How do I go about creating a new circuit?

How to make homemade electronic projects?

Do you ever get the feeling that when you start a circuit you don't really know what you want it for or what purpose it will serve.?

This is an important point because, although it is true that sometimes you cannot know in advance what use you are going to make of it, it is important to have a certain idea in order to prioritise each step or put more or less effort into each aspect.

  1. Just for the fun of itto rise to the challenge, see what works and learn along the way.
  2. For see what result it gives and if it is good to move it to "production" and install it definitively.
  3. With a view, from the outset, to put it to real and continued use

The usual process for making an electronic circuit:

  • I test as quickly as possible with the sensors I want to install, one at a time, and see if everything works well.
  • I consider which sensors I am going to combine based on how well I can combine those particular sensors (suitability of location, available pins, case, etc).
  • I'm thinking about what box I'm going to put it in so that it has a "more or less" professional finish and is not just a swarm of cables hanging around the house.

Believe it or not, of the previous points, the one that usually gives me the most headaches is the box. Besides, the box, in many assemblies, is usually an "active" part of the assembly, as I use it for the circuit wiring.

I like things that stay "fixed in the house"have a good completionI am quite a perfectionist (although it often remains an intention), so I am never satisfied with the result obtained.

The reality is that I often say "I'll leave it like this, for the moment, which is acceptable, and as soon as I have some time I'll improve it."And, well... it usually stays that way.

It is clear that when I just want to tinker, and if the design is not very complex, I do it anyway "in the air", on a breadboard or a perfboard.

A practical example of a home-made electronic project

The best example I can give at the moment, is the project I am finishing and have already published some blog posts about its parts: a node for the master bedroom, based on ESPEASY with an infrared emitter for air conditioning control and CO2 sensor (you have a more recent CO2 meter project here).

Of course, before doing anything with hardware or firmware, a little bit of research and preliminary decision making needs to be done:

  • What is the functionalities do I want to have the jalopy?
  • How am I going to feed?
  • What is the components I am going to use to achieve these functionalities?
  • Am I going to design a box A standard box?
  • How much do I love me spend?

With all these decisions already taken we can getting our hands dirty.

Practical implementation of the electronic circuit

You know, "divide and rule". Personally, what works best for me is to divide the project into several smaller projects that I can do separately.

  1. Infrared emitter
  2. CO2 sensor
  3. Putting it all together
  4. Tests
  5. Box

First I set up the circuit only with infrared emitting diodes and tested and adjusted the firmware, so that it worked correctly independently. Later, once I was satisfied with the operation of the infrared emitter, I did the same with the CO2 sensor, assembling the hardware and adjusting the firmware so that it worked correctly.

The next stage is to put it all together and make sure that both hardware and firmware are working properlyThe system will be tested as necessary, and everything will be left running "dirty".

The testing part is very important. There is nothing worse than having a seemingly finished gadget and then realising that something doesn't work properly. No time should be spared in testing.

The next important step was to the box. For this, I started with the standard box that I use for most of my NodeMCU builds, which I print on my 3D printer, but I modified it appropriately in size and added the necessary openings; two for the two infrared LEDs I was going to use and another two for the two "active" zones of the MH-Z19 sensor I was going to mount.

The last step: fit and wire everything inside the box and re-test it as necessary, before installing it in its final location.

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