Author Topic: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?  (Read 31612 times)

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Offline Galenbo

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2015, 12:08:46 am »
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.

And now get specific and implemented with your own sentence.
Define the current "community expectations", define the community, their world, the goals, define fitting.
And don't come up with the current situation, what currently exists, because you want to do something that makes a little change.

Your kind of sentences are easyly used afterwards from the sideway, passively confirming what has already happened.
If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline AF6LJ

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2015, 12:25:13 am »
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.

Normal?
NO
They are Abnormal, dysfunctional and freaky.
{and I don't mean that in a good way}
Sue AF6LJ
Test Equipment Addict, And Proud Of It.
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2015, 02:34:56 am »
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.

And now get specific and implemented with your own sentence.
Define the current "community expectations", define the community, their world, the goals, define fitting.
And don't come up with the current situation, what currently exists, because you want to do something that makes a little change.

Your kind of sentences are easyly used afterwards from the sideway, passively confirming what has already happened.
Community values and expectations change over time...
The Stanley auto company were a success for several years, but disappeared as market forces changed.
But look again - maybe steam powered vehicles could come back in vogue with modern environmental consciousness.
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 

Offline N2IXK

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2015, 02:57:47 am »
But look again - maybe steam powered vehicles could come back in vogue with modern environmental consciousness.

Water vapor is already the most abundant greenhouse gas in our atmosphere....
"My favorite programming language is...SOLDER!"--Robert A. Pease
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #54 on: May 29, 2015, 03:26:31 am »
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.  :-//

I agree, it is all electronics.  You didn't feel the need to go back to basics when you started because you had modules like op-amps and 555 timers available.  I bet you didn't decide to use Philbrick (room heater) op-amps.  Today the modules are generally more flexible and better.  You still need to understand what you are trying to do and what the pieces can do to put it together into something useful.  Simple things like the effect of a 10 bit A/D on resolution and noise come into play quickly.  As I said above, those who want to go somewhere different will learn what they need to learn. 

There is a similar, but backward process for us old-timers.  How much new stuff will we learn beyond the basics we have had in the toolbox for decades.  How good a coding wiz do we want to become?  Is OOP really necessary to implement that SW based radio?  Will we lean on the Arduino code base, or go to our own custom design (even though we know both will get the functional results we are looking for, just possibly a little better or more elegant with the custom design)?  How much will we learn to get where we are going?  Some will never dip their toe in the new waters.  Others will become quite proficient.  And the majority will learn enough to get the latest project working.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2015, 04:53:16 am »
Everybody started with black boxes hooking things together, before it was those electronic kits then graduated to Z80 6502 6809 or if you had a ton of money 68000, that plus TTL 7400 series or CMOS 4000 series.

I don't see why Arduino/Pi/Beaglebone/Launchpa etc would be any different. You just start playing with things and eventually you need to dig deeper.

Maybe some forgot their 1st steps?
Or maybe I'm totally off and it really doesn't compare.
 

Online igendel

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2015, 05:58:17 am »
I don't see why Arduino/Pi/Beaglebone/Launchpa etc would be any different. You just start playing with things and eventually you need to dig deeper.

In principle you are correct. My impression, though, is that the variety and scale of things you can do with "black boxes" (hardware and code) today are much greater than in the past. This causes a serious "withdrawal syndrome" when you do start to dig deeper - you have to step down from, say, driving  a robot car with your smartphone to calculating the resistor values for some voltage divider. Arduino has such a great comfort zone, most hobbyists just don't want to leave.

About the Beaglebone I disagree. I have a BBB and everything I know about Linux I learned from trying to get the little mutt to work  ;D
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Offline Philbywhizz

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2015, 10:25:35 am »
I don't see why Arduino/Pi/Beaglebone/Launchpa etc would be any different. You just start playing with things and eventually you need to dig deeper.

Exactly! This is how I have gotten bitten by the electronics bug. I'm an IT/software guy by 'trade' and playing around with Arduino and blinking a few lights is fine to start with. But I wanted to know how it works and what can I do to extend it further (not at the software level, but at the hardware).

Right now I'm currently building my own 8x8 led matrix with a Max7219 chip to control it, and hooking 2 of them up (so I have a 16x8 'screen'). Sure I could by a pre-built on on ebay, but where is the fun and learning in that!

I'm even moving off the micro off the main Arduino board and running it stand-alone (and programming the chip with my own programmer I built). Sure many of the designs I've taken from online (like the programmer), but I've learnt so much. Doing pre-made kits are good but eventually you crave for more!

I've even made a circuit using no microcontroller, from a schematic to a manufactured pcb (just a 555 timer) and learnt so much along the way (mistakes are GOOD at learning).

