Author Topic: Going further with Electronics  (Read 3267 times)

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Offline trevorford

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Going further with Electronics
« on: February 23, 2015, 04:47:51 am »
Hi everyone,
Currently I am just a high school student, I've taken a few basic electronics classes at my school (Which is all they offer) and have had a very big interest in electronics for about a year and a half. I do my own projects at home and have designed a few pcb's and gotten them made (I even managed to sell a couple!). I'm starting to get a bit more serious about electronics and I was wondering if anyone had any advice, stories or past experience they would like to share on the topic. I'm looking into some electronics engineering courses around where I live and I was just hoping to see what other people have to say about taking it from a hobby to a career before I get involved myself.

Thanks in advance,
Trevor.
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2015, 06:47:01 am »
Perhaps give us some ideas of what you know and what you have so far managed, help for someone who has just gotten there head around transistors will be different to someone who has built a radio transceiver, etc
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 06:52:10 am »
This started back on January 21st, not sure if you'll be able to catch up but worth a try.

https://www.edx.org/course/embedded-systems-shape-world-utaustinx-ut-6-02x
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2015, 01:05:27 pm »
Keep playing with stuff!  Hobbyists are few and far between these days.  You're already doing better than 90% of EE students, who have no starting experience at all!  Just be prepared to grasp the theoretical as well as practical stuff.  Math *is* good, and will greatly expand your understanding of the world, if you let it. :)

Tim
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2015, 01:55:02 pm »
Decide on a project that interests you, and complete it. It should stretch your knowledge and capabilities, but must be achievable. The definition of "interesting" "completed" and "achievable" is entirely up to you. One of the things that distinguishes Nobel Laureates from us is that they chose the most difficult topic they could solve.

Once you have "completed" it, an employer will be pleased to have something to read/talk about. You will be able to emphasise you can demonstrate:
  • doing more than necessary, simply because enjoy it => you'll enjoy working for them
  • setting realistic stretch goals
  • perserverence
  • achievement
  • assessment of what went right/wrong
  • what you will do better next time; 20:20 hindsight is, of course, perfect :)
Employers will value all of that - or if they don't then you've found who you don't want to work for!

And the most important thing is "have fun, safely"!
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline trevorford

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 05:36:53 am »
Perhaps give us some ideas of what you know and what you have so far managed, help for someone who has just gotten there head around transistors will be different to someone who has built a radio transceiver, etc

I'm not entirely sure what you're asking for but hopefully i can come close to an answer. I have a pretty good knowledge about all the basic components except inductors (I understand how they work just not how they are useful), I've designed and built two pcb's through osh park and am in the process of making a third, It's a surface mount arduino, I (somewhat) designed the circuit basing it off the datasheet for the ic and the arduino nano and the boarduino. I have taken a basic electronics class at school but all I really got out of it was knowledge on how to use test equipment like multimeters, scopes and function generators. I've also done some intermediate arduino and raspberry pi projects.

Hopefully this covers what you're asking,
Trevor
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 05:38:47 am by trevorford »
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 09:21:53 am »
Ok,

I'll start off with the remaining passive, inductors, for you an easier to understand function, say you have your arduino and a large relay / motor both running off the same power supply rail, if you wanted to filter away the noise of the motor from the arduino you could fit a low resistance inductor in series of its power rail, so that current can flow, but any sudden spikes or dips are smoothed away. also known as an LC filter

as you get the basics this site can get you up a few rungs of the lader quickly
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/index.html

as far as your projects go it sounds like your more interested in digital circuits and micro controllers, you can already read datasheets so your well on your way, in reality building projects is one of the best ways to learns, using theory on the side to tweak your methods or understand new concepts,

a step up for you could be to simply try peeling back the arduino in small steps to get more used to working with the AVR's registers, e.g. the pin direction and output registers, for most AVR chips you can toggle a pin very close to half the clock rate. and you can have the ADC measure something while you run other code, by using the registers, etc, or abuse the timers to count something while you do something else,

 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2015, 10:36:11 am »
Keep playing with stuff!  Hobbyists are few and far between these days.  You're already doing better than 90% of EE students, who have no starting experience at all!  Just be prepared to grasp the theoretical as well as practical stuff.  Math *is* good, and will greatly expand your understanding of the world, if you let it. :)

Tim

Totally agree with this, I was staggered how little practical experience any of my peers had on my EE course well over 30 years ago, and I doubt it's change a huge amount.

Don't be put off by failure, you won't learn much if you're not making a few mistakes. I make them most days. Only the other day I blew up three or four SMPS regulator chips chasing a board bug of mine. I find that I tend to remember a lot better from failure than you do reading a book or being taught at.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2015, 10:55:26 am »
Keep playing with stuff!  Hobbyists are few and far between these days.  You're already doing better than 90% of EE students, who have no starting experience at all!  Just be prepared to grasp the theoretical as well as practical stuff.  Math *is* good, and will greatly expand your understanding of the world, if you let it. :)

Tim
Don't be put off by failure, you won't learn much if you're not making a few mistakes. I make them most days. Only the other day I blew up three or four SMPS regulator chips chasing a board bug of mine. I find that I tend to remember a lot better from failure than you do reading a book or being taught at.

Old skiing aphorism: if you aren't falling down 10 times a day, you aren't trying hard enough.

Failure may well help memory, but I'm not so sure it helps learning. Failure is, however, a byproduct of learning, and can be vital precursor to progress: the most exciting words in science are "That's funny...".

Have fun, safely.
Make new mistakes.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2015, 01:32:35 pm »
I will add the note...

Although failure is a good way to learn, the wise learn from the failures of others.

Work smarter, not harder.

You can bang your head against something for days on end, and get nowhere.  You can take a break and do something fun, and a solution will pop into your head.

For all the projects I've made, I haven't burned very many transistors.  Some have told stories, bragged even, about "buckets" filled with burned transistors.  This approach does not make sense to me; you repeat something ten times, and ten times it blows the transistors -- what have you leaned?  Only one way how to not do it (p <= 0.05).  Strive to research and understand the inner workings of your devices and circuits; the transistor is blowing because of peak voltage or current, but why?  Get out the scope and see what that's coming from.  Can you fix it in the control circuitry?  Does it need a hardware fix?  Can you put in a snubber, is that a good idea?  Will it burn too much power?

Stuff like that.  Thinking creatively about solutions is, by far, the most valuable skill you can offer, in any field!

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline trevorford

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Re: Going further with Electronics
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 03:43:56 pm »
Ok,

I'll start off with the remaining passive, inductors, for you an easier to understand function, say you have your arduino and a large relay / motor both running off the same power supply rail, if you wanted to filter away the noise of the motor from the arduino you could fit a low resistance inductor in series of its power rail, so that current can flow, but any sudden spikes or dips are smoothed away. also known as an LC filter

as you get the basics this site can get you up a few rungs of the lader quickly
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/index.html

as far as your projects go it sounds like your more interested in digital circuits and micro controllers, you can already read datasheets so your well on your way, in reality building projects is one of the best ways to learns, using theory on the side to tweak your methods or understand new concepts,

a step up for you could be to simply try peeling back the arduino in small steps to get more used to working with the AVR's registers, e.g. the pin direction and output registers, for most AVR chips you can toggle a pin very close to half the clock rate. and you can have the ADC measure something while you run other code, by using the registers, etc, or abuse the timers to count something while you do something else,

Thanks for that link it looks really great! I just bought a couple attiny85's so hopefully those can give me some good experience on the avr side of things.
 


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