I started the Electronics Club at Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine
Manuel some time back in the 1980’s and we continued up till
It was an after school voluntary activity intended to introduce
students to the world of electronics through the construction of
projects like a sound operated switch, a simple radio receiver
In the beginning it was the students themselves who suggested
what they would like to make and we sat down together and worked
After a year or two of this I decided that it was worth
collecting together all the circuits and here they are, or, at
least, some of them.
My main aims were
a) to evolve designs which used an absolute minimum of
b) to limit myself to using components, the operation of which
could be relatively easily explained to beginners.
The circuits have all been tested though there might remain
slight errors in some of the diagrams; check before
proceeding... you have been warned!
The circuits are my own designs except
i) the two transistor reflex radio
ii) the led flasher
iii) the 10Watt audio amplifier
iv) the stroboscope
The radio was designed by G. W. Short and published in The
Radio Constructor magazine back in 1968 but it remains one
of the best, most reliable, simplest designs for an a.m. radio
receiver I have ever found.
The led flasher was (I think) a suggestion from a reader in the
magazine Wireless World.
The 10W amplifier was (I think) taken from Transistor Audio and Radio
Circuits published by Mullard.
The stroboscope was published in a French electronics magazine,
In these projects, the printed circuit board design is my own
and some of the component values may have been modified
Rather depressing to note that all these magazines have gone the
way of the dodo and I'm not even sure if the Mullard company
A final point to keep in mind: these circuits were developed
for amusement only, they won't save you any money!
This is even more true today (15/08/2017) than it was when they
were put together.
Almost anything you can build using separate components can be
done more cheaply (and probably better) by an appropriate
Having collected together all the projects, I decided to write
an introduction to some of the basic components and ideas
necessary to understand how the circuits worked.
One obvious limitation of this introduction is that it was
written with one or two specific pieces of apparatus in mind;
notably, a kit containing pre-wired AND, NAND, OR gates etc.
However, it is hoped that the basic ideas about resistance,
capacitance etc might be helpful…
One project that I was rather pleased with was an automatic pcb
This took me years to complete (with the help of a friend, Bob
just happens to be a precision mechanical engineering genius) and when it
was finally up and running, we videoed its inauguration.
There's also an introduction showing some of the club members
working on their own projects.
I can't help inserting this video here... for the nostalgia!
I found that a 4mm drill bit
(hand held) is suitable for making cuts in the copper strips.
To save space on circuit boards I found it useful to drag some
solder from one copper track to the adjacent track (rather than
using a wire on the other side).
I show this by an elliptical "blob" on the copper side vero
Making Simple Printed Circuit Boards
If you do not possess the equipment for making pcb’s the
"professional way" ie photographically, here is a suggestion.
Take the copper covered board and cover it with some of that
thin brown plastic tape which is often used in packaging (or
Print the pcb layout onto a piece of adhesive paper (the sort
that is used to print addresses for sticking on envelopes).
Stick the paper on top of the brown tape and use a sharp cutter
to cut away the paper (and tape) in order to expose the copper
you want to dissolve away.