Here’s a list of classes I’m thinking about doing at the space. I have moderate mind maps laid out for the battery tech and audio classes as I write this 11/26/16.
- A full Arduino cycle: 101, 201/sensors, 301/controlling the world, and maybe even a 401/communicating with the outside world. That last one would include stuff like Firmata, and/or other advanced topics, like compiler flags, memory management/troubleshooting. With possibly applying less to the last one, these would be lab classes.
- As a precursor to the Arduino cycle, I’d like to do a basic electricity for hobbyists class (also very much a lab class). Still just a say 3 hour class, it would include
- the usually neglected how to use a breadboard, with discussion of how to translate a schematic into actual physical wiring, with pairs for remote switches, lights etc;
- the basic formulas for voltage, current, resistance, and power and how to use them;
- an attempt at calibrating the student’s perception of what “large” and “small” values of those quantities are/mean to the kind of work we do, including what say 1 W feels like;
- measuring current and voltage (and resistance). This becomes an intro to using a multimeter for measurement. With luck, it would include some insight into how to use a multimeter for troubelshooting. “How to use a multimeter” should be in the course title.
- Intro to oscilloscopes: What they are and do, and how to operate them. A rag-tag collection of scopes, with students rotating among them would be a plus for this lab class. I envision this basically as the learning for learning’s sake kind of class without a concrete goal I’ve been faulted for proposing. It’s a little shakier, but it would be good if it could include some sort of intro to how to use a scope for troubleshooting.
- Battery technology for hobbyists. Probably not very labby. Intro to common chemistries, including power/energy and their formulas, charging for secondary types, electronic applications/considerations, testing, recycling/scavenging. Part of the goal would be realistic reducing fear of lithium, and would include a generic lithium charger.
- Intro to audio for hobbyists. Includes physics of, formulas, common devices, recording, frequency response, distortion, interfacing to common devices, impedance, connectors, psychoacoustics, tools, amplifiers, analog v digital, noise, signal formats, circuit bending. And then after the break, we’ll cover… Some lab would be quite helpful, but not sure how to do it.
- And of course Tiny85 and friends. That would take more prep, as the landscape has changed.
- Making PCBs, again.
- An actual into to electronics class. Multiple sessions. The arc of the course would be pretty clearly defined, but the basics – e.g. ohm’s law – would be the student’s responsibility to get from online classes. The real value would be providing lab opportunities. Sure, we’d answer question, and even do little focus sessions if asked, but mostly provide the structure of the class and labs, and be there to proctor/mentor in the lab.
Kind of separate from formal classes: I ran across a kit from Evil Mad Scientist for snap-o-lantern / peek-o-book. It occurred to me that I could do a beginning to end project “class” with a small group, starting with Eagle for schematic capture and board layout, PCB manufacture including reflow, intro to servos, programming the Tiny 85 (or pro mini/nano), and actually building a working device. This would take weeks. Maybe a “snap-o-lantern club”/SIG with regular meetings? Lauren pointed out that while this does have a concrete goal, it’s a silly one – yet another thing to take up space and collect dust. If I proposed such a project class, I could also poll for a more worthy end product.