Chapter 5. Building a Prototype

Most home and hobby electronics projects consist of prototyping. "Proto" means "first," so a prototype is the first version, model, or instance of something being built. All big projects and products begin with a prototype, just to see how the idea works out. Since most of us are not in business to construct products, just about everything we build can be considered a prototype! If you go on to improve your circuit, as many of us do, each model is a prototype for the next.

Much of the work of prototyping involves packaging the electronics. You may build the electronics from individual components — some techniques for building this type of circuit are covered in Chapter 6.

As electronics manufacturing has become more and more efficient, it has also become more and more common (and cheaper!) to simply use ICs or modules that do the job. All you have to do is provide power, input and output connections, and the necessary controls. That's what the tasks in this chapter will illustrate.

It's quite unlikely that all of the parts you have or buy will exactly match those in this book. Don't be afraid to substitute and experiment! That's the fun of electronics as a hobby — trying something new and learning. If a figure shows a pushbutton switch and you have a toggle switch, that's fine! If you'd rather build your prototype in a coffee ...

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