Author Topic: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.  (Read 1083 times)

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Offline Righ_Alba

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Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« on: December 30, 2017, 12:47:41 am »
Hi!, I have been watching Dave's videos on and off since i was a kid for years now, and I want to get into electronics, however electronics education in the UK isn't that great. So I was wondering if any of you guys could give me some suggestions for how to get started, as in books, tools, stuff, etc.

I should probably tell you what I already have/know...

- I have a very basic education in electronics, basically I was only ever taught at school about Ohm's law, power and stuff like that (we never even really looked at capacitors)
- I have an Arduino
- I have a few components (bipolar transistors, resistors(many values), electrolytic capacitors(many values), LEDs, Diodes, a ton of sensors for the Arduino(I bought a kit with a bunch of stuff with it))
- A decent multimeter (Kewtech KT116)
- A cheap arse soldering iron
- hand and power tools (dremel and screwdrivers etc)
- This cheapo signal generator kit that I bought to practice soldering

It would be amazing if any of you guys could give me some tips. :-+

Thanks
~Righ
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Offline Belrmar

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 02:43:52 am »
Well, i would reccomend you to gather some proyects that look cool for you and then understanding them fully, and they copy or improve them so you can later build it. Get some stock of basic BJT's and FET's , some nice amount of cheapo opamps (get some good like an lm358), a small amount of power transistors, a resistor and capacitor kit, some LED's...

Basically start to copy and understand people, later you will be able to create your own proyects :D
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 03:17:29 am »
As to books, "The Art of Electronics" and its associated lab manual "Learning The Art of Electronics" are highly regarded.  I have them but I haven't spent a lot of time with them.

You need to figure out what you want to do with electronics.  Are you interested in microcontrollers, robotics, analog electronics, audio or what?  Find a project that interests you, Google it, find something that fits and built it.  Later on you will be publishing your designs.

Electronics education is usually at a much higher level - university stuff.  Even in the US, there isn't really a place to learn electronics that isn't at a junior college level or above.  The reason is that electronics is all math and, mostly, people don't have the math skills to go very far in electronics without taking college level math courses.

It is possible to enjoy the hobby without the deeper math.  There are many video tutorials, Dave's Fundamental Friday videos among them.  Google for w2aew videos, they are excellent.  in fact, if you have a breadboard, some parts and the appropriate tools, it is worthwhile to duplicate their demonstrations.

Unfortunately, you can't do any of these projects without a scope.  That's a problem.  The least expensive well regarded scope today is probably the Rigol DS1054Z.  You can also find used analog scopes that are quite inexpensive.  Were it me, I would look into the Digilent Analog Discovery 2 as it has 2 signal generators, a dual channel scope, digital IO and a lot of other features you just can't get for anywhere near that price.  It's a college level electronics lab in a small box.  Any working scope will do in early days.  Search around the forum for scope threads, they are all over the place.
 
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Offline Decoman

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 07:30:16 pm »
I am not deep into electronics, but I would think that soldering work by itself alone could be a fun exercise. Trying out different techniques with different components.
 
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Offline danadak

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 11:30:34 pm »
You can start with a PC sound card based scope for free. Will give you basically
audio rang scope, spectrum analyzer, and function generator all using your
PC sound card.


https://www.zeitnitz.eu/scope_en


http://www.zelscope.com/


http://www.ledametrix.com/oscope/


http://www.virtins.com/downloads.shtml


But first build a simple circuit to protect sound card inputs so you do not
ruin from transients, overvoltage. Google "protect sound card input".


For example   http://makezine.com/projects/sound-card-oscilloscope/


Sound card impedance bridge -


http://www.marucchi.it/ZRLC_web/ZRLC/Steber_An_LMS_Impedance_Bridge.pdf


http://www.sillanumsoft.org/ZRLC.htm


Regards, Dana.
Love Cypress PSOC, ATTiny, Bit Slice, OpAmps, Oscilloscopes, and Analog Gurus like Pease, Miller, Widlar, Dobkin, obsessed with being an engineer
 
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Offline JoeB83

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 02:05:44 am »
You have an Arduino and some basic components, so I’d say start there. The official Arduino website has a lot of tutorials from very simple like flashing an LED to more advanced stuff like robotics. The Art of Electronics by Horowitz & Hill is excellent too.
 
