnson and many many others worldwide. So if I have a tip or the knowledge you seek please remember the only dumb or stupid questions are the ones not asked. Yet once again very nice job on this wonderful art. I have posted links to this page on all my social media sites I belong to to show off your talent and Designing skills you have. You have a great eye for fine details and that will take you far. Please do other electronic components I would love to view them and offer any tips if I have any. Please keep up this wonderful work.

I also build outdoor signs for holiday decorations Them are mostly all solar powered people love the idea of decorating to the 9's without having to pay a huge electric bill. I owe it all to this web site as well for many ideas I refined and improved on to be bulletproof. TwoLipsNeonDesigns@hotmail.com for inquiries on products.

The double imaging you think you see in some photo's is the animation I spoke of it is the neon not illuminated yet it flashes between the stuff to make it look like they are moveing that is the animation I spoke of.

smamitkumarsingh09 (author)2017-10-02

Hey
Can u tell me what use of this project

A transparent and easy to understand implementation of an INA219 current and volt meter using an ATmega85 arduino compatible micro controller. I would use this to test the power draw and energy consumption of my other arduino projects. But it looks nice enough for me to leave out on my desk.

陳亮 (author)chemicalvamp2017-10-07

thanks, chemicalvamp!

AlphaOmega1 (author)2017-10-01

Very nice, but I have to ask, isn't the point of micro electronics to be inconspicuous? ;) Please read on...
The
breadboard and any sketches should be fine for "reading the
connections", in fact a clear circuit diagram will be your best option,
Why do you need to do this on the end product? Having designed and made
it, you ought to know how it went together.

The drawing is an abstraction, students should learn to work with abstractions rather than dumbing everything down.

Do
you need to have a rationale for what is essentially a piece of
functional art? What not just say, I made this, it looks freeking great!
;)

Taranach (author)AlphaOmega12017-10-03

The purpose is educational... it is also a very clear and elegant layout of the circuit that displays the functionality of the connections. It is a schematic made real instead of just another spaghetti mess of wiring. I can appreciate your idea of working with "abstractions", but that is anathema to engineering where everything must be detailed and precise or it does not work. There is nothing worse than trying to track down a problem among hundreds of intertwining wiring that is all the same size and color inside of a series of industrial electrical cabinets. Another nasty mess I see all too often is that the schematics are laid out for optimum clarity for wiring and rarely follow the physical packaging of the components. This can also become a problem if everything is not very clearly labeled... then there is the final insult, when the schematics go missing. This happens far too often in real life.

陳亮 (author)Taranach2017-10-07

agree, it is very hard to find the schematics for my home appliac

陳亮 (author)AlphaOmega12017-10-01

Hi, AlphaOmega1. When I break into an appliance, I always want to read how the circuit connected. But it is hard to read without the circuit diagram. I just want my daily use tools can illustrate the circuit itself without any extra document. I am very happy heard someone call it an art piece, besides art element, it also help me explain to others how simple connecting today modularized eletronics can be.

cncholic (author)2017-10-01

Love it, very well made article. I learned electronics with the Braun Lectron about 55 years ago, a forgotten tool that works on the same basis. Congrats, great execution

陳亮 (author)cncholic2017-10-07

its elegant

nh4x4Jeep (author)cncholic2017-10-04

The Lectron!!! My older brother had this, but only left a few pieces... I have purchased sonething very similar for my 4 kids called Snap Circuits.

appsman (author)2017-10-01

To those interested in this technique, forgive me for possibly upstaging the author with a photo of what is possible. This was built by the DaVinci of 3D circuit creation, Jim Williams, who was well known in the analog circuit world.

steveastrouk (author)appsman2017-10-02

Gone, but not forgotten, like his friend Bob Pease.

MarPok (author)appsman2017-10-02

WOW! This is crazy and beautiful at the same time.

陳亮 (author)appsman2017-10-02

hi appsman, I have seen something similar at Pinterest, so I make it more colorful and designed this.

DejayRezme (author)appsman2017-10-01

Don't worry, you're not ;) That circuit is beautiful and thanks for sharing it, but it's kind of different of what OP is trying to do. OP is all about educational and easy to read for peope.

There is a supreme beauty in making the powerful modularized electronics we have today accessible to more people. People still think electronics is some kind of black magic. But imagine taking OPs board in your hands when you first started with electronics.

I don't know if electrical engineers develop new brain paths to be able to understand circuit designs easier over time, but for newbies it's quite hard. OPs board lets you see better. And that for me is what art is about, letting you see something new. Art lets you look behind the facade of the world and see or understand something new.

So if someone would ask me what the better art piece is, I'd say it's OPs :)

diy_bloke (author)2017-10-02

looks gorgeous. regarding readabilty of breadboard connections though,, I find a classic circuit easier to read (and understand), but that ofcourse is purely personal.
nevertheless, yr end product looks great

tarzansounds (author)2017-10-01

Thats beatiful!!

stephenfitton (author)2017-10-01

wiring as an art form always as I have envisaged it

billbillt (author)2017-10-01

GREAT

ea00d009 (author)2017-10-01

awesome! very didactic!

BobbyZ1 (author)2017-10-01

Really beautiful. I love that it reduces the circuit to its elements and shows them proudly. Reminds me of the spirit of the Pompidou!

dan3008 (author)2017-10-01

thats amazing. It wouldnt look out of place mounted in a photo frame on the wall, as long as it did something useful\artistic at the same time

BrownDogGadgets (author)2017-09-30

Nice visualization. Kudos.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-09-30

This is really cool. It is the perfect tool for teaching students about circuits.

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