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Beginner Electronics - Where to start?

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Polardude

New Member
Hello Everyone,

I looked high and low using google, trying to sift through tons of data and products. Every minute passed by, leaving me more and more confused.
Then, viola, I found an friend, a popular forum for electronics....

Thank you!!!!

Anyways, apart from my rant, I am planning on venturing into electronics and as a result from learning, I would like to create a prototype microcontroller project to act as an interface buffer between a PLC and a custom-made program on the PC via USB, (if possible). Otherwise, I would use serial.

I know there is DAQ's and other products I could use, but, I just wanted go through a learning experience and create something of my own. On top of that, I am planning on doing other projects as well.

From the information I have gathered from different sources, I am prepared to take on such a challenging task of this scale.

Now, on to my questions, shall we? I was wondering what book would you recommend that I read to learn about basic electronics and circuit design? I am currently in my 4th and final year of industrial robotics in high school and planning on majoring in electrical engineering in college. So, I have a basic, but limited knowledge of "electricity," NOT electronics.

Another question, where can I find samples of microcontrollers to save costs? I am mainly looking into Microchip's PIC Series.

Lastly and a possible loaded question, what PIC would you recommend to start with that has USB support?

ALOT of thanks.... :D

Polardude
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Polardude said:
Lastly and a possible loaded question, what PIC would you recommend to start with that has USB support?

The 16C745 has USB support, but it's an OTP chip, so you would need to buy an expensive UV eraseable one (they no longer appear to give UV chips as samples). Also, USB is greatly more complicated (at both ends) than serial port programming, initially you would be well advised to consult the 16C745 datasheet and application notes. The new PicKit1 USB programmer uses this chip, and you can download all the source code and circuits from MicroChip - again, this would be well worth consulting.
 

Exo

Active Member
Also consider a simpler alternative. USB Uarts. These chips work as a bridge between RS232 and USB. So one side of the chip connects to the PC's USB, the other side with a Pic's uart. These chips come with virtual com port drivers so, from the pc side of things, the usb connection looks (and can be programmed) as a normal com port.

The FT232BM is such a chip.Here is some info about it. But search a bit on google, there are other, similar chips out there.
 

ukeee

New Member
Good news you can actually get free samples directly from microchip!! www.microchip.com they are pretty generous up to 5 unique chips and you are allowed three of each chip. I would reccomend The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill as a good general introduction, they try to approach it from a non-mathematical view making it good for people just starting electronics, another good book that I use is Microelectronics by Jacob Millman, its very heavy on the maths but is very detailed. If your doing an electronics degree i think you'll find both these books usefull
 
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