My wife even caught me watching Edx EE videos the other night as well! (I might need help).

I've learnt all this in the space of about 12 months. I'm far from an expert (I still struggle with capacitors and inductance and analog stuff). If I didn't dig deeper and want to learn the basics then I wouldn't be having so much fun.

I blame Dave for my new addiction. :)
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2015, 10:33:43 am »
My wife even caught me watching Edx EE videos the other night as well! (I might need help).
They do have nice courses and they are getting more all the time.

I'm far from an expert (I still struggle with capacitors and inductance and analog stuff).

Maybe these videos by fellow forum member w2aew might help:






I blame Dave for my new addiction. :)

Yeah Dave, what about that? ;)
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2015, 12:08:48 pm »
As an EE I'm totally on board with learning fundamentals.... but...

Why does the 555 timer always seem to come up as an important beginning build block component?  I don't get it.  It's kind of a specialty IC that really isn't used much these days.  It's kind of like saying that if you don't use the LTC1563 Butterworth Low pass IC that you are really missing out.  Which is actually true, but only in the rare case that you actually need that chip.  Same with the 555.  If you were to buy one-hundred 555 chips to keep in your stock without a clear use for them, you will probably still have 99+ after 10 years.  Not that it means anything, but I've never personally used a 555 in any design or actually seen one in any real product I've taken apart.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2015, 12:12:23 pm »
555 in 2015 is a gimmick chip. Look at me, I can blink LEDs... except you could to that with two bloody transistors... Nobody uses the thing anymore, let's leave it back in the 80s where it belongs...
No longer active here - try the IRC channel if you just can't be without me :)
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2015, 12:46:41 pm »
next EEVBlab...... "Why so much 555 hate?"
 

Offline djacobow

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #62 on: May 29, 2015, 12:53:03 pm »
Why learn anything that you do not need to learn in order to do what you want?

Because it is interesting?
Because it enriches your life?
Because your just *like* to understand how things work?
Because the more you know about how the world works, the more you see connections?

I almost think that if you have to ask the question, you don't get it.

 Learning is a joy unto itself. Electricity is weird and mysterious and wonderful, and no matter how much you know, you never completely master it. What's not to love about that?

And yes, *practically* learning EE has bennies, too, because your projects will be more likely to work, more likely to come under in under budget, and you'll be free of the constraints of what others are willing to do for you.

So says this curmudgeonly old EE.

-- dave
 

Offline casper.bang

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #63 on: May 29, 2015, 02:09:18 pm »
bloody transistor... Nobody uses the thing anymore, let's leave it back in the 90s where it belongs...

Ser what I just did there? :p
 

Offline Maister

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #64 on: May 29, 2015, 04:50:22 pm »
I don't know why to discuss about this so extensively.

You just cannot build everything with your Arduino or R-Pi, because this is only (mostly) the low power, digital stuff.

For example: I am currently building my own electric bike out of a regular bike and an electric Motor that I got out of a vacuum cleaner. I need to step up my battery voltage for that and supply hundrets of watts. Sure there is also a µC involved in my design for some sensing and controlling purpose,  but you simply cannot get a shield for why I am doing here. There are so large currents involved, that you even cannot manage this with "basic electronics knowledge", because these large currents are causing a lot of EMI issues when not layouted properly.


Cheers!
EE student at University in Hannover, Germany.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #65 on: May 29, 2015, 10:21:12 pm »
Why does the 555 timer always seem to come up as an important beginning build block component?  I don't get it.  ... but I've never personally used a 555 in any design or actually seen one in any real product I've taken apart.

Neiter me, but 20 years ago I found it very interesting to study its internals and working modes.
It came after stabilisation, transistors and filters, like the first realword use of all the concepts we learnt.

If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.
 

Offline Circlotron

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2015, 11:29:50 pm »
Understanding the really basic fundamentals of electronics is useful even when you are about to build someone else's circuit design. Out on the Interweb there are good, bad and plenty of really ugly circuits. With a bit of experience you can tell at a glance whether an particular circuit is going to do what you want, or even work as claimed for that matter. Free Energy websites are a good example of this kind of thing.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #67 on: May 31, 2015, 10:11:08 pm »
You don't have to know what it is that's killing your Arduinos/components?

PS: Fluke 27FM!
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #68 on: June 05, 2015, 05:42:20 pm »
This is a microcosm of a problem with many people:

They don't really understand how the real world works.

Most urban people 50 years ago could give you a reasonable idea of what happens when you turn on a light switch.
They mightn't know anything about Ohm's or Kirchoff's Laws,but they had enough imagination to visualise
current flowing in the wires,etc.
People knew how Internal Combustion Engines worked,or a Vacuum Cleaner.

