Author Topic: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?  (Read 12743 times)

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Offline ecowarrior

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Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« on: February 19, 2011, 05:45:55 pm »
I can build from a circuit OK, but I'd kinda like to start understanding WHY the circuit does what it does, and eventually get to the point where I can design my own.  It's easy enough to understand OHMs law and what a resistor does and a capacitor and all the rest of it, and which way electrons flow, but I'm still struggling to understand WHY resistors are put here there and everywhere.

Any advice? (good books, websites, pretty girls, etc.?)
 

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 05:52:02 pm »
hm pretty girls ? how do they help in learning ? apart from being a goal to achive in impressing them but girls are seldom impressed by boys technical skills unless they make thier life easier  ;D

You could try "the art of electronics" although I personally don't like it's style and layout, there are many books but most of of dubios standing particularly thise about microcontrollers written by authors that will tackle any hobby they feel will make a saleable book.

this forum, there is a website called all about circuits that has ebooks to download, you can also glean some info from manufacturers datasheets
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Offline ecowarrior

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 05:54:00 pm »
I need somebody to pass me the components, and so I thought pretty girls would come in handy :)

The Art of Electronics does keep getting mentioned, but it seems to be so expensive now even 2nd hand.  (supply and demand I guess).
 

Offline ecowarrior

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 05:55:01 pm »
'all about circuits' - ah yeh, got those on my kindle, currently working my way through the first one.
 

Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 06:09:44 pm »
and so I thought pretty girls would come in handy :)



To quote the captain in opration peticoat: "I can think of any number of uses but not here and now" - well hang on I'm having second thoughts about that  :P
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 06:43:59 pm »
hm pretty girls ? how do they help in learning ? apart from being a goal to achive in impressing them but girls are seldom impressed by boys technical skills unless they make thier life easier  ;D
Unbelievably brains are one of the things on many women's wish lists.
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/396386

Oh any I think there are plenty of highly intelligent men who don't like school, computers, star wars etc. they might be into cars, mechanics etc.
 

Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 06:50:08 pm »
and then you wonder why the jerks got girl friends  ;D particularly if you don't. I don't care for statistics and results of "researches", they are just statistic and researches and not a true evluation of life often done on a selected type of population merely toprove a point.
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Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 07:10:33 pm »
with reference to an earlier post see: Operation Petticoat Part 5/13 from 5:20
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Offline metalphreak

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 07:14:15 pm »
http://books.google.com/books?id=bkOMDgwFA28C&lpg=PP1&dq=art%20of%20electronics&pg=PA28#v=onepage&q&f=false

You can learn a lot just from reading the free pages provided by Google Books. Worth having a read through and seeing if its the kind of book you're after. I think it's well worth the $80 :)

For obvious reasons, google leaves out a few pages every 10 or so.

Offline Zero999

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 08:24:55 pm »
and then you wonder why the jerks got girl friends  ;D particularly if you don't. I don't care for statistics and results of "researches", they are just statistic and researches and not a true evluation of life often done on a selected type of population merely toprove a point.
Has it ever occurred to you that jerks are often pretty intelligent?

I remember a few of them in my A-level chemistry and computing classes and they all got pretty good grades. Manipulative men attract women and it just so happens that brains are required to do that - just because they don't put their brains to work at school doesn't mean they don't have them.

It's a known fact that women are attracted to self confidence and low self esteem has been shown to shrink the brain which seems to suggest they're less mentally able.
http://www.wellsphere.com/complementary-alternative-medicine-article/low-self-esteem-shrinks-brain/437691

If I think back to my school days, it wasn't the most clever children which were bullied most but those that didn't fit in, many of whom were just stupid or had a poor start in life. The smarter kids didn't get bullied too much because they were quick witted enough to respond to piss taking and had the sense to keep out of trouble.

I wasn't the most intelligent child in the school but I wasn't stupid either. I was in the bottom set for subjects such as English and French but I was average at Maths and well above in science and electronics. I got bullied, partly because I didn't fit in (dyslexic, a difficult family life - my dad being ill didn't help) but more because I tried to fit in which ultimately meant me doing stupid stuff to impress the bullies, getting into trouble and bullied more. Obviously other kids with worse problems but didn't get so much crap because they were good at something cool like sport or they had a stronger character than me.