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Offline Old Printer

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2017, 03:00:30 am »
I will second the Analog Discovery if you are serious about learning electronics. I say serious because they are not cheap, new without a student discount $279. I am teaching myself general electronics and use mine all the time. It might be possible to find one used from a student that only paid $100, but I went through 2 duds before I gave up and bought a new one from Mouser. Digilent, the manufacture, has an excellent tutorial section based around it.
 

Offline Buriedcode

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2017, 03:20:20 am »
Thankfully these are golden times for learning about electronics.  What with the internet providing pretty much all the information you'll ever need, along with very cheap electronics modules/components/tools mass produced in china means 'cost' is no longer a limiting factor.

Anyone who says you "can't do electronics without a scope" is high.  There is plenty you can do without a scope - but it depends on what these people mean by 'electronics'. To some this means opamps, filters and oscillators, to others its microcontrollers, LED's and motors. For analogue stuff, yes a scope helps a great deal, specifically with AC stuff, amps, filters etc..  but for beginners, whilst learning the basics is obviously a good way to start, it can also be boring.  You don't have to spend >£100 to get started.  Not even close.

I would say the best way to learn is to find a project you want to make/build, something that isn't overly complicated, but will challenge you.  If this project requires some analogue stuff - then that is the opportunity to learn about them.  Don't try and cover everything at once, learn different areas as and when you *need* to know about them.  An Arduino is a great piece of kit, that, along with some 'shields' you can do the sorts off things that would have taken a hobbyist a lot longer a decade ago. 

These days there tends to be more emphasis on software, which isn't strictly electronics, and is often why when people hear the word 'electronics' they not only think of hardware (obviously) but also, non-programmable stuff.  But microcontrollers are a huge part of electronics, and can be a good starting place:  You can think in terms of 'modules', with a microcontroller controlling them.  Input modules (switches, buttons, sensors!) and output modules (LED's, motors, displays) can all be broken down and isolated, allowing you to see how each "module" works.  These can then be hooked together to form actual useful hardware.

tl;dr: Learn as you go.  Pick a fairly ambitious project, and work your way through it, step by step.
 
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Offline rstofer

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2017, 04:50:10 am »
Without a scope, even simple projects like transistor amplifiers are pretty much a guess.  You have no way to determine whether the biasing of the common emitter amplifier has resulted in a symmetric waveform without clipping.  Watch w2aew's videos on transistor amplifiers.  He makes GREAT videos!

https://www.google.com/search?q=w2aew+transistor+biasing

An enormous portion of the electronics sandbox is blocked off by lack of a scope.

For the most part, Arduino projects are cut and paste.  Find something you like and copy it.  But don't think for a minute that you can get I2C or SPI to work on original projects without some way to see the signals.  I2C is particularly painful.  A cheap logic analyzer will suffice and a good logic analyzer is probably a better choice than a scope - if you know the signals are reaching the proper levels (which probably requires a scope).   SPI will sometimes work right away, I2C has always been a PITA (for me).

A PC scope will work for most things at audio frequencies.  It probably won't work for DC (because the input is probably AC coupled) and the input voltage range is limited.  Everybody has a junk computer laying around - that is the one to use.  In fact, that is the one to use for all your USB powered projects as well.  If you're going to smoke a PC, it probably shouldn't be your best laptop.  At a minimum, use a powered USB hub.  There are USB isolators for the truly paranoid.  That's why I bought two...

I just searched eBay (using the search feature) and there are a LOT of scopes under $75.  No, they're not destined to be the last oscilloscope a person will own but they're better than nothing.  At audio frequencies, a high bandwidth scope isn't necessary.  Even microcontroller projects can usually be done with a 20 MHz scope or less.  I did them for years with a 10 MHz Heathkit scope and before that with a 50 kHz Dumont scope .

There is a lot of electronics, particularly DC circuits, that can be understood without a scope.  Once the signals become time varying, not having a scope is like working blindfolded.  DC circuits would include using transistors as switches.  It would not include using PWM and MOSFETs to drive DC motors.  You really want to see the gate voltage and probably motor voltage (actually drain-source voltage) as a function of time.

