Author Topic: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)  (Read 3764 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Andy-In_over_my_head

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Country: us
So I stopped counting.. but I'm around 10 weeks into this "hobby" now...
I stopped adding how much money I've invested into it mainly to avoid a divorce.....  :-DD
Along this whole process... I've constantly had to backtrack to learn vital components and subjects that were necessary to help wrap my head around the basics I blew right past in my first couple weeks.
I know it's asking a lot as I'm sure there is no easy answer to my questions/requests....

Assuming I'm starting off from an Elementary understanding of electricity...
(using "Elementary" as an understatement as at the start I saw the Negative on a battery and the "Negative" on mains as generally the same thing that meant Ground... I was clearly wrong.)
I understand the importance of books, I'm trying to read "Electronics from the Ground Up" but I can't seem to delegate my time towards a book while I have this "Play Bench" at my disposal...
ANYWAYS...
*Assuming they're quick learners with a drive to learn and educate themselves*
     - What fundamentals are most important to NOT bypass before going all in on a breadboard and buying anything and everything on Amazon you can shove in the breadboard holes every single time you go to the can to relieve yourself..?.?.
(I understand this question could require a lengthy response however I don't think many of my questions will be as important as the key fundamentals)
     - What should be avoided while random purchasing as to avoid confusion and not sitting on products that will gather dust for months.. or years... and possibly send you down another road that will confuse you further and sidetrack you from the areas that are more important to focus on first...
     - (Opinion question) Whats your best advice on a model/list/source that has a good course of where to focus energy in the first few months?
     - When the oscilloscope makes no sense and doesn't even seem to work correctly.. is it better to throw it out a window of your home, moving car, or pack a Co2 canister with gun powder, get it as deep and snug as you can into the scope, then blow the shit out of it!???? (The manual is just far too long, jumps all over the place... I just wanted a video that showed someone using the damn thing but not a single person could help with that... almost 4 weeks with a scope I can't get to work correctly... It shouldn't be so complicated from all the videos I have watched. So I'm literally about to blow it up and buy some trashy little Arduino based scope or a handheld... those seem to work out of the box..)
Sorry for that venting...
     - Is there a decent circuit simulator that has a good component directory for experimenting? (I purchased "ICircuit" and its UI is ridiculous... cannot copy and paste, and you have to figure out way too many specs to get a motor to function as it does on your breadboard... a lot of that stuff just isn't available especially when you just are trying to get a sense of the circuit while playing on a little trip in the truck.. I don't have that motor to look up the specs, nor do I have any part in general to look up specs.. I'm driving and playing a circuit board game... it's already pushing the limits on safety)
*Because a lot of us "Noobs" haven't dabbled into all of this, preferably not one that you have to get an "unzipping" program for just to get it to operate... there was far too many download requests and "are you sure you want to let this program make changes to your computer"... NO, I want my computer just the way it is... Arduino fucked it up enough thank you! (I should say inexperience with Arduino and electronics in general did a good number to my computer... Not Arduino itself)
Also if possible, one that can be opened on computer or phone... Maybe a cloud based one...
     - Aside from those questions, any advice for people like myself who put a lot of effort into learning this stuff is greatly appreciated...
I make constant adjustments to my bench, buy new items as I quickly outgrow the previous garbage I ignorantly purchased...
So any advice to avoid wasting more money down the road is greatly appreciated as well...

Thank you TONS in advance...

**PS: Someone... PLEASE do a damn review/how to... whatever.. on the Hantek DSO4102C... I'm too impatient for that manual...
almost everything has a "?" even when I'm hooked up to a 555 circuit that's supposed to have a Square wave.. maybe it's just me and I'm just trying to cram in too much information too quickly.. I'm sure more then one person in here knows the answer to that.....

Thanks!


"I'd rather be buried then ungrateful to be given life and food on the table. And in a world this shaky and unstable, we've got to be less hateful!"
 

Online tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9888
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2016, 02:30:33 pm »
So I stopped counting.. but I'm around 10 weeks into this "hobby" now...

10 weeks is nothing. If electronics was easy, everybody would be able to do it.

Quote
When the oscilloscope makes no sense and doesn't even seem to work correctly.. is it better to throw it out a window of your home, moving car, or pack a Co2 canister with gun powder, get it as deep and snug as you can into the scope, then blow the shit out of it!????

