Inquiry Project – Pulse Width Modulator

For my inquiry project, I wanted to create a simple electronic circuit, called a Pulse Width Modulator. I’ve always wanted to make one of these little things. It’s sort of my gateway drug to making cool electronic gadgets. One use for this versatile little item is to dim led lights (not the dimmable kind you buy in the store – that’s no fun). I’d be able to use this with led lights that I use in my photography. The only experience I have that will lend itself to this project is that I know how to solder.

Here is a log of my learning journey. I’ll include some final thoughts at the end.




Want to see it in action? Here’s a small video demonstration.

Pulse Width Modulator Circuit from Michael Roberts on Vimeo.


This project ended in me successfully building a pulse width modulator, but even if I hadn’t gotten it to work, I still would have considered the assignment a success because I was able to experience a real life learning experience. During this assignment, I was constantly aware of my feelings about the experience and conscious of how a student may feel, given the same assignment. That was only possible because I had to learn something that was outside of my area of expertise – that which I’m already qualified to teach. In our teaching careers, it’s not often that we get to recall what it’s like to learn something new.


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