How does Frank work?

1. Circuit board

The green thingy you've gotten in your kit is called a circuit board.

Professionals call this a printed circuit board or PCB.

A PCB is a laminated sandwich structure of conductive and insulating layers.

What does it do? 

Your circuit board has two functions:
  1. It holds all the electronic components in place
  2. It provides electrical connections between the electronic components.
Because of the circuit board, all electronic components can work together as a team.

What are those tiny lines on my circuit board?

They allow electrical charges to flow between components. This way, electronic components are powered, and they can do clever stuff using electricity. 

What is my circuit board made of?

Circuit boards are usually made out of fiberglass-reinforced epoxy-laminated sheets.

These are also referred to as “FR4” sheets.

The FR4 sheets are used as the insulating non-conductive material, and copper is used as a conductive material.

If material is conductive, it conducts electricity; electrical charge can flow through that material easily.

FR4 and copper are both sandwiched together in thin sheets, and that’s how you get a circuit board.

Where are PCBs used?

They’re used everywhere! 

In your phone, in your laptop, in your refrigerator, air conditioner. Basically, every electronic device you use has a unique printed circuit board that makes it work. 

Did you know? 

A PCB is one of the most important inventions of the last 100 years.

Space travel wouldn’t be possible without them.

PCBs were invented by Paul Eisler.

He invented it in the 1930s, but the predecessors of modern-day PCBs have been around since the age of gramophones and vacuum tube radios, just in a somewhat different form.

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2. Electric motor

An electric motor is an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

Its purpose is to generate linear or rotary force (torque) intended to drive external mechanisms, such as a fan or an elevator.

It is designed for continuous rotation or for linear movement over a significant distance. 

Comprising of four key components, the electric motor consists of the rotor (the moving part) and the stator (the stationary part), along with the armature and commutator as its electrical elements.

3. Batteries 

A battery is a source of electric power consisting of electrochemical cells.

Every battery stores chemicals. These chemicals cause chemical reactions and generate electrical energy.

Volts are the units used to describe electrical voltage.

You will see the number of volts written on almost every battery as it’s one of the
most important pieces of information about the battery. 

Voltage is a type of “pressure” that drives charge through an electrical circuit.

Different electronic devices have different batteries with different voltages.

For example, a mobile phone has a battery of 3.7 volts, and a car has a battery with a voltage of 12 volts. 

4. Switch

The switch you got in your kit helps you turn Frank on and off. You can easily do so with one simple push.

A switch controls the flow of power to an electric device - in other words, it connects and disconnects an electrical circuit.

Switches are used in almost every electronic device. They are found in your mobile phone, computer, air conditioner, etc.

Historical fun fact:
An electrical switch was invented in 1884 by John Henry Holmes, who used it
for turning lights on and off.

5. LEDs

LED stands for light-emitting diodes.
LEDs convert electrical energy into visible light.

This is an electronic symbol for a light-emitting diode: 

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Resistors and LEDs make a great team!

LEDs can be damaged if they receive too much energy.

Oh no! 
The coin cell battery supplied with your Frank is too much for the poor little LEDs.

But don't worry, we sent resistors to the rescue!

Resistors will limit the amount of electrical energy flowing through the circuit and save your LEDs from getting damaged.

Did you know? 

LED lightbulbs are the most efficient type of lightbulbs.
Unlike “regular” “old”  bulbs (we call these incandescent lightbulbs), which release 90% of their energy as heat, LEDs use energy far more efficiently with very little wasted heat.