Creating electronics


Circuit boards have always fascinated me. Mainly because I have no clue how they work.

Sure, I can assemble a PC, but that’s really just 3rd party work- plugging that SATA cable into a slot REALLY takes an MIT education!

What I’m trying to get is how a computer, even something as simple as a vex robot, works. I know that capacitors store either a 1 or 0 based on if it contains electricity or not. I don’t get how a GPU interprets those numbers and sends data to a monitor to interpret as light.

So, what I’d like to ask is how certain parts work, how they’re made, and how (if possible) to make them yourself. I know that some of you have made your own bots of of a circuit board and a CPU.

How does a processor work? How do you know how to solder it on a board? What allows it to handle processes? What miniature parts go into it?

How do you array a motherboard? How do you make/get a PCB? How do you know how to align the circuits on the board? Do you need a Mobo printer?

How does a graphic card work? Is it pretty similar to a mini-computer in itself? Is a GPU simply a graphic specific CPU?

How can you possibly make BIOS chips? How do you preload information onto a small chip and know what information you’re putting on it? Does another PC make it? How was the first PC’s made?

How does flash memory/RAM work? Is it again nanoscopic capacitors being charged or uncharged to represent bits?

I know these are pretty intense circuitry questions. My knowledge of circuitry is limited to wiring a bulb into parallel with another, I barely know anything.

I don’t believe the PC builder deserves respect. I believe the person who made the motherboard, who made the graphics card, deserves respect. I believe the person who actually made the GPU or CPU in that mobo/graphics card deserves the UTMOST respect.

Any references, wether in print or on the net, are appreciated. I want to be guided into the direction of circuitry and how it actually works, rather than just using the “3rd party” end of putting a card into a slot. The fact that a PC works is an absolute phenomenon.

Well… At least you did not ask us to explain How Women Work

Give us a few days to get the necessary references together…

I have been working with computer for 27 years, and I still don’t know some of the Specifies you asked… :wink:

I’m pretty sure very few users of this forum know how women work, I’m guessing there’s a higher chance that somebody will at least know how to solder a microprocessor to a circuit board :wink:

I’m just sick of people complimenting me for something that could be done by a mentally ill child with the proper training. Building a PC is simply placing stuff into slots. I don’t like taking credit for something I know that anyone could do. Well, anyone who has the ability to move.

I want to learn the real work behind it, why it works, and how a combination of 400 microscopic pieces of metal with electrical values in them can form a realistic picture representation of an explosion (cough Crysis cough) on my monitor.

First off “capacitors store either a 1 or 0” is wrong it’s stored in a transistor. Try Goggling “basic electronics”. As for how the parts are made, a lot of them are made by robots!

On how dynamic memory works you both have it partialy right.
The capacitor stores a charge level which equates to 1 or 0.
The transistor lets us read and set this value.

Checkout this article from “howstuffworks”

bloodsheddragon alot of your questions can be answered by searching the “howstuffworks” and similar websites.

k, thanks brent.

when I searched for how a motherboard was made, all I got was how they’re assembled, I was more curious how they were designed.

Wow, howstuffworks is really nice.

That’s exactly what I wanted to know… And by the way, is the pulse of a PWM cable positive or negative?

It is both, Part of the signal is high (Positive) and part of the signal is low (Negative).

Well, another question popped up into my head today after giving my dad a blu-ray player for Father’s Day-


How could the technology in a wire cost so much! Sure, it’s able to send a signal for HD pictures, but it can’t possibly cost that much… or can it?

Sometimes the connectors are gold plated and the wire is made of high quality materials.


Well, it can send an HD signal and digital sound output at the same time, you have to give it some credit.

I know that real laser pointers have ruby rods and silver lining in them…

Why is silver based solder so cheap then?

HDMI cables are mostly expensive because the makers can get the money. Over time, prices will fall to levels that would be surprising today. EDITED: I just Googled “6-foot hdmi cable” and found prices from $5 to $60. It can pay to shop around.

Laser pointers use solid-state laser diodes, not flash-pumped ruby lasers.

Silver solder is “cheap” because it is a tin-silver-copper-bismuth alloy, and doesn’t use much silver. If you look closely, silver solder retails for $50-60 a pound or so – not really so cheap (this depends a lot on the particular mix of materials, your mileage may vary). You can buy a pound of lead-tin solder for under $20.

HDMI cables used to be around $100. Good thing we didn’t have an HDTV then.

I just realized that Comcast gave us our cable box with an HDMI cable for free. I wonder if I could stock up… :stuck_out_tongue:

The ruby laser I was talking about, which I guess isn’t a laser pointer, was around $400. It was an UV laser.

And just curious, when would you need a pound of solder? But your values do help to compare the price of silver vs. lead.