This week I was delighted by the arrival of my first-ever Printed Circuit Boards [PCBs]. I will be using these with my IB physics class. The recent revision of the curriculum requires that students understand the functioning of a diode rectifier. I think it’s a great opportunity to teach some soldering skills, so I designed a little circuit board the students could assemble, and then use for a bit of lab work.
The circuit board is at the bottom of the above picture. As you can see, the layout is spacious so that sloppy soldering won’t ruin everything. I also included through-holes so that a capacitor and a resistor can be added, in case we want to use a power supply with a bit of bite. However, I think I’ll stick with the hand-cranked generator, in the picture above, which delivers AC up (and down) to about 10 Volts.
I am using a Vernier voltage probe to monitor the electric potential. You can see the voltage plotted against time (for 30 seconds) on the computer screen above. Below is the same set-up, but using the diode rectifier. Yahoo, it works!