There are fires every year,because people don't understand anything about candles.
They forget to pay the Electricity bill (Probably spent all their money on Crystal Meth),so they use the candles for light.
They then wander off & leave the naked flames unattended close to curtains,drapes,etc.---Hey presto! another house fire.


How many Gen Y's does it take to change a lightbulb?

600--One to find the App,& 599 to say "What's a lightbulb?

 

Offline hamster_nz

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2015, 06:22:10 pm »
But maybe they don't need to know those things anymore.

I don't know much about grinding wheat, or raising cattle, or digging a well or breaking in horses, or how to change a spark plug (well actually I do know that one, but prefer to have somebody else to it....).

I can actually knit (my mum taught me because I was interested) but I have never knitted anything other than a couple of hats to prove that I could. I can actually sew too, but never do so. Why would I when i can get clothes off the shelf for zero effort?

And in some ways hobby  electronics is like that too. I don't need to make my own amplifers or speakers - i can buy better for less. I don't need to wire my own cables or fiddle with microcontrollers - everything I want to build is out there somewhere on the internet for purchase. When a friend break their gadgets I can fix them and spend my time saving their money, I guess.....

I do it because I find it interesting and it is far more satisfying than watching TV or drinking beer.

So if somebody likes baking or kniting or making homebrewed beer, or like my wife has a stash of unused sewing fabric then who am I to qurstion it? Hobby electronics isn't more worthy - after all I spend a lot of my disposable income on little PCBs and parts I will most probably never get around to using.....

Oh the postman has just delivered me my four uSD card boards for a home-made RAID controller I am making for the fun of it.... Sorry I must go and fiddle!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 06:23:56 pm by hamster_nz »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #70 on: June 06, 2015, 12:29:13 am »
I do it because I find it interesting and it is far more satisfying than watching TV or drinking beer.

This!

And it's actually cheaper than going out just to get a hangover next day.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #71 on: June 06, 2015, 12:03:28 pm »
I do it because I find it interesting and it is far more satisfying than watching TV or drinking beer.

This!

And it's actually cheaper than going out just to get a hangover next day.

Did you notice the _nz after his nickname?
Maybe that means he is drinking New Zealand beer & watching New Zealand TV---hence the lack of satisfaction! ;D
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #72 on: June 06, 2015, 12:43:04 pm »
I know who Mike is and where he is from.

American shows are no better, at least for me. It drives my wife crazy that I don't watch TV with her and instead I'm tinkering.

A movie I can do, I just wont commit myself to watch episode after episode and most of the times get boring but you must watch it all to know what is going on, not my thing.

Same as going out, we do go out but not on a regular basis. Going out for dinner yes, going to the bar to drink and engage in mindless conversations, not my thing but I still do it once in a blue moon (edit: more to appease her than my need to go out just to drink)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 12:45:50 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline Syncopator

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #73 on: June 09, 2015, 06:41:33 am »
There has been a great response to the basic question. 

Rather than offer an answer, I would like to relate an incident which happened to me many decades ago.

I was, for a while, a Radio Officer (fancy name isn't it?) in the British Merchant Navy.  Somebody on board had acquired some low power electrical device which needed a 110Vac supply, and they wanted to use it on board.  The ship's supply was 220Vac.  I calculated the value of a series resistor which could be used, and the power it would need to dissipate.

Our next port of call was a very small town, the name of which escapes me, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence river.  I went ashore to try to acquire the desired resistor.  The first place I saw where I thought help might be available was a television repair shop. 

Having not taken proper advantage of my long-suffering French teacher's efforts at school, I had some difficulty in conveying what I sought, and why,  to the couple of technicians in the shop.  I got there in the end. 

It came as a great surprise that they had obviously forgotten, if they even knew in the first place, Ohm's Law, and struggled trying to verify the results of my (virtually mental) arithmetic to arrive at the numbers. 

Why learn the basics?  Hmmm .....
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Offline boston617

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Re: eevBLAB #10 - Why Learn Basic Electronics?
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2015, 11:24:52 am »
555 in 2015 is a gimmick chip. Look at me, I can blink LEDs... except you could to that with two bloody transistors... Nobody uses the thing anymore, let's leave it back in the 80s where it belongs...

I set up a VU meter kit that I had just finished for a project, and had to set the level adjustments. I used a 555, among a few other parts, on a pcb to make a basic adjustable square wave generator for a signal input.

The VU kit is a Velleman K4306 and the square wave gen is based on the 'dead bug' one here
Thanks to Dave, I'm now a believer of "Don't turn it on...tear it apart!".
 


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