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How We All Got Here

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MOSFET KILLER

New Member
How many of you have been electronics enthuasts from an early age, I have noticed that there is nobody within 1000 km of me that gives a rats a** about it. I owe most of my knowledge to learning electronics from the internet and forums like this. I am in grade 10 and here is the only place where I can mention electronics without getting some really strange looks :D. Anyway, enough about my problems, lets discuss how we all became electronics enthuasts.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
I've always had a very deep fascination with anything related to electricity, electronics, and practical sciences in general. A lot of these forums and material weren't available when I was your age, the Internet was still in it's infancy then. For many varied reasons I didn't really end up grinding into the information on the net until I was about 20 years old. I'm 31 one now.

As it's just a hobby for me I don't much mention it to other people because quiet honestly mostly people don't even have the vaguest clue what I'm talking about, nor could I practically explain it to them, I'm working on that a bit though =)

Don't let that make you an outsider though, just try to find ways you can socialize with electronics. Not easy but you just have to find some way to make what you're doing interesting to other people. Also don't let it limit your interests, Intentionally try to include others in what you're doing and intentionally include yourself in other people's interest is very important. To focus too much on one particular thing is not a good idea, keep your interests varied, even if your core interest never changes.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
At the age of 12 years I was interested in model railways and knew just enough about electrics to understand the simple rheostat based speed controllers.
One day I found an old TV chassis which had several "rheostats" on it.
I had a great idea that these could be used as speed controllers for the model trains.
Wrong!

The variable potentiometers in the TV chassis were 100k, 500k, 1M ohm, when what I really needed was about 10 ohms.
I was rather dissappointed when the bits of the TV did very little apart from run the train at full speed or smoke!

From there the spark was set to find out what all the other bits in the old TV and radios did (this was in the days of valves, electron tubes for our USA readers).

From there blossomed a hobby and career which has lasted for the best part of 50 years.

JimB
 

MOSFET KILLER

New Member
Ya, I remember when I was five years old and me and my dad took apart a VCR together, my mom came in and asked me what a part was and I told her " It's a heatsink mommy". Ever since as long as I remember I have had a fascination with anything technical.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
I didn't sit down with my father like that but my parents encouraged me taking things apart, anything old mechanical or electrical I loved taking apart seeing how things worked inside.

Stuck a paperclip in an electrical sockets once when I was a wee lad, had no idea how much power there was in there after something like that you never forget either. I knew some real basics but it just never took root full for me to learn anything till I quit smoking, and suddenly had a LOT of free time on my hands. Learned the basics about discrete passive components, struggled (still do) with transistor operation. I'm not great with the math, but getting better, didn't have much of an education to start with, pretty much self taught.
 

MOSFET KILLER

New Member
Transistors drive me nuts too:D.
When I was younger my mom was always afraid that I would hurt myself, my dad bought me my first soldering iron when I was 10. My most memorable electric shock was when I was messing around with an old camera flash, I touched one of the capacitor wires and I jumped 5 feet in the air, I went crying to my parents and my dad tested the capacitor voltage, it was 380 volts.
 
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trennonix

New Member
For me it all started at the age of 6 on christmas. I remember we were putting some lights, and some fell from the wire holding them. My father taught to me how to connect it to a 9 volts battery. I spent the whole night (till 8pm ;) ) lighing it; I was fascinated by it.

Since then it've been taking all sorts of things apart, from old TVs to RC cars.
As for my knowledge, i got it from old electronics books dating from the 80's that my father had.
My parents didn't get me an internet connection until a year ago because they were afraid that it would mess me up.
I learned how to program while hanging at the internet cafe!
But I do owe a big part of my knowledge to the internet.

and Mosfet Killer, i also feel your pain since in my school there's not one person that has any idea of what a transistor is :(

that's it for sharing my experience with you :)
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
For me, I started out in the Navy at the age of 17 as a boatswain mate striker, the ship I was on had a need for an Electro tech, my chief asked me if I would like to strike for the ET rate, I said sure, I worked in the OE department for awhile and was then sent to Great lakes Illinois for ET school where I graduated second in my class, and ended up a ET third class. The rest is history. I guess you can call it serendipity.
 

ke5frf

New Member
I didn't really get the electronics bug until I was in my early twenties.
But I had building blocks that started waaaay back before then.

