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Learning Electronics

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polishdude20

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I'm very new to electronics and i really am interested in it but i dont understand how you can read a schematic and see what it means . I mean i know how to build from a schematic but how do you know that lets say for example R5 is too much or C2 is too low? Can anyone recommend me some books, websites, or anything for the beginner? Do you look at a circuit as one? and the tutorials on the other thread arent very helpful.
 

kchriste

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You could try this site:

Skip over stuff you already know, but be careful you don't miss any important knowledge building blocks.
 

ke5frf

New Member
"Do you look at a circuit as one?"

As in, as one circuit or individual circuits?

I find it instructive to analyze a circuit first as modular subsystems and then as a whole. It helps to already have a basic understanding of the circuit first...as in, if I'm looking at a board on a temperature controller, I at least already know the board's purpose and function. It is then a matter of using my knowledge to disect the circuit.

The All About Circuits site is fantastic. I've been working and "hobbying" in this field for over 15 years, and I never cease to be amazed at going through a basic tutorial and seeing something new that I never quite learned before, or having it explained differently and seeing a new angle. That site does a good job at making it easy for novice and experienced alike.

But better than that, Google will bring up thousands of outstanding tutorials on everything under the sun. Just be careful. Have an eye out for thorough, well documented sites with good examples, formulas, illustrations, etc. If someone has taken the time to build the site properly and edit their facts and grammar, and if they take time out for references and links, then it is probably trustworthy.

As much as this site is helpful, I definately wouldn't take forum posters as Gospel.

As far as books, a GREAT starting point is the Radio Amateur's Handbook published by the ARRL. It is written heavily in terms of RF theory, but it devotes a large amount to basic electronics as well and the various editions updated over the years have sparked many an EE on his career path...and you might find a niche in this hobby or vocation that interests you.
 

ke5frf

New Member
"I mean i know how to build from a schematic but how do you know that lets say for example R5 is too much or C2 is too low?"

This is a loaded question and really depends on some things.

If you are studying a schematic for a proven circuit or a commercial device that is functional, you probably wouldn't be too concerned with whether or not a component is too high or too low...in terms of understanding the design. A very, very, experienced and knowledgeable designer might be able to critique a design and change things he feels are inadequate, and even an intermediate hobbyist might fine tune a design he finds on the internet or in a book, but most of the time we wouldn't worry ourselves with those details.

Now, if you are designing your own circuit, and you are unsure about the appropriate size or type component for an application, technical books and datasheets are the roadmap you would use, along with your fundamental knowledge, intuition, and sometimes a little trial and error. It can take years to develop the foundation of knowledge required for circuit design. I myself have taken on only a few projects of my own and have not ever designed anything of any complexity that I would publish LOL. I am happy with building proven projects and giving them my own little signature here and there.

Lastly, if you are interested in troubleshooting and repair, as far as reading schematics goes, electronics is like any other repair profession...for instance auto mechanics. You follow logical procedures, analyze functional blocks and systematically test them. Draw info from documentation and specs, and most importantly you learn how to use your test equipment properly to verify.

It isn't always imperative that you know every component and have all the values precisely calculated. But when you study a schematic, you will get gut feelings on the nature of the fault and what components might be suspect. You will then familiarize yourself with the function of and specific values, outputs, waveforms, and voltages that these components should produce. You will then proceed to test them under operating conditions. Most of the time, a failed component will make itself known with physical signs of damage, but studying a schematic will give you hints has to other components that may have been involved. For instance, if a voltage regulator in a circuit is fried, I would be interested in looking at the schematic and seeing the various loads that the regulator supplies. I would then concern myself with load devices that are high current draws or prone to shorting or overheating. Before replacing the regulator and testing it live, I might confirm the other components are properly working or even replace them if I feel they might be intermittent.

These are just a few examples of how one learns to read schematics first by learning the basics and building upon them with experience.
 
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