I think there's a lot to be said about wrong stereotypes. Another thing people often get wrong is that the most intelligent people are shit at sport, yet exercise has been proven to improve brain function so the smartest people will be those who do some sport but don't excel at it because they also study.
 

Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 08:30:17 pm »
well we are probably going way off topic here. In Italy it was those that were clever that got bullied, some of my teachers trying to "exite" the studends into being more productive did make the mistake of drawing a comparison with me who got on well despite a language barrier.

I got a little more respect when I just refused to help with English homework and explained that I'd be happy to help as and when i wanted and not in the middle of an electronics class which I happened to have more interest in that helping other people with their homework and that I could leave them "in it" with no home work done. I already suspected that our english teacher realized that I helped most of the class in their home work.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 08:40:18 pm by Simon »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 11:34:49 am »
good books, websites, pretty girls, etc.?
https://www.youtube.com/user/jeriellsworth?blend=2&ob=1  :)
Seriously. You will learn stuff.
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
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Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 12:13:19 pm »
hm yes read head rock  ;D
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Offline saturation

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 03:57:47 pm »
Get one of those electronics learning labs kits; and rather than just building each quickly by connecting wires slowly understand how each device works and how connections are made.  A lab like this costs runs between $50-300 depending on how many components are in there; you'll also need at least a DMM, in this case get one of cheapos $5-10 its good enough to measure these kits and it won't cost you too much.

http://www.super-science-fair-projects.com/electronics-lab-for-students.html

You can google for the top of the line one, listed for $300, for as low as $200.




Over years, an engineer builds his 'bag of tricks' learning each device, new ones that come to market, and how to stick them together optimally.

Don't rush, remember professional EE spend an entire year studying the basics, and 4 years to get a degree, and the field is so large, many specialize in one area.  You can't get through everything in a few weeks, nor hope to grasp everything even if you are a pro; but if you have the basics down pat, many 'new' things are a variation of the same song.  So aim small, miss small, and if you decide to quit, your expense on gear won't be too much.



I can build from a circuit OK, but I'd kinda like to start understanding WHY the circuit does what it does, and eventually get to the point where I can design my own.  It's easy enough to understand OHMs law and what a resistor does and a capacitor and all the rest of it, and which way electrons flow, but I'm still struggling to understand WHY resistors are put here there and everywhere.

Any advice? (good books, websites, pretty girls, etc.?)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 04:00:16 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 04:07:11 pm »
To be honest I'd say invest the money in a couple of decent sized breadboards and some parts:

A full resistor kit, most of the capacitor kit, 555, opamp such as TL082, some basic BJT or mosfet transistors like 2N7000, IRF540, IRF9540, a few potentiometers idealy 1K, 10K & 100K and anything else.
To be honest those labs are ok for kids, I never really learnt much from mine
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 05:29:19 pm »
I agree, those labs aren't much good.

Nowadays you can lean lots off the Internet.

As far as resistors and capacitors are concerned, start with a kit of E12 resistors (10, 12, 15, 18, 22, 27, 33, 39, 47, 56, 68, 82 values)  between 10R and 1M and an E3 kit of capacitors (10, 22 and 47 values) from 10pF to 1000µF. Most component suppliers stock such kits, failing that try ebay.

I'd recommend some comparators (LM311, LM393, LM399) and CMOS logic gates (CD4011, CD4001, 74HC00, 74HC04 and 74HC14) but don't worry too much about them as the most complicated problems are easier solved using MCUs.

Some voltage regulators are handy (LM7805 and LM317).

I also recommend a mains powered DC supply otherwise you'll find yourself wasting money on batteries or waiting ages for them to recharge. I would recommend buying a wall plug DC adaptor, rather than spending loads of money on an expensive power supply. If you buy a 15V wall plug, you can create a 5V supply and a 1.2V to 12V variable PSU using the LM7805 and LM317 respectively. For a bipolar +/-12V supply for op-amp circuit you could, use a 12VAC mains adaptor, an LM78L12 and LM79L12.

