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How do you people do it?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Marks256, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Marks256

    Marks256 New Member

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    I, as you allready know, am a fair newb to electronics. I want to know how you people have learnt all of the things you know. Like, for instance, if i had a circuit that wasn't working, and someone told me to put a capacitor between two pins, then it works perfect; how did you know that? Or if i needed a diode, or a resistor?
    Is there specific books i should read? Please keep in mind, my local library sucks(no books on electronics, just girly crap). I could always head to Barnes & Noble, but they are kinda spendy, so i can't waist my money on something that might not help. I really really want to learn this stuff. By stuff, i mean digital electronics. Thank you.
     
  2. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    It's something you only get from trial and error, and learning a few things as you go along. It's usually about the non-idealities of the reality unless you botched up the basics of your circuit on paper.

    The capacitor thing is for noise filtering which can cause circuits to misbehave and act erratically.

    If you want to learn, take it when you get to university (if you are not there already or past that stage) and do projects along the way! But it helps to get a good text-book (like buying one) and actually carefully read it while designing and building things in practice. Is there a university library rather than a public one? If you're not in university or don't have a mathy background yet (intermediate calculus level), you want to be careful about the things you read that don't assume that you know certain things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2006
  3. Marks256

    Marks256 New Member

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    A UNIVERSITY COURSE! I can't wait that long! I am 15! I want to learn now. It's not that i want to know it before i need too, its that i want to learn it because i find it interesting.

    Trial and error scares me. I don't have the money to buy crap when i blow something out. I don't even own a multimeter! I do have a really crappy analog one, but not a digital one. I used to have a digital one, but i blew it out. I made a DC to AC converter using DPDT switch, and a very large transformer. I think to multimeter blew out at about 130vac? I was running it off of 9vdc.

    Is there any equiptment i should get ahold of? Besides a mulitmeter? I was thinking a oscilloscope, or a logic analyzer. Probley the analyzer. What types of circuits should i mess with?
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    Get a job? Analog multis are fine a lot of the time. Don't play with main line AC until you've learned more. If you have no money...don't get an oscilloscope (oh yeah, and don't try to build one until you are really really REALLY well versed- they are some of the hardest things to build)...they are expensive and require more knowledge to use than you seem to currently have. Get a soldering iron, and some books and parts instead.

    Perhaps you might want to try hobby robotics or something where a lot of circuits are "prebuilt" for you and you piece them together (plug them into each other). From there you can learn more about the components and start to build your own. That's what I basically from 15 on until I got to university and really started to learn.

    Do you know how to code? like program in a computer language? What parts of electronics interests you? Mine was robotics so I started there...I was never too into the consumer electronics type stuff. You could start with op-amps (signal processing), 555 timers (counters, timers, blinking LEDs and the like), or microcontrollers (other stuff).
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2006
  6. Russlk

    Russlk New Member

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    I suggest you get a book on basic electricity. Radio Shack usually has some beginner's books that are not pricy.
     
  7. Analog

    Analog New Member

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    Keep at it. Learn by doing!
     
  8. Marks256

    Marks256 New Member

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    That will have to wait untill next year. I live too far from town, and i don't have a car(just my learners permit). I am hopping next year my parrents will give me a crappy car. They said they would help get me a junker. But belive me, it is on my to do list!

    I don't plan on it. I have seen some of the innards, ooh!

    I've got 2 soldering irons, and one desoldering iron. I just need new tips for the soldering irons. Most likely get some from Jameco.

    I will get all my parts from jameco, but i don't know where to get the books. I will surf ebay. Should i just grab a bunch of digital electronics books?

    I purchased a BOE-BOT a few weeks ago. I will play with it somemore when i get a chance.

    Oh, you better belive it. I know QBasic like the back of my hand. I am very proud of it too. I have made some very usefull programms in it. I don't mean to brag, but man, i am good at QB!
    I started VB a few months ago, but i decided to go down the electronics road instead. However, i do know enough VB to make programs for Windows that are somewhat usefull.
    I tried C/C++, but i hated the code structure.
    I am now learning assembly. So far i love it. It is so fun!
    I also know alittle PICBasic. I use it for my two basic stamps.

