What happens when you send a day-dreamer to electronics school? Throw
in a few too many hours spent reading Pogo Possum in the Sunday Funnies and you
A quick vastly over-simplified primer for those of you unfamiliar with
- The heart of electronics is the sophisticated control of the flow of
- Electricity flows in waves, pulses, or just plain vanilla straight, like
the Okefenokee River, and electronics is the art/science of directing that
flow and making it do tricks. To do this, we build teeny-tiny little
switches and call them 'circuits'.
- Electronic waves can come in many varieties, described by their appearance
on a video monitor - sine waves are smooth curves; square waves are sine
waves flattened on the top and bottom, and saw-tooth waves look like a
skate-board ramp. Each have a purpose.
- 'Square waves' are used to control changes of state - that is, they serve
as on/off switches for circuits. They can also act as counters,
references for measurement, and signals to your game-boy to show your score,
as well as display your favorite hero pounding the heck out of the
- The multi-vibrator is a square-wave generator. Just another name for
a circuit that churns out continuous streams of alternating current.
- The phantastron is a pulse generator, which might be considered a
'one-shot multi-vibrator', since one-half a square wave cycle is a
pulse. To confuse you, it can also turn out one half of a sine wave,
or a single saw-tooth wave. It is a tricky little devil.