As with any tool, you have to learn how to use it. Old analogue CRT scopes are easier in that respect.

Quote
Is there a decent circuit simulator that has a good component directory for experimenting?

LTSpice is free and excellent, but you have to learn how to use it.

Quote
**PS: Someone... PLEASE do a damn review/how to... whatever.. on the Hantek DSO4102C... I'm too impatient for that manual...
almost everything has a "?" even when I'm hooked up to a 555 circuit that's supposed to have a Square wave.. maybe it's just me and I'm just trying to cram in too much information too quickly.. I'm sure more then one person in here knows the answer to that.....

Slow down. Think. Predict. Test.

If you really are too impatient to read a manual, I doubt I will be able to help you.
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 rstofer

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6397
  • Country: us
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 02:53:01 pm »
There is nothing unique about your scope.  It has AC/DC coupling, volts/div and time/div; just like every other scope.  Any tutorial including the one that's 'sticky' at the top of this forum will help.  Stick your finger on the probe tip.  You should get a wiggly line on the screen even when DC coupled.  Now, 60 Hz implies one cycle every 16 ms so something like 20 ms per division will result in slightly more than one full waveform every division.  Five ms per division will show one waveform over slightly more than 3 divisions.  Something you need to know?  How to do reciprocals in your head.  Notice how 60 Hz times 16.66... ms is equal to 1000.  That's a handy number, 1000.  Oh, try adjusting the Volts/div to get that wiggly line to change size in the vertical direction.  Start down around 1V/div with a 10x probe.

If you are working with DC stuff (logic, 555, etc), AC coupling will probably always be wrong.

You can't go far without Ohm's Law, Thevinin's Theorm and Norton's Theorm.  Ohm's Law is first, foremost, and used every day.  The other two are probably used every other day.

The Art Of Electronics Lab book is probably helpful as is the text itself.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 04:13:00 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline sainbablo

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Country: pk
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 03:07:24 pm »


Assuming I'm starting off from an Elementary understanding of electricity...
(using "Elementary" as an understatement as at the start I saw the Negative on a battery and the "Negative" on mains as generally the same thing that meant Ground... I was clearly wrong.)




Did something dastardly happen?
 

Offline Andy-In_over_my_head

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Country: us
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2016, 03:21:50 pm »
There is nothing unique about your scope.  It has AC/DC coupling, volts/div and time/div; just like every other scope.  Any tutorial including the one that's 'sticky' at the top of this forum will help. 

If only it were just an oscilloscope then I don't think I would be as confused...
I want to use the wave generator as well... while still having control of the scope..
That's where I'm frustrated...
Also... the little waves just won't get bigger and won't show the frequency.... just a "?" all the time..
"I'd rather be buried then ungrateful to be given life and food on the table. And in a world this shaky and unstable, we've got to be less hateful!"
 

Offline Andy-In_over_my_head

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Country: us
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2016, 03:35:41 pm »
If you really are too impatient to read a manual, I doubt I will be able to help you.

I guess I worded that a little different then I meant...
I'm impatient... not so much as to where I can't get through a manual.. I understand this is an important necessity...
BUUTTTT, (And I hate using "But")
I know a good amount of what I know and nothing of what I know nothing about..... make sense?
I have a lot to learn... so sometimes a review shows me enough to get through the functions...
If my only option is the manual... then I have a long day ahead of me...

With that said... I doubt you WONT be able to help me...
I'm sure there not a single person in the entire site that couldn't help and teach me something in some way...
"I'd rather be buried then ungrateful to be given life and food on the table. And in a world this shaky and unstable, we've got to be less hateful!"
 

Offline Andy-In_over_my_head

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Country: us
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2016, 03:40:23 pm »

Did something dastardly happen?

okay... Dastardly means different things in different countries...
here in the states, it means cowardly.... or having little courage....
Somewhere else this could mean evil and cruel....
Could you give an example?
(GOOGLE BY THE WAY... I HAD TO GOOGLE)

"I'd rather be buried then ungrateful to be given life and food on the table. And in a world this shaky and unstable, we've got to be less hateful!"
 

Online tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9888
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2016, 06:48:36 pm »
If you really are too impatient to read a manual, I doubt I will be able to help you.