    If i had to pick, i would say Digital Computing. I love computers. From software to hardware.


    Ok. I have about $50usc right now. What stuff should i get first? IC's? Tools? What?
     
  9. Jack Luminous

    Jack Luminous Member

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  10. srimannarayanakarthik

    srimannarayanakarthik New Member

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    ill sugest u not to try any circuit without testing it.if there is the short ciruit,you wil unnecessalirly blow the whole circuil.instead use circuit maker software and 1st check whether that circuit is gonna give u the desired output.
    according to me the more u fail,the more u learn. i too started electronics a couple of months ago and learnt a lot by trail and error. thats the best method to learn. because u are not only learning what to do. u are learning what is not to be done.
    also i appreciate your zeal to learn electronics at the age of 15
     
  11. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I learned a lot about electronics from electronics magazines at the library then later I subscribed to some. Most of the magazines are gone now.
     
  12. RadioRon

    RadioRon Well-Known Member

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  13. akg

    akg New Member

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    besides the things you already have , get a couple of good breadboards, then BUILD a variable stabilized powersupply of altleast 2A/ +-15V , have a collection of resistors/caps/general purpose transistor/555/741/tl071 or 72/74 /LEDs etc (no probelm you'll acquire these on due course ) .Download the free LTSpice circuit simulator . Then try building some simple ckts like astable multivibrator with transistor and 555 , oscillators with op-amps (in simulator and then in breadboard). while building each ckt check there theory of operations and the components role . then check what if some components are missing/faulty . (you may destroy some components in due course - don't worry , you have learned that :) ) . these will give you the initial confidence of debugging . and don't forget , your mind is the most powerful and most valueable tool , that can do what other instruments can't .. THINKING. use that extensively .
    .....
    welcome to the world of electronics.
     
  14. Oznog

    Oznog Active Member

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    Well you seem to have the initiative and probably the smarts.
    So I'd recommend you just find out what the current textbook is for Intro To Electronics at colleges and look it up on eBay. That doesn't expect a lot of experience so I think you could get it.

    eBay has a LOT of paperback versions of advanced college textbooks that are cheap because they were an export-only version, like to India, where they won't pay $100 for a textbook. Get it for like $20. Same damn book.

    My 101 book was "Electric Circuits", James W. Nilsson. That was like 15 yrs ago, I'm sure they have another book now, but then again basic electronics haven't really changed since then either. It was a great intro book.
     
  15. Someone Electro

    Someone Electro New Member

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    Yep buy componets and a breadboard and start experementing.

    Even when you blown a component you learned somthing,becuse you will remember not to do this to a component.

    I lots of times simulate my circuits before building them,becuse in a simulation if a compoment blows no big deal.And somtimes to tweak cirucits,since i just have a multimeter
     
  16. BeeBop

    BeeBop Active Member

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    Hey Marks,
    I didn't realize you were so young. I'm glad you found the path of electronics when you did.
    Try to find any booklet by Forrest Mims. They are a great introduction to electronics, and very cheap, if you can find them. You may even find copies of some of them on the net. If I recall, they were called 'Engineer's Mini Note Book,' or something like that. He also had a larger coil bound 'Intro to Electronics,' which, was very inexpensive. These were all sold by Radio Shack at one time.
    Also if you can get a hold of "The Art of Electronics," by Horowitz and Hill, I think you will find that quite easy to chew on too.
    The suggestion to get a bread board and some simple components is a good one, but you probably already have that.
    Doesn't your high school have an electronics program, or don't you get something in shop class? When I was your age, I got to do the top kit in the school. It was a Heathkit Function Generator. It took me quite a while, as it was a really good kit. I got to spend the rest of the year showing the other boys how it worked, on the oscilloscope. What a great year that was! Anyway, if there isn't some kind of program in your high school, you should speak up about it to the Principal.
    Best wishes,
    Robert

    Edit: A project will also give focus to your learning. Find yourself something to do. Perhaps a PIC programmed in assembly, with some peripheral chips, and thermistor, or something which uses an op amp?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2006
  17. RODALCO

    RODALCO Well-Known Member

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    Great Marks256, that you are keen on making electronics your hobby or perhaps later your job.

