If you have ever attempted to do electronics, and purchased books on the subject, you are always faced with, or immediately put in the deep end of technical jargon that will bore you to drop the book before you get past the first page .
Well its time to put everything in order and catalogue all the electronic components that you have at your disposal for easier reference and rapid prototype. When I have purchased resistor packs, they have always come in un-labeled packs . In the picture, you will see a number of resistor bags, holding resistors of different values to each other . To start with, before even opening the bags, I have labeled them : packet 1, packet 2, packet 3 etc ........................ .
To make this filing project easier to understand, I will call resistors taped together in a Row, Files . First pick up the packet labeled 1 and remove a file of resistors . Get a pen and mark on the File the number 1 .
Step 1: Label Pack 1 to 12 Etc
Next pick up another File of resistors and mark this number 2 , keep repeating this going in sequence 3,4,5,6 until all the resistor Files have their own identification number .
Repeat this procedure for Packet 2 , Packet 3, Packet 4 etc .
Step 2: Test Each Resistor
Once all the resistor Packs and Files have been labeled with their own numbers, its time to identify each resistor by its resistive value . The traditional way is to look at the colour banding of the resistor and match it up with charts, ( if they are available ) .
But this is tedious and unreliable .
A faster way is to test each resistor's value with a Tester meter, and mark the results down on a reference chart (which will form a part of using the resistors for circuits) and should be kept with the Labeled resistors .Also put the resistance value on the resistor file .
This is the chart I obtained from testing each resistor in each pack . The result is the average value for each File of resistors . k represents thousand . The number in brackets is the File number . The number next to it is the resistive value obtained .
Rapid Prototyping Resistor Chart
Step 3: Number Each Resistor Holder 1 to 15 +
Once the resistors have been satisfactory labeled identified and catalogued for fast reference . We need to do the same with other common electronic components .
Step 4: Capacitor Cataloging and Quick Identification
There is already a fixed Capacitance Conversion Table , ready to be used . So use the one below :
CAPACITANCE CONVERSION TABLE
0.000001uF = 0.001nF = 1pF
0.00001uF = 0.01nF = 10pF
0.0001uF = 0.1nF = 100pF
0.001uF = 1nF = 1000pF
0.01uF = 10nF = 10000pF
0.1uF = 100nF = 100000pF
1uF = 1000nF = 1000000pF
10uF = 10000nF = 10000000pF
100uF = 100000nF = 100000000pF
0.0047uF is often expressed as 4.7nF or as 4700pF
If the value contains a decimal point, the u, n or p is sometimes put in place of the decimal point. Therefore a 4.7pF Capacitor can be marked as 4p7F . You can use the Capacitance Conversion table above to translate the values obtained from schematic drawings .
When you first buy capacitors, it is best to catalogue their values as you buy them. Stick some tape around them and label it with its value .
If you did not obtain the value of Capacitance after purchasing from the shop . You can use the ' Multi Test Meter ' to find the Capacitance for you by connecting the black test Lead ( - ) to the COM jack , and the red test lead ( + ) to the mA/Cx jack . Next set the function switch to either nF or uF position to be used . Before connecting make sure the capacitor is fully discharged and removed from any power source . Then connect the test leads across the capacitor under measurement and be sure that the polarity of connection is observed .
Step 5: Transistors Catalogue NPN and PNP
After purchasing the 300 in 1 electronic Lab . There was a number of Transistors inside the components tray . At this point it was not known which one's were NPN or PNP transistors and also their values were unknown .Again you will have to bring out the ' Muti Test Meter ' to find the values for you and it will also tell you if its an NPN or PNP transistor . Once the values are obtained, I stuck the transistors along a strip of labeled insulation tape with the corresponding value and if it was an NPN or PNP type of transistor .
These are the values obtained for the transistors in the tray :
hfe B Base C Collector E Emitter
(1) 208 BCE NPN Flat face to the right
(2) 190 BCE PNP
(3) 191 BCE NPN
(4) 215 BCE NPN
(5) 190 BCE PNP
(6) 186 BCE PNP
(7) 190 BCE NPN
(8) 193 BCE NPN
(9) 188 BCE PNP
(10) 190 BCE PNP
The list above and labeled strip of transistors was kept together for easy fast reference for building projects . You can make your own list for the values of your transistors . The number in brackets, is each transistor for identification along the insulation tape strip .
Step 6: Diode Catalogue
For diodes, you can catalogue them the same way you have been doing for capacitors and transistors . You can even put down which type of diode they are .
List of diode types to be isolated to their own group are :
Step 7: CIRCUIT SIMULATION
When you download circuit schematics off the internet or copy from books or even experiment with your own designs , its best to try and simulate the circuit first to see if it works before building the project for real . There are a number of circuit simulators out there, with their own library of virtual components to test before purchasing the actual components .
You can build your project in a virtual world at no cost and save it to disk for completion later . You can even join a project from another design to a project to a different design to work together as one project, and simulate it to see if it works .
You can download a free working demo of a circuit simulator from :
or one that works strait off the table:
The Demo is good enough to do your own designs for free without having to purchase it and it already has a library of working examples of schematics .
If you decide to purchase the software after using the demo, the serial number they give you, is only good, so long as you don't wipe your hard drive clean . Because the serial number will not recognize your computer after re-installing your operating system .You will have to order another serial number ( for free ) from the vender .
You can download a free working demo of a circuit simulator from :
After download, open the program and go to ' File ' , ' Open ' . Choose Electricity file . Open ' Livewire Demonstration - [LED CIRCUIT]
Try the demo out . Then copy the circuit first on paper, and try to design a way you could implement another switch and LED Light into the circuit and then run the circuit to see if it works .
Step 8: INTERGRATED CIRCUITS
There is also software that removes the need to buy components like resistors , capacitors, transistors etc . Once you have designed your circuit on computer, you can download the fully working schematic into a micro chip . This is called miniaturization . It is possible to put thousands of resistors, capacitors and transistors etc on one chip . Originaly designed as a schematic on your computer .
You can also either buy your own electronic lab like in the picture, or just an ordinary small plastic bread board with numbered holes to create your projects on .Will still give you a good start with electronic projects .
Projects Ideas that could get you started from these Instructables:
Robot Wars :
Mars Rover :
Step 9: Calculate the Resistor Attached to Light Emitting Diodes
If you are using light emitting diodes for your project ( probably used as indicators or to show that the device is switched on ) . You can calculate the value of the resistor to be used and attached to the LED Light that will work with the project .
For example :
The supply voltage is Vs = 9v
Led voltage = 2v ( 4v for blue or white leds )
I = Led maximum current
The formula is : R = ( Vs - Led Voltage ) / I
For example :
What I had at the time .
R = ( 9v - 2.5v ) divided by 0.020a ( 20ma ) = 325 Ohms . Looking at the chart at the beginning of the article I chose a 320 Ohm resistor as the closest value needed for the LED Light diode to work . I proved this after using the simulator .
When you wire up the the Light Emitting Diode, the resistor should be connected to the ( a or + ) Cathode ( the Long Lead ) side of the Light Emitting Diode .The short side connected to the negative or ground side .