Two things in particular that strike my memory...

First, getting the Commodore Vic-20 computer when I was around 10 years old and saving my money to buy books to learn BASIC program language, which included tons of self-programmable games. The V-20 had a CASSETTE DRIVE for those old enough to remember and games were saved on magnetic tape with an A/D convertor between the cassette player and the serial connection. Yes, it was like a phone modem in principal.

I didn't learn much about electronics then, but I did develop a certain "logic" ability to analyze the program "tree". At the time, I didn't even realize it, or what I was learning. It wasn't until I started reading schematics, especially digital circuits, that I made the connection and it came fairly easy for me.

The next thing I remember at a young age was really a multitude of events that made an impression. In the 70s vacuum tube circuits were still reasonably commonplace, especially with older TV sets, and drug stores had tube checkers. I remember watching my dad take tubes out and go check them at the drug store. My dad knows very little about electronics but this was a common do-it-yourself TV repair procedure.

I also remember being fascinated with the SMELL of old electronics back in those days. Especially anything with tubes. I remember having a neighbor who had an amateur radio station and being fascinated with his "shack".

Another impression made upon me was CB radio, which was quite the craze in the late 70s and early 80s. Almost everyone had them.

And this is where I got the bug. When I was about 19 or 20, some friends of mine decided to get CBs for our cars, long after the craze had subsided but there were still some diehards out there. It was a short-lived thing, but we all got new radios, and I also got into going to garage sales to buy used ones. I found a TON of old CBs for next to nothing and learned how to do some basic repairs and microphone wiring.

This is where I started learning about the components on those wonderful circuit boards. It led me, ultimately, to pursue several professional avenues as well as hobby interests where I learned a lot from classroom as well as self-study.

Having never attended an engineering class in college (my major was art), my education came through the military and technical school with my work. Because much of it has been career specific, I have filled in the gaps with self study. Needless to say, I am not always great at using the exact terminology I should and I have some gaps in my knowledge. But I'm always eager to learn more.
 

gabeNC

Member
I too would take electric toys apart and see how they worked. Anybody remember those "stomper" trucks? They ran on a single AA battery, the toy was about the size of a child's fist. One day I took apart the toy and saw that each side of the battery had a wire that went to a different pole of the DC motor. Found a clipped extension cord, stripped the ends and wired it up then plugged it into the wall.

Sparks, smoke and a blown breaker took out half the lights in the house. I was about 10.

After HS went into the USAF and spent 5 months in electronics school, working telecom digital switches.
 

MOSFET KILLER

New Member
Wow, some excellent stories, too bad I am too young to have any idea what half the stuff you mention is.:D
 

Chippie

Member
I didn't sit down with my father like that but my parents encouraged me taking things apart, anything old mechanical or electrical I loved taking apart seeing how things worked inside.
QUOTE]

I didnt sit with my father either....my parents didnt encourage me to take things apart, but I did love to see the inner workings.....

All through my childhood days had a keen interest on electronics, I remember building my first crystal radio that came in kit form and needed soldering together...Not being dissuaded by this, I 'cobbled' it together ang got it to work much to my father's surprise...

He was so pleased he went out and bought a soldering iron to complete the job!....

I got a paper round and saved the money from that to buy my first multimeter that cost 50 shillings...£2-50 in todays money but that was way back when I was about 11...( before pre-decimalisation anyway)....

I served an apprenticeship as an Instrument Artificer at ICI ( a big petrochems complex at the time...) dabbled a lot with repairing radios and televisions...went to work in South Africa and ended up working for a tv repair company after impressing them with my diagnostic skills but left to go contract working which was more lucrative.......Returned to the UK and started repairing and selling ex-rental tv sets to make a few bob....

