1. Experimental Results: Electricity Does Not Travel Instantaneously
This may sound basic... it is. But modern day physics has us so bent up about quantum this and mechanic that... electricians don't know what to think anymore.
Well, I'll tell ya what I learned: A digital circuit is not always a digital circuit... It takes time for the signal to get to the Digital Converter part.
See, a wire is always holding electrons... but the wire has got to go in a circle in order to be a circuit.
Get it? CIRCle, CIRCuit? I wonder what uit means anyway... to me, it means electrons:
A Circuit is a Circle of Dancing Electrons.
The dance starts at the battery.
So, from the battery, one of the ends starts sending out its super happy (charged) electrons and they dance along the wire in their nice pretty wave-form.
2. Experiment: Measure an Analogue Wave
Hook an oscilloscope up to an ordinary circuit and watch the readout: it'll be a simple wave form, shaped like your traditional mathematical Sine Wave.
That's an analogue circuit... The old-school way.
3. The Electron Dance Craze
The new wave, the electron dance craze, is Digital. That just means it's a square wave on the readout... All our computers and such run on the digital waves. The electron dance craze. It's a Square Wave.
4. Experimental History
So what happened in high school, round about the year 2000 or so, was my teacher and I started experimenting. See, he told me a circuit was either digital or analogue. He was just reciting the status quo, you know. He said soon as you hooked it up, it was just automatically a digital circuit.
I said "I don't think so." I said to him that what I'd been learning in Chemistry and what I'd learned wiring up light bulbs the previous year led me to believe otherwise.
So we experimented. He was a great experimenter... A research scientist could ask for no better assistant. He had the time and the equipment. I had the ideas.
I taught him the experiment I was trying to produce: to measure the form of the wave just before it turned digital... I said we had to put the oscilloscope measurer guys in all the Units of the Circuit.
I told him my definition of the Units of the Circuit was anywhere in between the Interesting Pieces of the circuit... See the units were the bits of wire between each resistor, transistor, battery, etc...
So there were a couple of ways to measure that: both in between and around the Interesting Bits.
I said it had to happen fast... I could see a blip on the readout of the analog and then a crazy pattern and then the digital. But it was happening fast... Too fast for me to freeze frame the oscilloscope.
So that's where he came in: The shop teacher, he swooped to the rescue by figuring out the ins-and-outs of that machine: the oscilloscope. I think I sent him to another teacher for assistance, I'm not sure. But them, those crazy teachers, those wily assistants, those unionized miracle workers: They figured it out... They were able to re-run my experiment with the oscilloscope set to take a snapshot right at the beginning.
I remember that glorious day. I hadn't been to school for a while and then the shop teacher showed me the readout. The analogue at the start, then the frizzy... then the digital, unaltered square wave. What a beauty. I wish I had that readout. I hope someone does. I'd like to re-claim it if I can. I'd like to re-do that experiment myself the proper way.
One day I will. For now, I invite you, the reader, to find your own oscilloscope and reproduce the results.