Author Topic: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?  (Read 30893 times)

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Offline zapta

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2015, 02:38:27 am »
I'm glad I was born before this damned evil stuff.
The "arduino" started a whole new industry, community, marketing ... of whole dumb generation of people.

One generation thinks that it's better than the next. What else is new?

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Offline free_electron

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2015, 02:54:27 am »
Actually, I believe, it is still a problem to reliably detect when the toilet paper runs out :D it is a legitimate engineering problem! :D or does anyone else knows about some new progress in this field? :)
Toilet paper is for philistines. I recently imported an electronic bidet from South Korea. Bloody fantastic it is too! I justified it when I realised the insane amount of toilet paper the women in my life get through!  :-DD
Soyou needed something to blow hot air up your ass 😃
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Offline free_electron

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2015, 02:56:04 am »
Why learnbasic electronics ?
Who's going to make new shields if nobody knows the basics ?
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Offline calexanian

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2015, 04:27:45 am »
I don't think any of the new kids coming in should learn electronics. Then for ever can I claim that they don't know anything and they will think I am some kind of old wizard in the dark arts!

The most simple analogy I can come up with is that most pilots don't want to work in the airplane factory, but they should have a basic knowledge of how the plane works. If they also happen to know how to design and build aircraft they then are a more rounded individual.

Furthermore when talking to "Software" or "Developer" type people about their micro controller projects i find most of the problems they have to be of either a hardware nature, or lack of understanding of hardware, or some simple configuration for the device they are programming. Brown out config always gets them! Sometimes I have to explain to them that they need to set all the chip hardware and peripheral states on initialization is assembly so they can deterministically know whats what. I get lots of eye rolls and shut up old mans! Crazy kids and their C compilers!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 04:33:51 am by calexanian »
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Offline JulietMikeBravo

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2015, 04:51:45 am »
This question resume exactly why i hate those arduino and raspberry things, they make it so granted, everyone now think basics are not useful to learn any more ...

Not every Arduino/RPi/whatever owner is lazy and refuses to learn the basics. Also, not knowing the basics will cause a lot of frustration. Burning out leds due to missing resistors, not respecting the power/voltage ratings of components etc. etc. If someone chooses to ignore the basics they will eventually discover that they have to learn the basics or abandon their hobby.

I think it is quite elitist to complain about these mainstream microprocessor platforms. If certain people are correct I am not worthy of using these technologies because it makes it all too "easy".  :blah:
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2015, 04:58:25 am »
Toilet paper is for philistines. I recently imported an electronic bidet from South Korea. Bloody fantastic it is too! I justified it when I realised the insane amount of toilet paper the women in my life get through!  :-DD

Is it 1 to 2 jumbo rolls ( a half kilometer each) per woman per day? I doubt the bidet would survive our rather well built women here.
 

Offline Negative-Bias

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2015, 05:10:47 am »
Yes Dave,Create something best words I've heard, an idea is created into a working devices every week in my workshop,fascination with test equipment does it for me.Failure,is the best,in the early days I had so many failures,I'd get a degree for it,these days I take the old failed projects and debug the buggers"winner".
I do have arduino Uno,which I still have to learn to use "Someday". I still have failures thank god,but now I know how to fix them. Great Video well done.
 

Offline AF6LJ

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2015, 05:33:08 am »
Good video, Dave hits a home run with this one.

Now back to that self cleaning litter box idea................
Sue AF6LJ
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Online AG6QR

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2015, 06:24:19 am »
Most people don't make their own greetings cards, build a shed from individual pieces of wood or sew their own clothes.

... or design their own op amps.

That's how our technology stack works, you get components at level N and build added level widgets at level N+1.

Yep.  How many here mine all of the silicon that goes into their projects, and then refine it and process it all the way to the finished product?

You choose a level at which to work.  There are challenges at each level.  It's always good to have at least a basic understanding of and respect for what's going on at the levels above and below the one you're currently working on, but you'll never know all the details of all the other levels, just as most of the people at other levels don't really understand everything you do.  At my job, I know I've got many brilliant people doing amazing things to provide me with the tools and components I use, and the output of my work is being used by many other brilliant people doing amazing things that I don't know how to do.

But yeah, if you're going to "do electronics", there are certain fundamentals that keep showing up, and you'd do well to be acquainted with them.  Ohm's law.  Complex impedance.  Fourier analysis.  Heat transfer.  Transmission line theory.  Feedback networks.  Amplifiers and oscillators (and how one becomes the other, whether intentionally or accidentally).

