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How you log subjects you learn?

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alphacat

New Member
Hello.
I'm an electrical engineering student who had finished second year in university and is working for a company who deals with electronics.

I've started working about 6 months ago and during that period i've ran into a lot of new terms and devices - like microcontroller, relay, full-wave/half-wave rectifiers, EEPROM and Flash memory, USB to UART bridge, decoupling capacitors, and more.

Since everything happens very quickly at this company, not always you get to learn about each device thats part of your system.
For example, the PSU unit in our PCB contains regulators, oscillator, Jitter clock - devices which I dont know how they really work.
I know that regulator receives Vin and outputs a regulated Vout < Vin, but I havent got to learn about its inside.

How would you suggest to log all this data?
For example, If I read now about how oscillator works, where should I keep this information?
Since i deal with a lot of new issues in the everyday, I'm afraid that if i'll store it in my head, i'd forget about it and then will have to read about it all over again in the internet.

I know that in almost every area its 'use it or lose it', but still, would you think its good to have a documents which i'll write what i learned about each device that i get to operate ?

I'd like more to hear what you tend to do regarding storing information like this what you learn at work.

Thanks a lot.
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Keep a notebook with you. Keep notes of new things that you learn. Just like note taking in class. I am sure you had to have a lab notebook for your chemistry lab class.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
It's just like school...you learn it, memorize it for as long as you need it, and then you forget it with time. But you should have become familiar enough with the subject (as well as learned how to learn), that if you ever needed it again you should be able to Google or pick up a textbook and relearn it much more quickly then you did the first time around. THe thing you really carry away is an insight into things in general and a way of thinking about things. It's hard to quantify, but the more things you learn the more quickly you can learn other things.

In Canada, engineers are required by law to keep a dated logbook for the projects we are working on. It is a legal document and contains all your chicken scratching, doodles, notes, results, and calculations. Other things can be written down in it as well, but we don't sit around cataloging every new thing we learned in our own textbook. THat's a waste of time and that's why textbooks exist. It takes a lot of effort to document an explanations about something.

Also consider that if you make your own textbook, you are more likely to preserve the mistakes and misconceptiosn you made when learning how something worked the first time around. Textbooks are (hopefully!) written by people much more knowedgable in the subject than you are, and are less likely to make those mistakes, and also might teach the things differently to provide more insign and leave space to allow an extension into other more advanced explanations. Teaching is the practice of telling smaller and smaller lies, after all. Every time you relearn the material, you learn something new and gain more insight into it. With your own textbook, you might stagnate, gaining nothing extra every time you run back to it.

So no, I don't think it's a good idea. It's better to build up a well selected library. Also, remember that you are only second year so far and have not been exposed to very many things yet. Every single thing you just listed becomes almost inherent by the time you graduate (if you actually have an interest in EE).

Wait until you actually know how much you don't know.
 
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blueroomelectronics

Well-Known Member
A simple notepad, I was always partial to graph paper myself. You also don't have to memorize everything as long as you know where to look.
I wrote about the Fly Pen (records your notes as you write and you can transfer them to your computer) in another thread, I wish I had one when I was in school.
Over time most of it will become second nature, you'll have a favorite list of parts you've learned to rely on (there are zillions of different transistors but you'll often find yourself using only a select few 2N2222A is a popular one)
I still refer to a few really good books / textbooks some are several years old but I still know where to look something up when I have to.
Remember datasheets are the holy grail of design, they are all similarly laid out and it's mandatory you can read and understand them. Everything the engineers thought you'd ever need to know can be found in them and their errata (except the stuff that's secret i.e. hidden op codes, service modes, etc)
PS CPUs have had hidden modes since the dawn of CPUs. The 6502 had a couple at least. The problem was you didn't know if they'd be around in every revision.

Good luck, study hard and don't get hung up on the little stuff.

The Fly Fusion Pentop Computer it's $20 for crying out loud.
 
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Mike_2545

Super Moderator
Notebooks are by far the best for keeping your thoughts from vanishing. I still prefer the printed material over reading a computer screen so I print data sheets and bind them in individual files. Its easy to write notes on the sheets and you always have a handy reference.
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
PS CPUs have had hidden modes since the dawn of CPUs. The 6502 had a couple at least. The problem was you didn't know if they'd be around in every revision.
You remind me of something. We had this HP logic analyzer (Can't remember model) and somebody was messing around with it when he accidentally hit a few keypad entries. Up popped the game Doom, right on the screen. Imagine that Doom on a logic analyzer...
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
I think it was an HP 16500 model, but not sure.
 

arunb

Member
You remind me of something. We had this HP logic analyzer (Can't remember model) and somebody was messing around with it when he accidentally hit a few keypad entries. Up popped the game Doom, right on the screen. Imagine that Doom on a logic analyzer.
crazy idea..putting a game on a logic analyzer..
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Most vid games have Easter eggs as well.
 

Torben

Well-Known Member
Most vid games have Easter eggs as well.
Yup. It's a pretty common thing but finding them can be tricky. There was a neat one in a version of Lotus 1-2-3 in the early-mid '90s which IIRC involved entering certain values in certain cells of the spreadsheet, pressing certain key combos, and so on. I can't remember what the prize was though.

In Firefox (and I think in all versions of Netscape), try typing 'about:mozilla' into the Location bar.

Can't remember any more right now. I used to hunt them a lot, but these days I mostly use open source software which tends to have fewer Easter eggs.


Torben
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Did not like the notebook idea huh? To each his own I guess. :)
 

alphacat

New Member
No I do like this idea, actually I do keep a notebook which mainly contains caulculations i've made.
I thank you too of course :)
 
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