Regardless of the portion of the electronics sandbox a person wants to play in, I would think a scope would be near the top of the equipment wish list.



 

Offline ez24

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2017, 06:42:48 am »
Some "usable" scopes are so cheap you can buy one for each project.  Such as:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Fully-Assembled-DSO138-Open-Source-2-4-TFT-Digital-Oscilloscope-1Msps-with-FREE-Probe/32795028890.html

Here is a teacher (member rsduhamel) who uses one for his classes. Be sure to check them out.  I met him and his family helps him with the videos.  We talked about the lack of electronic courses in our area.  It turns out that we both took electronic courses from community colleges in our area and all colleges now do not offer courses anymore (I was surprised):

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOausWDNRDJikQ11gSLj7nA/playlists

Look at the un-biased reviews  (it is highly dis-regarded on this forum).   It is NOT a professional scope.

I use this more than my Rigol:  (again look at online reviews).  It has a battery.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DSO-112A-TFT-Touch-Screen-Portable-Mini-Digital-Oscilloscope-USB-Interface-2MHz-5Msps/32825331679.html

I checked it against the Rigol and it was dead on and has good specs.  If I remember right it is usable to 5 megs (sine wave).

Here is another one that needs 9v:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DSO-Shell-DSO150-Oscilloscope-full-assembled-with-P6020-BNC-standard-probe/32841171604.html

They are all by JYE:  (again read the reviews on the web or Amazon)
https://www.jyetech.com/index.php

Be sure to look through the stickys (in pink) under Beginners category in this forum.
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/

Try "Tutorials" from these lists:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166

There are websites for learning but I do not have a list of them.  There are some listed on Dave's website but I cannot find them.

Be sure to look into this:
http://tronclub.com/

The problem with them is their site sucks, everything about them sucks BUT their material is first class.  I got their MCU course (only 3 kits) and was very surprised how good the written material (the lessons) were.  My gut feeling is they are non-English and paid to have a professional write their material.  Too bad they don't make a good site or videos.  My No. 1 recommendation for a paid course.  Because they must have paid for the written part, they make it is very hard to get it in print. No PDFs.

It would help others (and me) know about your "finds".  Someday I would like to put a list together on this.

Good luck
YouTube and Website Electronic Resources ------>  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166
 


Offline ez24

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 04:59:54 am »
Introduction to circuit analysis:

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/electrical-engineering/ee-circuit-analysis-topic/ee-dc-circuit-analysis/a/ee-circuit-analysis-overview

I have made a new sheet in the spreadsheet that is found at the bottom of this list
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166

and named "Resources".  I added the link to Khan to this sheet.  I will add others as I find them.  When I get enough I think I will add them to Reply #3.  I expect this list to be very short, maybe less than a dozen.

The spreadsheet and list are under Other Blog Specific



YouTube and Website Electronic Resources ------>  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166
 
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Online DC1MC

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 06:49:18 am »
Introduction to circuit analysis:

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/electrical-engineering/ee-circuit-analysis-topic/ee-dc-circuit-analysis/a/ee-circuit-analysis-overview

I have made a new sheet in the spreadsheet that is found at the bottom of this list
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166

and named "Resources".  I added the link to Khan to this sheet.  I will add others as I find them.  When I get enough I think I will add them to Reply #3.  I expect this list to be very short, maybe less than a dozen.

The spreadsheet and list are under Other Blog Specific

Hey, thanks for the list, saved !!!
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 07:22:12 am »
Hey, thanks for the list, saved !!!

Plenty of reading here:  (currently format is off)

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341170/#msg1341170
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:23:29 am by ez24 »
YouTube and Website Electronic Resources ------>  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166
 

Offline Raj

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Re: Complete noob here, any tips on how to get started.
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2018, 12:07:15 am »
buy a book and a subscription of electronics megazines,i'd say.
pearson's the avr microcontrollers and embedded systems
the Electronic's for you megazine
the elektor publication's 70's and 80's era book are good choices
 


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