Lesson 3 – Exploring Contents of Kit
Paper Circuits track I is designed to introduce you to various fundamental concepts related to electronics. Electronics is the study of how to control the flow of electrons (sub atomic particles responsible for moving energy around as we know it). Electronics essentially deals with circuits made up of components that control the flow of electricity. Electronics as a branch of science, is a part of physics and electrical engineering.
In this tutorial we will go over each of the contents of the Paper Circuit Track 1 kit. We will briefly talk about each of the components and then refer to the each of the tutorials later on where you will make use of these components. The intention of this tutorial is to familiarize you with each of the components of the kit and help you understand what type of circuits will these components be used to build.
Mixed bag of components – On this picture you will see 3 LED’s (white, green, yellow), a resistor (blue with black stripes) and a diode (black cylinder with a dot on it).
Electronic components, a close up – Let’s go over each of the electronic components starting from top right right working down to the bottom.
- White LED (Newer kits have a white dot on them to suggest polarity i.e. Cathode, Anode)
- Blue resistor
- Green LED (Newer kits have a white dot on them to suggest polarity i.e. Cathode, Anode)
- Yellow LED (Newer kits have a white dot on them to suggest polarity i.e. Cathode, Anode)
- Diode with a dot to suggest polarity (Dot suggests polarity, i.e. side with the dot is the Cathode while the other side is the Anode)
Double sided tape – Each of the electronic components included i.e. LED’s, diodes, resistors, etc. have double sided tape on the bottom, see picture of an LED shown below.
You will need to peel off the bottom side of the tape and then stick the electronic component onto the paper in such a way that the metallic legs (of the resistor, LED, diode, etc.) touches the two sides of the copper tape forming a circuit i.e. the electronic component is sort of a bridge connecting two pieces of copper tape allowing the electrons to flow through it creating a functioning circuit. We’ll cover this off in later tutorials.
SPST and DPST Switches – Shown below are the SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) and DPST (Double Pole Single Throw) switches that we will be using for our tutorials. These switches have double sided tape at the bottom which can be peeled off and stuck to the paper at the point where the switch needs to be embedded. The Switches are designed to act like a bridge for the electrons and when you press them down on the paper they should close off the gap between the two ends of the copper tape thus creating a working circuit.
There are many different types of switches e.g. SPST (Single Pole Single Throw), SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw), DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw), DPST (Double Pole Single Throw). Of these different types we will be using SPST and DPST in our circuits.
- A single-pole, single-throw (SPST) switch is as simple as it gets. It’s got one output and one input. The switch will either be closed or completely disconnected. SPSTs are perfect for on-off switching. They’re also a very common form of momentary switches. SPST switches should only require two terminals.
- Another common switch-type is the SPDT. SPDTs have three terminals, one common pin and two pins which vie for connection to the common. SPDTs are great for selecting between two power sources. Most simple slide switches are of the SPDT variety. SPDT switches should usually have three terminals.
- Adding another pole to the SPDT creates a double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch. Basically two SPDT switches, which can control two separate circuits, but are always switched together by a single actuator.
- A Double Pole Single Throw (DPST) switch is a switch that has 2 inputs and 2 outputs; each input has 1 corresponding output. Each of the terminals of a double pole single switch can either be in the on position (closed) or in the off position (open). A Double Pole Single Switch has a lot of versatility being that it accepts 2 inputs, which makes it then be able to drive 2 different outputs in a circuit.
The first image below is that of a SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) and the second one is of a DPST (Double Pole Single Throw) switch.
CR2032 battery – The CR2032 is a button cell battery that can be used to power your circuit with a voltage of 3 Volts. Every circuit needs power to drive it and in our case we chose to use the simple CR2032 coin cell battery. If you run out of juice in this battery feel free to pick up a replacement CR2032 battery from your local electronics store.
Copper tape – We will be using copper tape very extensively in each of our tutorials within the Paper Circuit development track to create different types of circuits. Copper tape that we use contains the same copper that runs through the power lines that carry electricity around our homes. In our case we will be using conductive copper tape which can be glued onto paper to create tracks through which electricity can flow.
The copper tape on its lower side has adhesive backing which when peeled off can be stuck onto paper creating very flexible circuits. If you run out of copper tape you can pick up another reel from your local electronics store.
About Paper Circuits Track I –
Paper circuits are a great way to get started with the fundamentals of electronics. Simply speaking paper circuits are low voltage electronics circuits that one creates using a combination of paper, conductive copper tape, passive or active electronic components (resistors, LED’s, etc.) including an easy to access power source like a coin cell battery. Educators and parents alike are able to make use of paper circuits to help kids learn relevant fundamentals of electronics by engaging them in hands on activities. Kids create these circuits using the various components provided and through the making learn key concepts. Our paper circuits kits enables kids of all ages with the opportunity to explore fundamentals of electronics without having to worry about damaging expensive electronic boards or components or getting hurt. Paper circuits are a combination of electronics and art bringing together a blend of creativity, learning and experimentation.