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Starting to work with electronics -- suggestions?

A

Alex

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi all,

Okay, I'm 29, and all my life I've wanted to learn how to work with
electronics, whether just making little gadgets around the house,
fixing components that break, or what have you - but not knowing anyone
who was also into electronics to learn from it's been hard getting off
the ground. I've bought several of the little electronics labs things
from Radio Shack over the years plus some books, but none ever seem to
really get me going.

What do you guys suggest? Is there a defacto standard 'how to' book to
use, a good electronics kit to work with, or another method you would
suggest?

I work with computer software all the time, but I think it would
definately be fun learning how to work with electrical hardware more.

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas on a nice beginning point. Take
care,

Sam Alex
 
J

John Popelish

Jan 1, 1970
0
Alex said:
Hi all,

Okay, I'm 29, and all my life I've wanted to learn how to work with
electronics, whether just making little gadgets around the house,
fixing components that break, or what have you - but not knowing anyone
who was also into electronics to learn from it's been hard getting off
the ground. I've bought several of the little electronics labs things
from Radio Shack over the years plus some books, but none ever seem to
really get me going.

What do you guys suggest? Is there a defacto standard 'how to' book to
use, a good electronics kit to work with, or another method you would
suggest?

I work with computer software all the time, but I think it would
definately be fun learning how to work with electrical hardware more.

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas on a nice beginning point. Take
care,

Sam Alex

Electronics is something like learning a new language (a very literal
one with lots of logic and math). I would start by learning a basic
list of what are effectively the nouns and verbs. The nouns being the
discrete components and the verbs being how they act. Along this
quest you will run into lots of simple (and some not so simple) math
that describes these actions better than words do.

A starting place is probably Google with key words like [basic
electronics tutorial].

Horowitz and Hill's Art of Electronics may not be the first thing you
should study, but it is the second or third book you should have when
you get beyond nouns and verbs into phrases and paragraphs.

You can also play with circuits without letting any smoke out by
downloading the free circuit simulator from Linear technology
LTSpice/SwitcherCAD III:

http://www.linear.com/company/software.jsp
 
L

Larry Brasfield

Jan 1, 1970
0
Alex said:
Hi all, Hi.
Okay, I'm 29, and all my life I've wanted to learn how to work with
electronics, whether just making little gadgets around the house,
fixing components that break, or what have you - but not knowing anyone
who was also into electronics to learn from it's been hard getting off
the ground. I've bought several of the little electronics labs things
from Radio Shack over the years plus some books, but none ever seem to
really get me going.

From what I have seen of most kits, there is little to learn
from them apart from assembly skills, a little of that.
What do you guys suggest? Is there a defacto standard 'how to' book to
use, a good electronics kit to work with, or another method you would
suggest?

It would help if you were to say whether you are interested in
learning how circuits work or just like to build things and see
them work. Are you mathematically inclined? Do you like
to solve puzzles requiring formal logic?

The ARRL (which was once the Amateur Radio Relay League)
has long catered to people with both of those interests. They
offer a number of publications intended to educate and provide
ready-designed projects. I can vouch for the value of their
early editions of the ARRL Handbook, but have not studied
what they publish now, listed at:
http://www.arrl.org/catalog/index.php3?category=Circuit+Design

If your interest is in electronics engineering, I would suggest
you visit a nearby college bookstore and peruse the texts
that are provided for the EE courses. (That would be the
nearest college with an EE curriculum.) You may well
find something suited to your interests and background,
or you may discover that theory is not that interesting.
I work with computer software all the time, but I think it would
definately be fun learning how to work with electrical hardware more.

I've known several people who got into electronics only
as a hobby and have gotten plenty of enjoyment from it.

You might have fun with a small microprocessor board
and hooking small circuits of your own devising to it,
once you get enough of the basics to get started.
Thanks for any suggestions or ideas on a nice beginning point. Take
care,

Have fun!
 
A

Art

Jan 1, 1970
0
Check the available facilities in your area, the Community Colleges,
Professional Development Facilities, Etc. Also there is a plethora of very
good contact leads via web searches. Personally it may be better for you to
consider Electronic Engineering or advancing yourself into the field of
software/hardware applications.<
 
J

Joe McElvenney

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

Equip yourself with the basic tools of the trade such as some
hand tools, a soldering iron, a $5 to $10 DVM, a proto-board, a
power supply and lots of small components (you can get bags of
these for a song). There is no need to shell out much for any of
this if you are prepared to shop around or scrounge.

Subscribe to a magazine such as "Nuts and Volts" that has
plenty of small projects to get your teeth into as well as
articles of general electronic interest.

Analyse every circuit you build so that you understand why the
author did it that way. If you can't, go find a book that will
explain it to you. Build up your library with theory and data
books (eBay is a good source) or visit your local library and
browse. Always go the el-cheapo second-hand route as new books
are expensive.

Use "ugly" or "dead bug" construction on scraps of PCB for you
projects until you get them working and then tidy 'em up. But, as
the cover of Jim William's book, "The Art and Science of Analog
Circuit Design" shows, this can be an art form.

And finally (excuse the homily), there is no "Royal Road" but
enthusiasm will take you a long way down the one there is.


Cheers - Joe

A has-been communications engineer
Although still in possession of the tee shirt :)
 
B

Brian

Jan 1, 1970
0
Alex said:
Hi all,

Okay, I'm 29, and all my life I've wanted to learn how to work with
electronics, whether just making little gadgets around the house,
fixing components that break, or what have you - but not knowing anyone
who was also into electronics to learn from it's been hard getting off
the ground. I've bought several of the little electronics labs things
from Radio Shack over the years plus some books, but none ever seem to
really get me going.

What do you guys suggest? Is there a defacto standard 'how to' book to
use, a good electronics kit to work with, or another method you would
suggest?

I work with computer software all the time, but I think it would
definately be fun learning how to work with electrical hardware more.

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas on a nice beginning point. Take
care,

Sam Alex

You might try taking a correspondence course in electronics (even if it is
just the basics). Once you understand the basics, most everything else will
come pretty easily.
Brian
 
R

Roger Johansson

Jan 1, 1970
0
Brian said:
You might try taking a correspondence course in electronics (even if
it is
just the basics). Once you understand the basics, most everything else
will come pretty easily.

There is a free course in electronics here:

http://www.phy.davidson.edu/instrumentation/NEETS.htm

It is the US Navy training manual in electronics, and it takes you
through all the basics to advanced knowledge.
 
B

Brian

Jan 1, 1970
0
Roger Johansson said:
There is a free course in electronics here:

http://www.phy.davidson.edu/instrumentation/NEETS.htm

It is the US Navy training manual in electronics, and it takes you
through all the basics to advanced knowledge.

Everything has pros and cons.

Pros:
You can't beat the price and I'm sure there is some very good material
there.

Cons:
Theory alone can get very boring. If you don't have kits with an
electronics learning program (hands on experience), you lose a lot.

Brian
 
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