The First Step

As soon as everyone else got hold of their starter projects I knew that I was surrounded by students that were serious about engineering. It wasn’t until I held mine that I became very discouraged. It seemed that everyone in that room but me already knew what to do. While everyone else began to build, I tried to get familiar with the parts of my voice changer kit. I didn’t just want to know how to build one. I wanted to know how it worked. Every time I came across a part I had never seen I would ask one of the instructors if they could tell me its purpose.

First I learned the basics of a PCB and its silkscreen. Then I learned about each of the other parts: the resistors, capacitors, diodes, and the microchip. Once the parts were placed I soldered them onto the board and my project was finished. I turned the voice changer on and heard an irritating screech. The problem was due to feedback. The microphone was too close to the speaker. In order to get rid of the screech I filled a box with packing peanuts and wrapped the wire connecting the speaker to the board around the box. Now the speaker was on one side and the microphone on the other and the feedback died down significantly.

As I completed my first project I felt good about myself. I lost the fear of looking ignorant for not knowing everything and I became a better engineer for it.

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