    Read, read, read and start builing simple circuits like a two transistor flip flop with leds and see how it works.
    Run it of a low voltage powersupply or battery to keep it safe and experiment by swapping parts around, like the caps, and resistors and see what happens.

    Magazines are a great source of information like Silicon Chip (Australian) and Elektor (European), not sure what you can get in your part of the world and small projects books like the 300 series from elektor.
    I like reading topics like The Service man in where equipment faults in TV's, VCR's, Stereo's, Microwaves etc are discussed.

    Basically if something is defect, start with checking from the power source, transformer, rectifier, filter caps, fuses and work you way down the circuit.
    Look for obvious signs of burning, discoloured parts and smell of something has fried itself.
    check electrolitic caps, semieconductors like transistors, zeners, regulators etc.
    A digital multimeter with the diode option is very valuable here and you can do some in circuit testing, although it's better to take parts out of the circuit.
    I wrote perhaps to much for now but as a newcomer in the field you learn a lot as you go and of course sometimes something will blow up, we have all done it, put a diode in the wrong way or put AC on something which requires DC, so what.

    Safety !! Be carefull with the mains 110 or 230 Volts. It will kill you.
    Also, always take the plug out of the appliance you are working on !!
    Ensure that capacitors are discharged, especially near the powersupply, which can give you a nasty bite 155 Volts dc or 325 Volts dc.
    TV's, be carefull with the HV caps and the lead which goes to the tube.

    It is also quite handy to make a schematic of the tracks and draw the parts in as you go and note down where certain wires go before you disconnect them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2006
  18. oldtimer

    oldtimer New Member

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    There is only one way to learn and that's by starting from basics,don't jump around and get ahead of yourself. Join a club,perhaps a ham radio or similar where you'll be among people of similar interests. There are books to be had at public libraries which are on sale for $1, I know of one in Florida which may help. Contact you own public library and tell them you wish to buy some books which they've discontinued.,usualy the libraries attached to colleges.
     
  19. Marks256

    Marks256 New Member

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    Thank you!

    I am actually thinking of getting a few from ebay tonight.

    How would i do that? Regulators? Does "Variable" mean that it can be any voltage you specify? Sounds complicated! I will give it a go, though.

    I will surf ebay tonight. Try to mooch a little money from my parrents.

    Yep. I will get a crap load of resistors, capacitors, and a few transistors.

    NO! This is what pisses me off most! My school spends more money on sports than on technology! I did talk to the principal about getting an electroncis course, this is what he said; "No. That won't work, because of the lack of teachers, and the lack of interest from the students". He said the same thing about a programming class.
    This is why i want, no, this i why i NEED to learn on my own.

    Yes, i do want to go in the line of work that has to do with electronics. I was thinking a Computer Engineer, or something similar.

    (Start edit)

    I can't. My library sucks. I have tried to get the lazy jerks at the library to look up a book for me, and they wouldn't. They claim they will order books, but they don't. If i get a chance i will head to the Rochester Public Library(it is a HUGE library, about 20miles from our house). I know they have good things there.

    (End edit)


    As many of you mentioned/suggested, i should get a schematics program/simulator. I have searched as much as i could, but could not find any that were worthy of my time. Does anyone know of a schematics program? And/or a simulator? Hopefully freeware? I don't care if it is DOS, or Windows based.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2006
  20. HarveyH42

    HarveyH42 Banned

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    There are many sites on the internet with basic electronics type content. You can find many project oriented websites, that take you through, in great detail what parts do what, and give suggestions on making modifications. Kits are a great starting point, some come with excellent documentation, and explain the function of the circuit.

    For circuit design and simulation I use LiveWire. It's pretty good for basic stuff, not very expensive $80 for the student version.
     
  21. Overclocked

    Overclocked Member

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    It first started with books I got at radioshack, then I went to a Techschool(instead of a regular highschool) and majored in Electronics. I also used the web as a resource to answer any questions I had. I usualy did research on my own, and if I was doubtful, I would find a forum.

    Im at college, and they have a pretty big library that has alot of info on ANYTHING about electronics. However, the local Public library kinda sucks.
     

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