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Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

  • Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Background of Members Here

For The Popcorn

Active Member
I don't think my background to all the unique compared to members here. As a kid, I would take things apart (and maybe even put them back together) to see how they worked. Electronics was a hobby, and various electronics magazines were common. The day a new Radio Shack catalog arrived was an exciting day, looking at all the new things, and all the stuff I had to have.

As I got older, soldering irons and voltmeters were always close at hand, and stops mandatory at any electronics store or surplus store I passed by. Always more things to take apart and understand. Finding a Ledex switch in a piece of surplus military gear was a treat... especially when I figured out how the reset contact worked and you could automatically rotate it back to the beginning. All of these bits and pieces of knowledge learned have been important in my career and hobbies.

I am surprised by two kinds of people here.

The first are college kids. Some are asking for ideas for design projects. They seem to have zero background or experience, and no inkling of any project they have an interest in or any passion about (believe me, design projects are hard enough if you have some passion about it). The other group of kids make posts like "I have to do this microcontroller project, but my instructor didn't teach me anything about it." I guess these kids selected engineering as a major based on what it pays or something, with little knowledge about what engineers actually do.

The other people I wonder about are "professionals" working in the field that have no general knowledge in the field at all. Apparently have never opened an instrument up, plugged a circuit board into a finger connector, unplugged a standard dual-row header connector and are mystified by things I've known since I was a kid.

So, I guess I'm wondering if most people here are the generally inquisitive type, who take things apart to see how they work, fix LED light bulbs to see how they work and because they can. I don't think I'm too unique in that way, or too eccentric
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
No, I think most people with Electronics as a hobby come in your category.

I'm completely staggered by people with no knowledge, and no interest, going to University and taking Electronics?.

I've mentioned before a friend of my daughters did exactly that, at the same University where she did Chemistry - he was so busy, she never saw him for almost three years - when she did, he wasn't busy any more because he'd quit, just a few weeks from his final exams.

We're currently looking for a young person to take on as an apprentice, but we want someone who's built things, can understand things, and can read a circuit diagram. Two simple tests you can do - ask them what ohms law is, and throw them a resistor and ask them what value it is :D
 

For The Popcorn

Active Member
As long as it's not one of the resistors with the blue body! Those are impossible to read.
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
As long as it's not one of the resistors with the blue body! Those are impossible to read.
Shhh.. don't tell everyone - that's all we use!
The only non-blue ones in my prototyping box are values that rarely get used, most from bulk stock now over 20 year old (the green body ones).

Resistor_box.jpg
 

Dick Cappels

Active Member
What always amazed me was the number of engineers who could deal with a "standard" circuit but could not add any creative touches of their own because they didn't how the bits work together or didn't know the formula.

During one memorable interview of a very sharp engineer who had just designed one of the first Bluetooth chips, in answer to my question to see whether he had a certain concept under his belt stared at the wall for a while and said "I really wish I had my computer here."

This guy was clearly in it for the money and excitement, but had no curiosity about how circuits actually worked.
 
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For The Popcorn

Active Member
Part of the question is what path you took to get here if you've had higher education.

Hobbies/interests ---> higher education ---> career path

Or

Higher education ---> career path.


If the path was the second, how did you choose this path. If hobbies and interests weren't a factor, what was? Money, thought it was the easiest path, wanted to meet girls?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
About 50 years ago I told everyone that when my eyes are too old to read the color code I will retire.

Reading old style resistors (5%, 10% or 20%) is no problem whatsoever, but modern 1%, 2% and 0.5% resistors give you no clue as to which end to start, and the colours are so poorly printed that it's impossible to distinguish between many of the colours.

The common use of a bluish background only makes it worse as well.

Interesting picture though - you claim you'll retire when you can no longer read colour codes, yet show a picture of a resistor that doesn't use a colour code at all? :D
 

For The Popcorn

Active Member
LOL, if anyone choose electronics or engineering as a school path to meet girls, they were probably disappointed. Although I did go to school with some female engineers who have done extremely well, in very senior and management positions.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I too had electronics/finding things out etc as a schoolboy hobby. I listened to the first moon landing on a crystal set I'd built. I was 10 at the time. I trained as an electrical/mechanical engineer and became a draughtsman designing H.V. switchgear (6.6kV to 25kV). I wrote a few games in my spare time (second of which bought me a new car) and was told I was a fool for going to work full time as a games programmer. It's a fad they said, you'll be unemployed in two years etc. Forty years later the games industry is now worth more than the film industry. Funny old world.

Mike.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
LOL, if anyone choose electronics or engineering as a school path to meet girls, they were probably disappointed. Although I did go to school with some female engineers who have done extremely well, in very senior and management positions.

There used to be a yearly Sharp Electronics service competion in the UK (I won the TV/VCR section twice), and they had a separate early rounds section for women - and every year Estelle Sanford made the TV/VCR final, and a lady called Betty made the Microwave Oven final (her and her husband - who was also there - ran a Microwave Oven servicing company). The final was the first time you all got together, and I never saw any women other than those two in the final.

Where as the male finalists varied slightly from year to year, occasionally I didn't actually make the final, but Estelle and Betty always did - I always suspected they were the only female engineers involved in Sharp Service :D
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
There are no color codes to read. I cannot test my eyes.
Cannot remember the last time I ordered a through hold resistor. Maybe 25 years ago.

That's all right if you have a robot production line, small scale production by hand is far too time consuming and expensive with SM components - so it's through-hole everywhere I can - although of course, some components are only available in SM. The products I'm currently designing/assembling have only three SM components (at the moment!).
 

Grossel

Well-Known Member
I'm completely staggered by people with no knowledge, and no interest, going to University and taking Electronics?.
When I was taking my bachelor degree (in power grid systems not electronics) a decade ago, all students was forced to take a electronic course, with opamps and filters. From own experience I know that most of those students didn't like that, because they felt that the subject was not relevant for their further studies and career.

That is why they didn't want to spend any more time than strictly necessary in order to accomplish the course. I can only assume this is true for most educational institutions out in the world, and that being a big reason why we can see students with homework, and doesn't seem to care on anything but getting a ready, double underlined answer.
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
Had electronics as a hobby from the age of 4 (40+ years ago), grew up with electronics as a hobby, studied engineering at college, worked in Tandy (RadioShack) for many years but ended up running my own IT business with (electronics as a sideline) before returning to work full time as an electronics engineer 7 years ago. I now work with some cutting edge automotive stuff and get to see what the general public might not a year or two early.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
When I was taking my bachelor degree (in power grid systems not electronics)

I went to a guys house a couple of years ago, to deliver something - and he was telling me his son does DC power distribution, and that he was very highly paid (and in high demand) as he's one of only two qualified people in the UK to do so.

I asked further, and apparently there are undersea power cables from the Continent to the UK, and these have to be DC because they are under sea water?.
 

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