I guess I worded that a little different then I meant...
I'm impatient... not so much as to where I can't get through a manual.. I understand this is an important necessity...
BUUTTTT, (And I hate using "But")
I know a good amount of what I know and nothing of what I know nothing about..... make sense?
I have a lot to learn... so sometimes a review shows me enough to get through the functions...
If my only option is the manual... then I have a long day ahead of me...

With that said... I doubt you WONT be able to help me...
I'm sure there not a single person in the entire site that couldn't help and teach me something in some way...

Summary... I know what to do and it will take me a day; I can't be bothered. Will someone please spend their time poorly duplicating existing information so that I can save some time.

Not me; maybe someone else will.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 06:51:28 pm by tggzzz »
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
 

Online tautech

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16013
  • Country: nz
  • Taupaki Technologies Ltd. NZ Siglent Distributor
    • Taupaki Technologies Ltd.
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 07:06:44 pm »
OP, take a few deep breaths.  :)

For your scope remember any signal must have a Reference connection and through the probe Reference lead this is also mains ground so be careful where you connect to a circuit so not to create a ground loop.
Check out Daves vid on "How to not blow up your scope".

Next, as much as I despise Autoset it is great for the novice to get started in scope use, use it and watch what settings are auto used and how that relates to what you see on the display.
I also strongly recommend that you set the probe and scope input attenuation to 10x and leave it there.

Apply the KISS principle until you can use your tools with more confidence. 555 and simple logic gate IC's are good to get that core understanding of basic principles. Build some Logic gate oscillators, 555 timers but remember anything you BB be sure to include local bulk capacitance and decoupling caps at IC VDD pins for the circuit bo behave as it should.
A BJT LED flasher is another good basic circuit to play with.

KISS and make it a fun not frustrating experience.
Little steps.  ;)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 07:10:13 pm by tautech »
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline sainbablo

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Country: pk
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 05:38:21 pm »

Did something dastardly happen?

okay... Dastardly means different things in different countries...
here in the states, it means cowardly.... or having little courage....
Somewhere else this could mean evil and cruel....
Could you give an example?
(GOOGLE BY THE WAY... I HAD TO GOOGLE)


My reply was never meant to be personal. Chambers English Dictionary says what you say but my usage of this term
was not a reflection on your actions or participation.. It's Adjective says "shrinking from danger". You could have been an observer witnessing such an experiment, which was ill conceived. Please don't take it personally. I think I have to be precise with words and avoid ambiguity.
It is in no way a reflection on your person. I consider this blog homely and well informed. Regards

 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2070
  • Country: ca
  • If you can buy it for 4$ on eBay, why design it?
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2016, 11:25:56 pm »

It is in no way a reflection on your person. I consider this blog homely and well informed. Regards

You may want to refer to your dictionary again...
 

Online vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4865
  • Country: au
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2016, 03:49:31 am »
Almost everywhere except North America "homely" used to mean  "comfortable",friendly " "welcoming"------"home like" in fact.

In NA, it means "plain",or even "ugly".
Unfortunately,the NA meaning seems to have all but supplanted the other one.

I would dispute the meaning of "dastardly".
Many people may shrink from danger---this just shows commonsense!
The more common understanding of the term is more along the lines of "evil & cruel,but cowardly at the same time".
That is pretty much a description of a Villain from a Melodrama.

Unfortunately,in the real world,the worst villains are not cowardly in the sense of "shrinking from danger",& will face danger willingly if by so doing,they get to pursue their nasty schemes.
 
The following users thanked this post: sainbablo

Offline Electro Fan

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2016, 04:03:11 am »
Slow down. Think. Predict. Test.

Big +1 for this.  :-+

Sometimes there is a tendency to solve each problem fast so you can move on to the next, and then when you hit a hurdle it's very tempting to ask for help - especially here in the forums where you can find help pretty readily.

The key is, whether you work through it alone or whether you ask for help or do both, to make sure you go at least slow enough to first think through it to the point of predicting what should happen. Then if it doesn't happen as predicted and if you can't think of more things to predict and test, and if your research (Google, etc.) doesn't bring any more ideas to predict and test, then you would be at a good time to ask for help.

Just make sure you are going at least slow enough to predict and test.  It's both fun and great for learning.

It can help to have a goal  in mind.  You can break the goal into smaller objectives that are big enough to be meaningful to the goal and small enough to be achievable.  A goal can help you prioritize - what to do, what to ask, what to learn.  If you have a specific goal in mind and you are learning and having fun and making progress toward your goal you should be in good shape (assuming your goal is worthwhile).

