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Where do I start???

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New Member
Hi, I have some basic knowledge of electronic from the courses I took in the navy. However the nature of my job as a weapons technician kept me away from the basics for a while. :?

Can anyone tell me what I should get as a beginner hobbiest at home and good circuits to start with. I am thinking that a power supply would be a good start. :?:

I already have a soldering iron, fret board and your basic volt meter, pliers and screw driver. I also kept 2 monitors and a microwave for parts. Since my finances are a bit limited I don't want to trow my money away unnecessarily. :(



New Member
Edit to add safty message
Please read below for dangers of working with microwave ovens, they work with very high voltage, and use cap that will hold this voltage even after being unpluged.

I've read on the internet where people are using microwave transformer and rewiring the secondary to make high current power supplies. So I found an old one, and they have a very large transformer, looks to be a fun project for the future. Just do a bit of searching on the internet on this subject. Sorry I can't give too much advice as for myself, I'm also new at this stuff.


New Member
One very usefull acessory for any electronic starter would be a proto-board, that just for you information can be found in the link below
This device can be used as the first step on mounting electronic circuits, especially prototypes, before you get the final configuration that could be mounted in a printed circuit board.
The link I sent show a "powered" board, that meas it already holds a power suppy incorporated that you can use to supply your circuits.
The board is very simple to use and what it does is to interconnect the components as you place then in the board. The way the companents are connected to each other will off course depends on the electronic circuit and the board alread interconnects some "holes" to each other. Some other connections will have to be done by placing small peaces of wire to the points where the connection are required.
You probably can find extra information about how to use this device in the web before even purchasing one, or in the manual that for sure will come with it.
Man, you're right, you can find many usefull components from old junk equipment and it will work just fine. I would suggest also you buy a "DESOLDERING PUMP " that will help you to remove the components from the printed boards of the junk without demaging it.

There are many, zillions of lectronic circuits that you could start with but I would suggest you to start thinking about something you really need for you, something you are missing and then, depending on how complicated it is, you could try to build it. It is much better to build something that you can use later.

Have fun.


Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Philipc said:
I've read on the internet where people are using microwave transformer and rewiring the secondary to make high current power supplies. So I found an old one, and they have a very large transformer, looks to be a fun project for the future.
Just a word of warning (from someone who repairs microwaves) - whereas mains voltage in the UK (at 230V) and the USA (at only 110V) aren't 'really' terribly dangerous - a number of people manage to get killed by them every year.

The voltage from a microwave transformer is high voltage (about 1800V) at high current - IT'S AMOST CERTAINLY GOING TO BE FATAL IF YOU GET A SHOCK FROM IT - so please be exceptionally careful if you are experimenting with microwave ovens.

I've been in the service trade for over 32 years, everyone I know has had LOADS of electrical shocks (from mains to 28KV EHT in TV's) - I don't know a single person who has had a shock off a microwave transformer!. This suggests to me that either people are extremely careful around them (I certainly am!), or those that have had shocks are not alive to talk about it :cry:


New Member
Sorry I should of made note of that, a microwave transformer in it's original configuration is very high voltage. The web sights I've seen where then take the secondary off and put thicker wire with much less turns, to get around 12 volts for a nice bench top power supply.

I would also like to make note, the cap inside the microwave can and will still hold voltage even after the microwave being turned off. So if you are not comfortable with very high voltage, do not open a microwave oven, because it can be lethal.


New Member
Building your own test gear is the best way to start, a good bench top variable voltage/current power supply is a must, as our a freaquency/waveform source often a combined with a freaquency counter
A good digital multimeter is probabley worth investing in rather than trying to build your own although it can be done.
A pic programmer and an old pc are also rapidly becoming must have items for the hobbyist these days.


New Member
where to start

:D hi,

all the suggestions are good, as what tansis has recommended try to build first a variable voltage/current supply that goes as low as l.25v and maybe up to 18v for starters. if you can put a voltmeter & ammeter to your power supply the better. it's really nice to have that kind of PSU becoz you would have a supply right away that will meet your need. i forgot try to have at least 2 amperes to give you more leeway on your current need.

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