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Circuit board projects offer numerous opportunities for education, hobby work, or even cost-effective ways to create electronic equipment. Such projects can range from simple electronic designs on perforated board material to highly complex kits. Basic projects include alarm systems or doorbells, while more complicated ones can make oscilloscopes and other high-end electronic devices. Those with experience in circuit board production can create their own boards for projects designed specifically for their needs.
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the base for circuit board projects. There are several types of boards that can be used, depending on the complexity of the project and experience of the user. Actual boards can also come in a variety of styles for temporary or permanent work, and experimental options. Projects that require testing or experimentation can be built on a temporary board first, before a final board is produced.
Breadboard is a form of temporary board that does not require soldering. It has slots for holding electronic parts without a permanent attachment. Components can be placed on the board and wired together. An added advantage of this type is that, as long as the components are not damaged during the testing process, they can be reused.
Stripboard is another alternative for circuit board projects. This perforated board has copper traces on one side that allow components to be permanently soldered into place. The traces can be cut to customize the board and wire can also be run to attach components. Printed circuit boards have copper traces already embedded in the board, and component placement is pre-printed on the board.
Educational projects, designed specifically for students, are available. Circuit board projects for educational use can range from very simple electrical designs to highly complex finished equipment. Work can be done on a temporary basis as a learning experience, or permanently, to create useful devices. Simple alarms systems or continuity testers are some of the first projects beginners may work on. Groups of students may work together on larger projects that, when completed, can be used as classroom equipment.
Kits are available with boards, components, and instructions for a variety of functional or fun projects. Model railway hobbyists may enjoy kits that create signal lights for trains or illuminated buildings operated by remote control. Many of these electronic projects can be enjoyed by the whole family. Packages can also be purchased for creating radios, burglar alarms, timers, and light displays.
Experienced builders may be able to design their own electronic schematics and boards for circuit board projects. Even if they prefer to build from pre-packaged kits, the cost of a kit can be less than purchasing equipment that is already assembled. Items like stereo amplifiers, oscilloscopes, and signal generators can provide a challenging project with a beneficial result for electronic enthusiasts.