I think your interest in simulators is worth exploring.  However, before you get too far into simulators I have a hunch there are easier, more basic, and more accessible tools available, especially via Google and youtube in particular.  Just my opinion, I could be wrong (often am) but if you can't get an oscilloscope to work well enough that you want to throw it out the window I don't think a simulator will help all that much.  Not that an oscilloscope will solve all the problems a simulator can (they are different tools), but if operating an oscilloscope isn't enjoyable and rewarding it might be that you need to spend more time researching how to use a scope.  In particular, search on youtube for videos by WAE2W.  He has tremendous videos on ways to use oscilloscopes, and much more.  So asking questions, and doing some research is pretty important (which you are doing here, so hopefully the replies here will help get you on a good path).

Beyond (in addition to) research another very, very important key as tggzzz says is to continually hypothesize and test.  It's kind of at the epicenter of science and learning.

As for test equipment, there are threads you can find here that have opinions on what to buy for almost any budget.  Personally, when I scan the stuff sitting here, I'd say a couple entry level DMMs, a modest power supply, an oscilloscope, a simple function generator, breadboards, basic components (including a fair stock of resistors and LEDs) and simple tools (wire cutters, etc.) and after that no sense in adding more stuff until you decide on what you want to test and build.  (If you can't get Ohm's Law to help you predict what will happen with circuit measurements, keep working on Ohm's Law.  If Ohm's Law is easy for you, find some other "laws" to learn.)  With the stuff mentioned here you could find lots of projects to build/test/modify/test, etc. and be pretty well set - and each new project will inform you about what else you might need to acquire in order to undertake the project.  But it all needs to be driven by your curiosity and goals.  In parallel, keep reading (you pretty much have to read some manuals some time, along with reading articles and watching videos on the web).  If you are hungry to learn you have to be hungry for information.  Almost any question you can frame can be answered or at least somewhat addressed on the web (just be reasonably thoughtful about what you accept as facts).  If you are really stumped as to what to ask, ask for a curriculum that will help you learn what to ask.... search for curriculums (on youtube, etc.) that have outlines with enough in the outline that the course seems useful to your interests (ie, that you have some clue about where the course starts, and that it will be challenging enough to take you somewhere meaningful for your purposes).

I have a buddy who is so far, far ahead of me in electronics and math I will never come close to what he can design and compute in his mind with respect to electronics.  He has over 100 patents to his name and he is still learning and researching.  Just recently he got his Ph.D but he's the same guy he has always been; he is constantly in turbo mode building and learning.  The more he learns the more he creates the more he builds the more he learns - it's an endless cycle.  The other day he told me he is working nearly non-stop (he pauses for food, rest, exercise, and other aspects of life) but he was excited to tell me that when he finds he is hitting a hurdle (on very complex stuff), he gets on Google.  If you can frame a question you stand a chance of finding the answer.  But it's not like there is an answer and then you're done; every answer raises more questions.  So you have to be a data collector, a hypothesizer, a tester, and a continuous question raising machine.  (Just don't forget to give back, because someone somewhere is going to have questions and need guidance from you.)

As for what you should be studying, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, but I'd recommend everything from Ohm's Law, resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, basic semiconductors, and everything related (hardware, firmware, software, RF, etc, etc, etc.) that you can possibly learn in both concept and with math.  It will take time, so enjoy the journey.  Expecting to master all of electricity and all of it's branches and derivatives would be (at least for most people) sort of like trying to eat at every restaurant in New York City.  Unlikely you could do it in a lifetime so you might as well as enjoy the process as you explore and learn - by researching, hypothesizing, and testing.  :)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 04:42:05 am by Electro Fan »
 
The following users thanked this post: sainbablo

Offline neil t

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Country: au
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2016, 04:45:10 am »
Patience I've been playing with electronics on and off for almost 40 years and still don't know as much as I would like to know, Even as an amateur I spend 30 to 40 hours a week researching /studying / learning about what I want to know, pick a simple project and learn each component as needed its really the only way because without that learning curve unexpected results are just around the corner which without that knowledge will make any troubleshooting almost impossible leaving you completely frustrated, no offence intended.
Electronics is a dark science it always goes wrong in the most unexpected ways, I couldn't tell you how many op amps iv'e roasted over the years not to mention melted breadboards, keep the passion growing and just have fun. woohoo the magic smoke!
 

