Make It Real Challenge
This project has been entered in the "Make it Real Challenge", which awards a 3D printer to the winner. "To enter, post an Instructable that shows how to turn a virtual item into a tangible object." I believe this project qualifies, since I spent a significant amount of time modeling the circuit on my computer before going on to the build stage. This Instructable does cover how to model a circuit (final step) and it does require the etching of a Printed Circuit Board based on that computer model. If you like my project, please rate it and vote for me!
Yes, there are chips available that achieve MUCH better results with a simpler circuit, but they are essentially "black boxes" that use digital methods to convert a voltage to a frequency. This circuit is fully understandable with algebra and rudimentary calculus and op-amp knowledge. Since this project is for an "analog electronics" course, this fit the bill.
Here's a breakdown of roughly how long it took to complete each stage of the project:
- 10 Hours: Initial design, including EagleCAD entry, board layout, and computer simulation.
- 3 Hours: Part sourcing.
- 5 Hours: Project box design, prep, painting, and labeling.
- 1 Hour: Initial PCB component placement
- 2 Hours: Connecting the PCB to the control panel.
- 20 Hours: Troubleshooting and component revision. Seriously.
- 1 Hour: Calibration.
- 1 Hour: Characterization.
This is nothing you'd want to rely on if you need any kind of precision, it's just a cheap, quick and dirty source of time-varying signal. Another reason I wanted to make a function generator is just to have another piece of ghetto lab equipment worthy of my growing collection.