Circuit Makers

Electronics Club, part of Lancing’s Co-curricular Programme, started up just under five years ago when some students from the Fourth Form approached me wanting to learn some electronics.

We hunted around in the Physics Department and found some old logic gate chips and transistors, so we started with them. We moved on to operational amplifier circuits, counting circuits and anything that could make sequences of flashing lights.

The club has grown from these early grass roots into three separate activities. Third Form students build a colour-changing night light as a two-week project as part of their Co-curricular Carousel. Fourth Form students get to grips with resistor colour code, breadboarding, interpreting circuit diagrams and building circuits developed around logic gates, transistors and 555 timers. The Fifth Form can move onto programmable electronics; we use Arduino as the basis as there are huge numbers of projects to draw on in many open forums. The Club is well subscribed and great fun, I have learned a huge amount at the same time as the students and we push new boundaries every year.
Damian Collins, Science Coordinator (Physics)

I have been attending the Electronics Club for almost 10 weeks now and already I feel I have learnt a lot from it. So far, we have mainly done work on breadboards, such as learning how to integrate thermistors, light dependent resistors and transistors, along with much more. I joined the Club as I have always liked science, specifically electronics, and I have found the sessions very enjoyable. This term we have worked on breadboards and learnt how to use them – which means transforming what at first might seem a confusing jumble of wires into something that you could not only understand, but also change depending on the task. We began to look at 555 timer circuits which we used to control the brightness of LEDs and more. We then looked at the theory behind components such as transistors and how a 555 timer circuit works, which allowed us to create our own circuits. Finally, we have worked with transistors which enable us to control, for example, the speed of a motor or the brightness of an LED. I have really enjoyed the Club this term and I hope to continue in the future.
Hugo D, Fourth Form

In the Fifth Form Electronics Club we have been working on an Arduino project we have named SensoBot. The model robot has two echo locators for the eyes, a buzzer for the nose and an LCD screen on its body. In one of my earlier codes the bot was programmed to randomly select and display a question from a set. This robot can be programmed to flash its smile with a sequence of colourful lights and can produce an irritating buzzing sound with its nose. To top it all off, the robot has a programmable spinning bow tie attached to a motor.

I have been enjoying the challenge electronics brings, and the relief you feel once the code you have been working on finally functions correctly. I chose this Club initially to find out how electronics work and develop my coding skills. We started by learning how to build simple circuits and use logic gates. We then began using programmable chips; for example, the Arduino nano used in our SensoBots. The skills that I have developed have greatly helped me in my DT Engineering project, as planning out the systems I am using has become much simpler, thanks to Mr Collins’ help.
Kian Z, Fifth Form