Offline Electro Fan

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2016, 05:27:16 am »
I know a good amount of what I know and nothing of what I know nothing about..... make sense?
I have a lot to learn... so sometimes a review shows me enough to get through the functions...
If my only option is the manual... then I have a long day ahead of me...

This is actually a pretty good sign.  It's good for all of us to keep in mind that it can be hard to know what we don't know.  The fact that you recognize this might be considered as something equivalent to an eternal flame.  The next steps are to hypothesize and test, and ask more questions, continually.  (You seem inclined to ask questions, so that is a good thing).  Just remember, the better the question, the better the chance at a powerful answer.  Along the way don't let minor "social networking" squabbles get you side tracked; there are plenty of opportunities for social networking squabbles (in part because text doesn't always convey the message or tone intended and in part because some people just like to debate for the sake of debating or just like to throw stones; or sometimes we perceive others are debating or throwing stones when they are sincerely trying to guide us somewhere with good intentions.  Regardless, just stay on the high road and keep asking sincere questions and do your best to listen to and consider the answers.  But stay reasonably focused and on track.  If a shoe fits, wear it; if it doesn't fit, don't wear it.  In summary, just keep asking (good) questions (and be sure to try to answer those with your own research), ask more questions (sometimes of other people), hypothesize, and test.  Pretty soon you should have gathered enough new knowledge to build something new.  Sincere questions, patience, persistence.

Somewhere in this thread among the various replies so far and the probably more replies that you will get will be something useful; pick the best 2 or 3 and try one or each.

FWIW, Andy-In_over_my_head, the water in the ocean is over everyone's head - but we can swim on top of it, or even sail, if we learn a few basic techniques including when to leave the water during an impending storm.  And then you can return to the water when the weather turns good. :)

PS, I still think at the heart of your questions and request for help is what tggzzz suggested:  "Slow down. Think. Predict. Test."
 
The following users thanked this post: sainbablo

Offline sainbablo

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Country: pk
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2016, 04:52:36 pm »

It is in no way a reflection on your person. I consider this blog homely and well informed. Regards

You may want to refer to your dictionary again...




This dictionary has stood by me in good stead. It is 'The Collins New National Dictionary'  London Glasgow. Published in 1967 in Great Britain.
The meaning of the term 'homely' is as indicated by 'vk6zgo'
 

Offline Alex Eisenhut

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2070
  • Country: ca
  • If you can buy it for 4$ on eBay, why design it?
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2016, 05:10:43 pm »

It is in no way a reflection on your person. I consider this blog homely and well informed. Regards

You may want to refer to your dictionary again...


This dictionary has stood by me in good stead. It is 'The Collins New National Dictionary'  London Glasgow. Published in 1967 in Great Britain.
The meaning of the term 'homely' is as indicated by 'vk6zgo'

OK, so keep using your 50 year old British dictionary. Good luck.

PS: The world is a bit larger than the UK, and unfortunately some words have differed in meaning with time, especially across countries. You may consider using this new-fangled thing called the Internet to learn your lingo.
 

Offline sainbablo

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • Country: pk
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2016, 05:34:07 pm »

It is in no way a reflection on your person. I consider this blog homely and well informed. Regards

You may want to refer to your dictionary again...


This dictionary has stood by me in good stead. It is 'The Collins New National Dictionary'  London Glasgow. Published in 1967 in Great Britain.
The meaning of the term 'homely' is as indicated by 'vk6zgo'

OK, so keep using your 50 year old British dictionary. Good luck.

PS: The world is a bit larger than the UK, and unfortunately some words have differed in meaning with time, especially across countries. You may consider using this new-fangled thing called the Internet to learn your lingo.

Same is the case with The New Oxford Dictionary of English. Clarendon Press Oxford, 1998. Bought in Halifax NS. It has 2152 pages. :)
 

Online vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4865
  • Country: au
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2016, 11:07:59 am »
Some years back,I suggested an EEVBlog episode entitled "Learn Some Basic Theory----Please!!".

The reaction was as if I was "The Grinch that stole Christmas".
The consensus was that asking "noobs" to actually put themselves out to do something as demeaning as learning theory would discourage them.

I still believe that the only way to learn is to actually study the subject.
I am not a believer in the popular concept of "learning by failing".

Learn a few basics,then come back with better questions.