Sometimes, you can ignore some of these issues.  A big part of the art of engineering is knowing how to produce a simplified model of what you're doing, so you can eliminate irrelevant complications.  But when you do that, you need to be aware of the complicating factors and at least understand them well enough to dismiss them for your situation.  Otherwise, you'll get bitten.  When you're bitten by a familiar foe, you can quickly understand the situation and take appropriate action.  But when you're bitten by a foe that you don't have the background to understand, you'll be thrashing about for a very long while.
 

Offline R_G_B_

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2015, 06:27:05 am »
Here you go David L Jones a new slogan for a T-shirt:

READ IT WHEN YOU NEED IT!


R_G_B_
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Offline hamdi.tn

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2015, 07:21:31 am »
This question resume exactly why i hate those arduino and raspberry things, they make it so granted, everyone now think basics are not useful to learn any more ...

Not every Arduino/RPi/whatever owner is lazy and refuses to learn the basics. Also, not knowing the basics will cause a lot of frustration. Burning out leds due to missing resistors, not respecting the power/voltage ratings of components etc. etc. If someone chooses to ignore the basics they will eventually discover that they have to learn the basics or abandon their hobby.

I think it is quite elitist to complain about these mainstream microprocessor platforms. If certain people are correct I am not worthy of using these technologies because it makes it all too "easy".  :blah:

that's not the point, i don't say they refuse to learn i said they ignore why they should learn it first , the person asking the question is a prove of that. and yes i hate it because meant to be popular tool but not efficient learning tool (of electronics).

they don't have to abandon their hobby too because i see what arduino users do (robotics, wireless ...) and they do pretty good job they just not "Electronic" hobbyist ... they don't DO electronics.

it's not elitist ... i don't represent any categories of elite ppl  :P they don't make it easy coding and writing software can be enough challenging on it's own ... it's just misleading in my opinion , ppl using platform think they do electronic ... they don't .. that's the whole story.
 

Offline Grapsus

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2015, 08:18:35 am »
Good video !

The original question is so stupid. There is no such thing as basic electronics. What he opposes to basic electronics is writing instructions that will be executed sequentially by a machine made by someone else, which is by definition programming. So his question really is: what is the point of learning electronics as an electronics hobbyist if I can do programming instead ?  :palm:
 

Offline N2IXK

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2015, 08:42:37 am »
Also regarding the flashing LED, what if flashing one LED is all that you need to do ? woould you spend 10 bucks for an arduino to flash the led or spend 50 cents and 20 minutes of your time to do it with a 555 timer ?

Neither.

I would use a $1 flashing LED and a series resistor, and be done before the 555 or Arduino approaches get started.  8)
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Offline edy

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2015, 10:59:36 am »
Who is going to invent the next RaspBerry Pi and Arduino and C.H.I.P. ?  Certainly not the person who just learns to code software. You need real hardware electronics skills. But even if you don't want to invent anything and just use a micro/PC....

If you want to control anything using a RasPi or Arduino or CHIP.... motors, lights, etc...  or sensing from any sensors, you need basic electronics to hook things up so you don't short or blow your fancy-shmangled micro/PC. Once again, basic electronics skills. No amount of code knowledge will help you "bridge" your software code into interacting with the real physical world via motors/lights and sensors.

So, unless all you want to do is play inside the Arduino, RasPi and C.H.I.P. and never interface with real world hardware, then sure learn only to code. But if you need to ever build something more... like a robot, 3D printer, or any other system of some kind... you will need to know electronics.

I have to give credit though to these little processor boards... RasPi, Arduino and CHIP are helping a lot of people enter the hobby in a way that does force them to learn basic electronics and not just programming. The biggest advantage of all of these platforms is the digital and analog I/O header/pins that finally made control and sensing of external objects more accessible to the average hobbyist. Before that, it was not as easy to (A) program a micro-controller, (B) get your computer to control or sense from external electronics, (C) do it in an affordable way with a huge community of open-knowledge. So you have to credit these for pushing people in the right direction....

As to what "order" to learn in, I don't think it matters. You learn as you go and as your needs take you. If you don't know something, you learn about it, and if you make a mistake you learn even more. If people first learn to code Arduino or Python and then out of necessity have to learn about basic electronics so they don't blow their little program board apart, fine. One way or the other you learn.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 11:07:31 am by edy »
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Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2015, 01:11:36 pm »
There are those who take the same route to work each day, and those who try to do something different each time.  Both have their place in the world, neither is intrinsically better than the other.  Those who try new things will learn basic electronics sooner or later because something will go wrong on their newest path.  At that point they will either quit or learn something.  It is all good.
 

