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Electronics beginner: An FAQ for newbies

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Electronics Beginners F.A.Q.

Started in 2008 by Mikebits
Revised in 2015 by JimB

To discuss this new version of the FAQ, go here:

So, you have suddenly been bitten by the urge to push electrons across a semiconductor.
You are new to electronics, just starting out, and not sure how to get started?
Well this post may be a good starting point :)

Q1: I don’t know anything about electronics, where should I start looking?
A: The internet is a massive compendium of information pertaining to electronics.
This entire section could take up pages and pages to list all the resources available on line, but just to get you going,
here are a few links to some electronic websites.







has many tutorials on various aspects of electronics and many projects for you to build.

Finally, do not forget the Articles and Tools section here on ETO:



Q2: Okay, I know what a resistor and capacitor are, but what is that circle thing with an arrow in it?
A: http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/symbol.htm shows what those symbols mean.

Q3: Hey this looks fun, I am ready to get started, but where do I get all those parts?
A: There are many places for obtaining parts to fill up your junk box. A few are listed below but there are many more easily found through an Internet search.

Main website www.digikey.com/

Digi-Key UK http://uk.digikey.com/

Digi-Key Canada http://ca.digikey.com/

Digi-Key Germany http://de.digikey.com/

Digi-Key Denmark http://dk.digikey.com

Digi-Key International (This one contains all above links amongst Digi-Key locations.

Farnell: http://www.farnell.com/

RS Components: http://uk.rs-online.com/web/

Newark: http://www.newark.com/

Jameco: www.jameco.com/

Mouser Electronics: http://www.mouser.com/

ESR Electronic Components: https://www.esr.co.uk/

Q4: I have a part, but I am not sure what all the pins do. How can I find out?
A: You need a data sheet for your part.

Q5: What’s a data sheet and where can I get one?
A: A data sheet lists all parameters of an electronic part such as, min max current ratings, voltage ratings, etc.
The data sheet also provides pin out information such as power, ground, inputs, and outputs.

To find data sheets, try an internet search, www.google.com/
Just enter your part number as a search parameter and away you go.
Google “<part number> datasheet :filetype PDF” can sometimes be useful.
You can also try these links below.



Q6: I would like to learn about microprocessors. Are there any tutorials out there?
A: There are. Here are two which will get you started with the PIC series of microcontrollers.


Information in the PIC manufacturers website:
The various PIC types

Supporting documentation and software:
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