Your first venture(s) into electronics and/or computers/microcontrollers

Just curious when and how you started.

My first venture into electronics was with a Philips Electronics kit 1003 (about 50 years ago, I was in my early teens if I recall correctly).

I did build my first 'computer' based on 1802 Cosmicos – Retro Computing in the early 80s.

I however wire-wrapped it and used some 8x8kBit (or 2x8K) memory. Did add some extensions but never got to an eprom or cassette player extension. So every time I played with it, it was binary data input again :frowning:

Images from http://retro.hansotten.nl

My older brother had the Phillips kit with the spring breadboard, but wasn’t really into electronics - I so wanted that kit!

(The AM radio used to squeal if you touched the coil)

Most of my early electrical experiments were with old telephone relays and selectors salvaged by my grandad from Strowger exchanges, used to automate sections of our model railway.

Made a long wire antenna radio, used a Gillette blue razor blade as the rectifier.

Ha! That’s exactly the piezo earpiece that came with the Phillips kit.

How does a metal razorblade act as a rectifier?

What kind of station(s) do you pick up?

Boy this brings back memories. These were called “Fox hole radios” invented back in the war.

My uncle introduced it to me back then, he was in the war.

You could get AM radio stations.


“ One common type was made from an oxidized razor blade (rusty or flamed) with a pencil lead pressed against the blade with a safety pin. The oxide layer on the blade and the point contact of the pencil lead form a semiconductor Schottky diode . . .”

Who would have guessed :o

I’ve seen a lump of coke (the black crunchy stuff, not the white powder) and a bent paper clip used as a rectifier in a crystal set.

My first electronic project was a 2 transistor AM radio that I built in Science class in high school around 1966. But I really hooked when I discovered digital electronics in the early '70s. Big thanks to Don Lancaster author of the TTL Cookbook.

My dad introduced me to Alfred Morgan's "A Boy's First Book of Radio and Electronics" in the late 60's. My first project was this radio from that book:
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I still have the spool of magnet wire...

Dave (packrat) Evans

PS: Wiki says..."Morgan had four sons, which is why his books were originally written for boys, but editions from the 1970s were edited for boys and girls."

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I had a Radio Shack type kit in 1967 or 1968 with the spring terminals and some basic lights & stuff, that's how my Dad got me started in electronics.

I don't remember what they were part of but my Dad got me a kit with the crystal AM radio and there was also a DC motor experiment in there somewhere.

Sorta like this.

The Erector Set is still in the crawlspace.

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