Introduction To BBox 2 – Integrated Circuits

In this series, we’re going to take a look at BBox2, which introduces integrated circuits.

BBox 2

BBox 2 consists of a couple of things.

BBox 2 contents

We have the pages which contain the schematic along with the circuit description. The 20 individual kits along with the audio blobs.

BBox 2 contents

And finally, we have a box containing all the sensitive components, speakers and some wire.

Before we move on to the projects, let’s talk about integrated circuits. In BBox1, we used discrete components like resistors, capacitors, transistors to build projects. Integrated circuits or ICs are made up of these discrete components, among other building blocks. They are designed to perform certain functions and by using them, we can simplify the circuit building process. ICs have names or part numbers which are used to identify them.

A datasheet helps explain what the IC is capable of doing and also provides the necessary information to use it in circuits.

7805 internal components

Here’s what the internal circuit of the 7805-voltage regulator looks like. As can be seen, it consists of resistors, capacitors, transistors and diodes.

7805 internal components

Here’s what the internal circuit in a 555 timer IC looks like. It too is made up of a complex looking circuit with discrete components.

We can recreate ICs by building these internal circuits with discrete components but it’s much more efficient, reliable and generally cost-effective to use the ICs themselves.

Now that we know a little bit more about ICs, let’s move on to the first project.