Offline smadge1

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2015, 01:50:57 pm »
To be honest (And I just signed up right now to say this) I'm not at all interested in "pure" electronics engineering.  Yes, knowing what components, schematics, semiconductors, etc are, and how electricity works is important, even if you are only going to be interfacing with Arduino/Pi type boards.

I am not an EE, I have a basic knowledge of how electronics "work".  But in the past few months, I've decided to take my hobby seriously, and obtained an Arduino (or two) and a Raspberry Pi.  I have some ideas, and I want to see what I can do.  I don't want to do an EE degree, I just want to tinker, experiment and prototype.

I want to design an internet controlled lamp.  Yes, those things are a dime a dozen these days, with IoT.  But I've never been able to find one that suits me.  I can take a lot of building blocks that already exist, and put them together the way I want and get the satisfaction of knowing I designed something, built it, then used it. I don't want to sell it.

I plan to learn along the way, where many people have already gone, I have a lot of guidance from the multitude of online communities, and I think I'll probably spend a lot of time here.

I want to buy some Off-The-Shelf DMX RGB lights, and use an Arduino (Yun or similar) to control them, taking input from an online service such as Electric Imp, and the interface will exist on my phone, allowing me to control the lights with my mobile device, the power, the colour, the brightness, and even chase and strobe effects.

All these technologies have already been invented, and at the end of the day, I may not even need to know too much about electronics, and simply learn to code it instead, but where's the fun in that?

I have rediscovered the joy of tinkering, pulling things apart, and re-purposing them.  I have spent a lot of time in the past few weeks building circuits on a breadboard, and used switch or sensor inputs, with or without a micro-controller, to figure out how different components work together.  I'll probably kill a few along the way, but I don't consider that a bad thing.

Thanks Dave for bringing up this topic, as that's what finally got me to sign up here.

EDIT: Having re-read the thread, I can see a lot of hostility for Arduino and RaspPi communities.  Arduino and RaspPi are designed to bridge the gap between the software and the hardware, there are users who will be more interested in one side more than the other, and maybe they don't want or need to deal with the other side.

I'm only finding my own way right now, I've dabbled in electronics, and I've dabbled in coding, I know that I like the flexibility of working in both spheres.  I've been teaching myself to code for Arduino, and I often find myself building 5v circuits on a breadboard with switches, wires and LEDs (and some basic logic ICs) just to see how it all works.  I'm yet to purchase a Soldering Iron, it's on the to-buy list, but for now, I'm simply happy to tinker on a breadboard.

On Sunday, I purchased some 7-Segment Displays (Common Anode and Cathode), and figured out how to use them with a 74HC595 Shift-Register and the code required for an Arduino.  Last night I purchased some 8-way DIP switches and some BCD/Hex encoded rotary switches and a "4511" BCD decoder to do the heavy lifting of driving the 7-Segment Display, and after I wired it all up, I couldn't get it to work.  I've been thinking all morning about it, and I've come to the conclusion that it didn't work, simply because I forgot to put some pull-down resistors on the inputs, thus the "4511" was unable to determine the LOW state of the inputs.

I'll go home tonight and wire it up again with a few 10K resistors, and see if that fixes it.

And that's what I do.  That's what I enjoy, you can only read and watch so much, but actually getting your hands-on is where the fun it.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 02:38:42 pm by smadge1 »
 

Offline casper.bang

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2015, 02:59:31 pm »
I think Dave is being a bit too black and white about the subject (as he's known to be in general), one does not exclude the other.

When I found my way back into electronics some 2-3 years ago, I was messing with all the classic IC's (555, CMOS gates, regulators and op-amps) but the stuff I build would require a surprising amount of parts and thus be expensive and consume a lot of power. Then I started playing with ATtiny stuff and all of a sudden, the stuff I built cost ½ as much because I could do button de-bounce in software (rather than Schmitt trigger), dim LED's using PWM (rather than resistors), measure ambient light using analog input of existing LED etc. etc. Does this mean I don't need to know about ohms law, parallel couping, serial coupling etc.? Of course not, it's all relevant, it's just that you got another abstraction layer to work on when it makes sense.

So to me, it's all electronics - electrons flowing through wires which you want to control.  :-//
 

Offline modrobert

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2015, 04:06:29 pm »
I'm glad I was born before this damned evil stuff.
The "arduino" started a whole new industry, community, marketing ... of whole dumb generation of people.