Nowadays, I play around at home with rc aeroplanes, my workshop full of toys (lathe mill bandsaw that sort of thing) dont so much electronics anymore...I guess at 51 I'm a little late in the day to play catch up with all that's happened since the advent of pics and avr micros.....


zzzzzzzz......Hey wake up at the back I aint finished!! :)

Well that's me.....
 

NHN

New Member
Started with seeing my dad soldering things in cb's, messing with tv's etc etc, he was very technical, turned his head to anything really engines, circuits, you name it he messed with it & seemed I got the bug from very early age, but only now at 35 am I getting more interested in circuitry as need to build them more for car mods, but always been fairly technical tbh imho.

But my 1st ever delve into electrics at 9 yrs old was a plug top that I took of to try & get the old big reel tape recorder running, thus swapped fuse & forgot to put top back on, that was a nice shock & wake up/introduction to electricity, lol, never forgot that day, lol, well funny now, hey we learn by our mistakes, well until I got my next shock anyway, lol

lol, mosfet, I did that with camera too mate, those damn capacitors can hold a fair whack huh, but I did this when I was what mid 20's
 
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MOSFET KILLER

New Member
Ya, capacitors are loads of fun, I think I was about 7 when I did it.
 

eageshadow

New Member
How Does it Work ?

I wanted to know how everything worked. I can remember when "dual-MOS-FETS" was a really big deal when used in selling equipment.
It all started there, just the thirst for knowledge of how things operated.
 

DirtyLude

Well-Known Member
Didn't get into electronics until later in life. Since I got married and had kids I need a hobby that I can do inside. I used to race cars and motorcycles amateur and work on them, but that's even more expensive and time consuming than this.

Ya, it's seriously not popular. I've learned not to even mention it to people I know, cuz you can see their eyes glaze over with boredom.
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
For me it all started one 1970's Christmas when I got a 65 in 1 kit from RadioShack. Learned a lot from that kit. Then in 7th grade got my amateur radio license. Then my advanced amateur radio license in grade 9. All the time tinkering in between, and finding cast off electronic junk which was treasure to me. When I graduated, I lucked out and got into one of the last of the apprenticeship programs in electronics with a local company. Been at it ever since.
 

tresca

Member
When I was 8, an uncle or mine introduced me to electronics. Bought me my first wire strippers, caps, resistors, batteries etc... Of course, I couldnt do anything with them, no breadboard, and I was def too young to make my own pcb or even play with an solderin iron.

Anyways, he got him this 50-1 electronic lab.

I'm in my twenties now, and i havent lost interest.
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
For me its simply a near obsessive need to understand how everything works. If someone says something is unfixable I have to find out why. Or if someone says something is impossible I have to prove it to myself they are wrong in one fashion or another.

I am by design a fixer of all things. Electronics is just one aspect of what I work with.

I have never felt much need to follow whats popular. Whats unpopular seems to usually hold far more fascination (and income at times) for me. :)
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
When I was a kid (around 8YO) I would pull apart anything I could. I don't think I learned much except how to pull things apart. I then found the local library, it was a caravan that visited twice a week. I got every book I could find out of that library that was technical. When I was 10, I built a crystal radio from scratch and used it to listen to the first moon landing.

When I finished school I got an apprenticeship as an electrical/mechanical draughsman. Spent about 5 years designing high voltage switchgear (6.6-25kV) before getting interested in computers. I wrote a few games on a Sinclair Spectrum and then got offered a job by a company called A&F Software. I took the job even though everyone told me I was stupid and computer games were just like skateboard, a fad that would last a couple of years.

I worked for various companies writing games until in 1986 I setup my own company. Myself and my business partner, Richard, formed Software Creations and went on to write many games. We were responsible for many games and there is a short softografy here.

Creations went into liquidation in March 2002 after 911. No US company would place any work with us and so the inevitable happened.

We, myself and family, decided to make a fresh start in Australia and this is where I am currently at. We have been here 7 years and I'm starting to get itchy feet. Retirement is not all it's cracked up to be.

Wow, that was a ramble and a half.

Mike.
 
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