# Let’s Get…SMALL

A couple weeks ago I introduced y’all to my birthday microscope and asked for suggestions on what else I should examine up close. Alex Caswell suggested a circuit board, which is a great idea.

Let’s get started:

This is (or was) the brains of a small remote control. The damaged area on the right (where the battery used to be) suggests the, ahem, assertive methods needed to open up the case. Look, when there aren’t any screws, there’s no shame in reaching for a hammer, all right?

Now, I don’t know a lot about printed circuits, but I do have Internet access, so I can sound awfully smart. Take this component right here:

According to this reference table, the “C3” on the right means this is a capacitor. Capacitors store energy for later use, which is why you can get shocked fiddling with electronics even when they’re unplugged. “10V” is 10 volts, while “47 μF” is 47 microfarads. “μ” means micro, or one millionth, and F means farad, a unit of capacitance named after physicist Michael Faraday.

Here it is at 60x magnification:

We’ve also got these guys:

The D’s tell us these are diodes. Apparently the function of a diode is to have low resistance to current passing in one direction, but high resistance to current going the other way. So ideally, electricity can only go through a diode in one direction. I won’t expose my ignorance by pretending to understand what they’re used for, exactly.

Here are the electrical pathways themselves, the lines through which electricity actually flows:

And up close:

And now this thing. The “Y1” underneath means it’s an oscillator. Which is important when you need, um, oscillation. Look, don’t judge me. Here are the pictures:

So, that’s a circuit board! And I’ve learned that I need to do a lot more research about circuit boards. I mean, it’s not like I work in IT or anything. It’s not like computers are my entire job. Bwa ha ha.

One last pic before I go. Not from the circuit board this time.

This is a photo of something magnified 200 times.

Anyone care to guess what it is?

### 5 responses to “Let’s Get…SMALL”

1. Zeev

My guess would be some kind of an insect leg or antenna.

2. interesting pics! Now I really kind of want to learn how they work- what makes the magic of a computer happen? It surely must be witchcraft and wizardry. It’s a witch! Burn it!
Too bad I don’t have time right now. Maybe I can learn add that to my projects list.

• “Too bad I don’t have time right now. Maybe I can learn add that to my projects list.”

Boy, do I know that feeling. 🙂 If I had a hundred lifetimes, then *maybe* I could do about a tenth of what I wish I could do. Anyway, glad you liked the post.

• Anything that allows me to make Monty Python references is fine by me.

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