One generation thinks that it's better than the next. What else is new?



Hehe, great image (and I agree with the grumpy old guy).

The difference here is that you need electronics to design the Arduino device in the first place, to use the comic as metaphor, it would be more like the old neanderthal created the fire, and the young ignorant one only used the fire to cook food (without ever knowing how to actually start a fire).
 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2015, 04:22:43 pm »
Why learnbasic electronics ?
Who's going to make new shields if nobody knows the basics ?
That only warrants that at least somebody must know about electronics to make shields, etc.
And that opens the opportunity to start selling them to suckers^Wwannabe-makers who cannot make them.
So yeah, it is worth to learn electronics  :D

BTW: isn't that basically Adafruit's Ladyada history?
 

Offline smadge1

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2015, 04:49:52 pm »
Some people learn by reverse engineering. I fully intend to create my own Arduino on a breadboard very soon, I know it's not difficult, but it's just another step.

My biggest problem at the moment is taking Ohms Law to heart, I still have difficulty figuring it all out.

Kinda like when I try to read sheet music, I know the mnemonics, the notes, the durations, all the technical stuff, but it is a frustrating and slow process to turn it into something resembling music.

So, just like a good musician, I need to practice this stuff, and build something new every day.
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2015, 05:10:25 pm »
Also regarding the flashing LED, what if flashing one LED is all that you need to do ? woould you spend 10 bucks for an arduino to flash the led or spend 50 cents and 20 minutes of your time to do it with a 555 timer ?

Neither.

I would use a  flashing LED and a series resistor, and be done before the 555 or Arduino approaches get started.  8)

Although if you then go with the follow up of "what if you need to flash 100 of them?" that approach doesn't work so well because you just massively inflated the cost of your BOM.

I guess it also depends on your requirements; self flashing LEDs are fixed rate within a tolerance, iirc.  555 would let you set the rate you wanted.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline igendel

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #46 on: May 28, 2015, 06:11:57 pm »
Due to internet pipe plumbing issues, I'm joining this discussion a bit late.

 This is a topic that's really close to my heart, being someone who started with Arduino and zero electronics knowledge some three years ago (but with reasonable command of programming, from the days programmers had to be aware how much RAM their machine have  ;) ).

First, the "connect the black boxes" attitude is definitely not limited to the electronics part. Far too many makers treat code libraries the same way, have only a vague notion of coding, and when something goes wrong (or needs adjusting) have no idea how to approach it.

Second, the industry is all too happy with this situation, because it means selling more stuff to "lazy" makers. It's a vicious cycle actually: the more modules are available, the less incentive makers have to learn (provided that they are willing to continue to play in this designated sandpit), and they will seek more modules...

Granted, building with blocks can be a fun activity in itself, not everyone has to be an expert in everything, if the job gets done etc. etc. What's really bothering, to me at least, is that Arduino et al. presented such a great opportunity for getting people into electronics and programming, but became a new type of Lego instead.
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Offline N2IXK

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #47 on: May 28, 2015, 08:50:31 pm »
Also regarding the flashing LED, what if flashing one LED is all that you need to do ? woould you spend 10 bucks for an arduino to flash the led or spend 50 cents and 20 minutes of your time to do it with a 555 timer ?

Neither.

I would use a  flashing LED and a series resistor, and be done before the 555 or Arduino approaches get started.  8)

Although if you then go with the follow up of "what if you need to flash 100 of them?" that approach doesn't work so well because you just massively inflated the cost of your BOM.

I guess it also depends on your requirements; self flashing LEDs are fixed rate within a tolerance, iirc.  555 would let you set the rate you wanted.

Of course.  But within the constraints stated ("flashing one LED is all you need to do"), the flashing LED seems the way to go.  That's another part of "knowing electronics"--a familiarity with what kinds of components are available, and when a specialty part will do the job faster/cheaper/better than cobbling together a solution from other components.

And you CAN use a flashing LED to flash multiple LEDs placed  in series with it.  8)
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Offline Yansi

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #48 on: May 28, 2015, 08:55:11 pm »
You also can use CAN to flash multiple LEDs in series.  :-DD
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #49 on: May 28, 2015, 10:32:43 pm »
What is normal? And why aspire towards it? I've always wondered...
The Kardashians and their friends have redefined a new low-water mark for normal.
It isn't hard to rise above that!
Just don't lose sight of social relevance.  it's no use developing the best thing in their world if it doesn't fit current community expectations or goals.
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 


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