Maybe you’ve always dreamed of building a robot in the garage. Maybe you’re tired of your computer crashing right when you’re in the middle of something. Regardless of your reasons, here are just four tips for building your own electronics.
1. Have A Plan
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people buy hundreds of dollars worth of supplies with no idea what they actually want to create. If you’re serious about building something from scratch, you’ll need to know in advance what that “something” actually is. Putting together a remote-controlled train is a lot different than creating your own smartphone. Draw up blueprints and write an action plan before you whip out your credit card.
2. Prevent Damage Before It Happens
There’s a reason that experts always stress things like circuit board protection. If you aren’t careful, you could fry your entire power system with nothing more than an electrical surge or a wrongly-applied tool. You should also watch out for things like static, corrosion and water damage; if possible, buy materials that boast non-toxic and moisture-resistant qualities.
3. Mind Your Budget
Buying electronic parts can get expensive, so it’s important to draft a budget before you visit the hardware store. Know in advance what your maximum spending limit looks like, and don’t let yourself be tempted by shiny tools or special features that you don’t actually need. If you go broke on your very first project, you won’t have anything left for your second!
4. Ask for Help
Has your project hit a dead end? Are you unsure where those sparks are coming from or why your device refuses to power on? There’s no shame in reaching out to the experts and getting a little advice when you’re stuck on a particular problem. Remember, every great builder had to start somewhere, and they probably asked other people for help as well. No one is born with an encyclopedic knowledge of electronics.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you start building your own robots, laptops, smartphones, radio cars and walkie-talkies. As you can see, there’s a little more to the process than simply fusing wires together, so don’t rush your new hobby. Do your homework about the “how”s and “why”s in order to create something truly amazing.