Author Topic: Advice for novice  (Read 9200 times)

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Offline beretmaster

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2014, 10:19:06 am »
I would also reccommend going to the local junk yard/recycle centre adn getting something old and broken (but cool) for a buck. pull It apart, see how it works and you may even be able to fix it! look online for the documents and see what you can come up with. Alot to be learnt by pulling stuff apart. be careful though, not everything is entirely safe (even with the power off) but with a little common sense and the odd internet search you will be fine. To do this though you will require some basic tools () I am sure you have seen it, its a great list of stuff. Have fun!
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2014, 10:30:15 am »
When someone asks this question about telescopes and astronomy, the universal recommendation is to get subscriptions to astronomy magazines and start reading.  I have to make the same recommendation.  In the US we used to have Radio-Electronics but I think we are down to just QST and QEX now which are oriented toward amateur radio.  The EU still has Elektor magazine.  I think Australia has a locally grown electronics magazine as well.

I also learned a lot from various trade magazines like Electronics Design and EDN.

Application and design notes from companies like Linear Technology, National Semiconductor, and Analog Devices are invaluable.

Do not discount old electronics books.  The circuits, devices, and math has not changed and many things get rediscovered every couple decades.

In the US we still have Nuts 'n Volts which has a good variety of different things and may be at the right level for Diox55.
Alas, Diox55 has not completed his profile to reveal what country he is in?

And there orders of magnitude more stuff out there on the interweb instantly and for free than we could ever have dreamed of when we were 15!

I would also reccommend going to the local junk yard/recycle centre adn getting something old and broken (but cool) for a buck. pull It apart, see how it works and you may even be able to fix it! look online for the documents and see what you can come up with. Alot to be learnt by pulling stuff apart. be careful though, not everything is entirely safe (even with the power off) but with a little common sense and the odd internet search you will be fine. To do this though you will require some basic tools () I am sure you have seen it, its a great list of stuff. Have fun!

Yes absolutely!  Nothing like doing your own "tear-downs" of derelict or discarded technology to discover how its made, how it works, and even why it was designed that way.  With forums like this, if you run into a roadblock, post a photo and a question, and there is virtually no corner of electronic-related technology that SOMEBODY here can't help you with.
 

Offline at2marty

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2014, 02:55:55 am »
Firstly a little about myself, for anyone that cares. My name is Tucker I am 15 years old, please don't put me off as a immature kid. I am relatively smart. But my main field of knowledge for electronics is computers- I'm still in the early stages of learning to code, but I'm very interested in learning about the things Dave does. I have been watching his blog on and off for about a year, and recently Ben Heck. Both of these guys are a major inspiration to me- but as you can guess, I'm a noob at all of this. Could anyone give me advice on where to begin learning about some of this stuff? Any and all advice is appreciated, thank you for your time.
Well, I care about each and every person on this forum.  We all come from different backgrounds, walks of life and are varied in age/maturity.

I'll patiently wait to see if you actually take the time to respond to anyone here, and if you happen to be in the U.S., I might have a little something for you.
 

Offline Electronics-Repairman

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2014, 03:30:37 am »
Breadboard a bag of components power supply happy days, + a scope,if you can get one for free, even better ;)
If it's highly recommended, then  I'm not interested.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2014, 03:03:29 pm »
Best way to learn electronics, is to dive in and build some stuff.  Afrotechmods on YouTube has great introductory videos about all or most of the main individual components you'll use.

For programming, unfortunately there is no clear answer.  If all you'll ever code for is microcontrollers, then there is very little to gain by learning anything but C.  If you want to become a good overall developer, I would recommend that you look at the newer languages where the innovation is happening.  Luddites in here will say that C is all you'll ever need, and that just isn't true for someone your age.  JavaScript, not C, is the most popular language on the planet.  Eventually, JavaScript will be usurped from the top spot by another language, and it won't be C.  It probably won't even look like C.  So look at Python.  Look at Java. Look at JavaScript.  Scala. Go. Dart. PHP. Perl. Lisp. Learn the positives and negatives of each.  Each language has very specific and very distinct strengths and weaknesses, and certain problems lend themselves to solutions written in certain languages.  Then when new languages emerge, you evaluate those, too.

You'll have to choose.  You can't be an expert in electronics and software.  One can be a career, one a hobby.  If you're really, really smart, you'll be excellent at one, and better than most at the other.

Choose wisely...
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2014, 11:02:38 pm »
Some pointers from me - in addition to previous posts!

Silicon Chip magazine  www.siliconchip.com.au
Elektor magazine (European)

A scope is relatively expensive - but I suppose you could get a second hand 15MHz jap scope for $50 or less.

The magazines are useful - because even though you may not build the kits (they teach you only a bit), there are a number of subscriber articles each month that use simple circuitry to let you experiment from their ideas.

Also for embedded articles - there is nothing better than Circuit Cellar magazine.
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Offline rdl

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2014, 12:43:27 am »
Any kind of oscilloscope is orders of magnitude better than none at all. Even if all you can get is a secondhand 5 MHz USB type off eBay, it will be way better than nothing.
 

Online David Hess

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2014, 02:49:40 am »
Any kind of oscilloscope is orders of magnitude better than none at all. Even if all you can get is a secondhand 5 MHz USB type off eBay, it will be way better than nothing.

