Learning electronic theory is all well and good, but like most real tasks, electronics is 20% theory and 80% practice. Just because a circuit works in a simulation does not mean it will work in real life. Take a look at some high-tech printed circuit boards (such as a motherboard) and you will quickly find strange layout techniques. A classic example is matching the trace lengths for signals in a bus; traces meander back and forth to ensure that bus signals reach their destination at the same time.

So put down your pencil and stop fine-tuning that SPICE circuit, because it’s time to get out the breadboard, soldering iron, and component bin! In this chapter we will look at many experiments and guided examples that range from setting up an electronics workshop to constructing 7-segment displays.

Chapter 9: Contributor List