I can post some circuits for mains PSUs if you like.
 

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2011, 05:36:43 pm »
if your buying "kits" from the likes of farnell or RS don't get the "kits" but select your own. The kits generally cost about twice if not more per part as oposed to choosing your own
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Offline saturation

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2011, 05:25:12 am »
I agree with all the folks who say buying parts wisely likely would be cheaper than if you bought a learning lab; but that presumes you already know something about electronics to know how to choose, buy and assemble parts.

But if the OP is talking of the basics, the other thing you pay for in the labs is the curricula covered in the manual that comes with it, its your "personal teacher."  

http://www.radioshack.com/graphics/uc/rsk/Support/ProductManuals/2800027_P1_PM_EN.pdf



Which you can persue now before buying a lab.

If you know at least as much as what's in the pdf above, you're ready to buy parts ala cart.  To know more about components, you'll also need some test gear, which means more money out than the upfront cost of the lab, so before you go there, have you really outgrown the learning labs ?  You'll also need a better textbook, like the $80 Art of Electronics.

The net is a great reference, but teaching basic concepts is very personal, if it weren't so the Art of Electronics and other textbooks wouldn't be selling today as everyone simply used the Internet as a textbook.  

http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=2116.msg31411#new

While good, it has missing pieces compared to Art, if this is the piece needed for your design, your design will have problems.  You need to be aware of most all phenomena that can affect a design to make it work to spec.  The final piece of Art.... is it was written with the goal of getting readers to design circuits, not simply to know electronic phenomena independently, so it focus on integrating things into working systems is a plus.




« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 05:32:42 am by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2011, 02:04:28 pm »
I've got to agree with Saturation those science lab kits are wicked. Follow the manual, modify, let out the magic smoke, find out why, fix, test and move on to the next one. Experience comes with practice and a price... Time and money (to put the magic smoke back in the box). The manual will only tell you how to build the circuit and maybe a brief explanation of how it works. After that it is up to you to research and experiment. Enjoy!
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
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Online Simon

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2011, 05:47:58 pm »
I think that now that "online" has taken off in the world there are plenty of sources of information. I had the Tandy 200:1 kit, Yea i learnt a few tid bits from it but not much, I found it boring to be honest ansd the explanations were not too detailed.

In todays day and age of freely available and very accessible information a breadboard with a handful of choice parts can give you much more scope and you can go in the direction you want to go which will motivate you further as oposed to being tied down to what someone else wants to teach you as a hobbiest, hell even wikipedia has diagrams and explanations on it.
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2011, 07:38:26 pm »
I've read the manual for the kit suggested and don't think it's very good. I probably would've got bored pretty quickly. I think some principles are over-explained whilst others not enough.
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2011, 10:08:37 pm »
I've read the manual for the kit suggested and don't think it's very good. I probably would've got bored pretty quickly. I think some principles are over-explained whilst others not enough.
Like everything you only get out what you put in. One of the biggest complaints is the manual but as a starting point they take a lot of beating. You can also try crocodile technology sims as well http://www.crocodile-clips.com/en/Crocodile_Technology/. Uses the new Yenka engine and is supposed to be very good but it fails to render on my machine (never bothered to find out why). It has a free home license for students or home use
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Offline ecowarrior

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2011, 11:57:46 pm »
Great info here, thanks a lot guys.

Learnt one valuable lesson today - just finished my second project build - and while I *had* laid everything out on paper properly first, and checked it, and spent time checking as I went along.... I still got it wrong! You live and learn!  A bit of debugging and it's all working fine now.
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2011, 12:21:01 am »
Great info here, thanks a lot guys.

Learnt one valuable lesson today - just finished my second project build - and while I *had* laid everything out on paper properly first, and checked it, and spent time checking as I went along.... I still got it wrong! You live and learn!  A bit of debugging and it's all working fine now.
First step down a long road. Keep it up.
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
MOONDOG
 

Offline qno

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Re: Best way to learn how to design your own circuits?
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2011, 01:18:15 pm »
Try to find the Forrest Mims Engineers Notebook and / or Mini Notebooks.
Why spend money I don't have on things I don't need to impress people I don't like?
 


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