I disagree with this.  Anything which lacks a constant impedance input capable of using x10 passive probes is just going to cause grief in the long run.  A second hand analog oscilloscope would be much better.
 

Offline Rigby

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2014, 04:07:27 am »
What about all those electronic engineers of yore who went entire careers without good oscilloscopes or any high end equipment?
 

Online edy

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2014, 06:05:42 am »
It is hard to answer because we have very different 15 year Olds out there with a big range of skills. If you simply want to do more programming you can do it all by learning online through examples and tutorials, make apps for mobile for free, or get a good handle on web-based apps HTML/CSS/Javascript which are easy to migrate across platforms. You can also pick up compilers for C and other languages for free.

I think the OP wants to learn more pure electronics and analog (or perhaps digital) hardware. In this case, going with Arduino and Raspberry Pi links you into a huge community of users and source code, plus teaches you some fundamental digital circuit designs. You can buy this stuff cheap and get kit bags from Element 14 and Ada fruit or tons of shops on eBay which give you assortments of components including some micros like shift registers, timers, etc.

Finally if you want just pure analog hardware, any beginner book is available in your local library. A breadboard and components even scavenged from junk electronics will do, but kits are so cheap anyways. Best to work through circuit examples building in complexity, transistors, LED, oscillators, etc. And a $50 CRO off eBay is a nice luxury, but even a basic DMM is a good start.

There is no magic formula. Just a willingness to learn. Along the way, you will make many mistakes. You will work through them on your own and with help from this forum. I would try everything since it is so cheap and just keep watching Dave and Ben, take things apart, put them back together, try to troubleshoot and fix things (best to do with small voltage battery operated stuff) and understand the fundamentals and the math and physics involved while you hack away more loosely experimenting by feel.
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Offline miceuz

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2014, 07:43:23 am »
Any kind of oscilloscope is orders of magnitude better than none at all. Even if all you can get is a secondhand 5 MHz USB type off eBay, it will be way better than nothing.
I disagree with this.  Anything which lacks a constant impedance input capable of using x10 passive probes is just going to cause grief in the long run.  A second hand analog oscilloscope would be much better.

When I've started I was using my laptops sound card just to see *any* kind of signal.

Offline rdl

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2014, 07:47:05 am »
I disagree with this.  Anything which lacks a constant impedance input capable of using x10 passive probes is just going to cause grief in the long run.  A second hand analog oscilloscope would be much better.

In the long run they can get something better. Beginners do not always have a lot of money to spend on equipment. If they have $50-100 to spare and can find a decent used analog scope then fine. I can't imagine someone would think not having a scope was better than having one.
 

Online edy

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2014, 09:49:19 am »
One of the advantages of having a scope is the secondary benefit of learning to use the instrument, the additional educational opportunities and fun you can have. This is a side effect of owning a scope. So a used scope although maybe not needed is a good thing to get if you can spare $50-100 off ebay, craigslist, kijiji, or any use surplus electronic shop or hobby group in your area can find your a decent CRO.
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Offline Electronics-Repairman

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Re: Advice for novice
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2014, 05:35:27 am »
Truth is there is no one answer.

Monitor forums such as this, trying to ignore the inevitable sniping that occurs, the massed knowledge available is tremendous. Learn the basics (I'm still trying). Passive components are the key. Then work out which area interests you and follow that but don't let anyone tell you what that should be.

Remember what is right for one may not be for another, and for all of us our history colours our thoughts.

I started out with crystal radios, before risking my neck, at 8/9 years old, trying to repair a valve radio. This with an ammeter and handful of resistors for shunts/in-lines and no understanding from my parents who considered that 'there lay dragons'. I got my first multimeter a year later together with a electronic experimenters' kit similar to the mark minus 2 of those depicted earlier in the thread.
 
Army surplus stores then (1960s) had oodles of kit and components for next to nothing, plus maybe a bit of sweeping. IC's followed (RTL, DTL then wonder on wonder micro's; then later, in 76, 2k x 1 static memory chip cost £12 at hobbyist prices and the 40pin Z80 cost £100.

At that time there was a plethora of electronics magazines, shortly to be smothered by magazines based around the 'new' microprocessors, which as a hobbyist, was our major source of information, but with the ever increasing miniaturization both analogue and digital products were proliferating and it was difficult to keep up.

I had email from the mid 80's and had used it (command line) in the 70's but the real difference came in the 90's when Windows took the word by storm and an internet connection, albeit my modem, became prevalent. This gave access to the internet by the 'masses' and the rest is history. Please don't shoot me down on exact dates I'm trying to severely condense this.
Electronics and computer magazines, excluding gaming, latest gadgets et al, whilst not extinct became much less prevalent.

The outcome was that generally people turn to the internet for information because it's easier than looking information up in probably outdated printed matter almost regardless of whether said internet data is true.

The point behind all this is that electronics and programming are vast subjects compared to what they were even only 20 years ago and it will only get bigger. Just possibly 50 years ago a genius with exceptional memory might just have been able to 'know' all about practical electronics but I doubt it. These days it is important to recognize that you can't know it all.


So again, learn the basics, find what interests you, and only then decide.
totally Agreed Dave, I started at 8  with a crystal radio, that my grandad helped me make, who was a radio ham, from the bite of the electronics bug I'm still hooked and I'm 60 now and of course a radio ham for the last 20 Years.
If it's highly recommended, then  I'm not interested.
 


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