 
The following users thanked this post: petieken, nugglix

Offline JoeN

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 984
  • Country: us
  • We Buy Trannies By The Truckload
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2016, 06:42:00 am »
Quote
When the oscilloscope makes no sense and doesn't even seem to work correctly.. is it better to throw it out a window of your home, moving car, or pack a Co2 canister with gun powder, get it as deep and snug as you can into the scope, then blow the shit out of it!????

As with any tool, you have to learn how to use it. Old analogue CRT scopes are easier in that respect.

I never had any problem getting my first scope working.  I bought a signal source with it.  I connected ground to ground, signal source to the probe, and pressed the Auto button.  Worked.  Continues to work every time for simple signals, the Auto button at least does that right.  You can get a cheap signal generator for next to nothing.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/ICL8038-Monolithic-Function-Signal-Generator-Module-DIY-Kit-Sine-Square-Triangle-/311644691347
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 06:43:45 am by JoeN »
Have You Been Triggered Today?
 

Online tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9888
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2016, 10:11:50 am »
Quote
When the oscilloscope makes no sense and doesn't even seem to work correctly.. is it better to throw it out a window of your home, moving car, or pack a Co2 canister with gun powder, get it as deep and snug as you can into the scope, then blow the shit out of it!????

As with any tool, you have to learn how to use it. Old analogue CRT scopes are easier in that respect.

I never had any problem getting my first scope working.  I bought a signal source with it.  I connected ground to ground, signal source to the probe, and pressed the Auto button.  Worked.  Continues to work every time for simple signals, the Auto button at least does that right.  You can get a cheap signal generator for next to nothing.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/ICL8038-Monolithic-Function-Signal-Generator-Module-DIY-Kit-Sine-Square-Triangle-/311644691347

That's the sensible thing to do with any new tool. You aren't the OP, of course; different mentalities.

Nonetheless, analogue CRT scopes are easier! They have every control visible on the front panel (not buried in a submenu), are simpler (because they can't do advanced processing), and less theory has to be understood (sampling rates, capture buffer sizes, peak detect etc).
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 Andy-In_over_my_head

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 57
  • Country: us
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2016, 02:06:08 am »

I never had any problem getting my first scope working.  I bought a signal source with it.  I connected ground to ground, signal source to the probe, and pressed the Auto button.  Worked.  Continues to work every time for simple signals, the Auto button at least does that right.  You can get a cheap signal generator for next to nothing.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/ICL8038-Monolithic-Function-Signal-Generator-Module-DIY-Kit-Sine-Square-Triangle-/311644691347

That's the sensible thing to do with any new tool. You aren't the OP, of course; different mentalities.

Nonetheless, analogue CRT scopes are easier! They have every control visible on the front panel (not buried in a submenu), are simpler (because they can't do advanced processing), and less theory has to be understood (sampling rates, capture buffer sizes, peak detect etc).

I don't know if I said anything wrong... I understand I probably should have gotten an old analog first but truly thought I would have no problem making sense of it all...
and to a certain degree, I can operate the oscilloscopes basic functions now... Sometimes I just can not get the tiny waves to be larger... maybe the ripple is just so minimal...
HOWEVER....
I try to mention to several people... this oscilloscope has a function generator combined and using the generator with the scope is where I'm struggling.
I can't seem to find any review videos... and not much of a review at all.. But I also don't know why it seems like such a rare oscilloscope and for the price I paid to get what I got, you would think it would have much more attention but it just doesn't. 
Is there something about this scope that I don't know, maybe a spec that is just terrible and shuns people away? (Hantek DSO4102C)
"I'd rather be buried then ungrateful to be given life and food on the table. And in a world this shaky and unstable, we've got to be less hateful!"
 

Online tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9888
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2016, 10:42:07 pm »
Your quoting is all over the place!

Even if an analogue scope is easier in some respects, you have a scope and should learn how to use it. Find a general introductory text about scopes, including how to use probes. Start with a known simple signal, and make sure you can get the display you expect. Then change something and verify the change is as you expect. Then move onto unknown signals.

EDIT: a traditional known simple waveform is the scope's cal out. Observe it at different V/div and s/div, and make sure you can account for all the visible features and behaviours. Then add an RC lowpass filter and repeat. Change to RC highpass filter and repeat. Change R & C and repeat.

When you don't understand the result of a step, return to the previous state and take a smaller step.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 09:22:40 am by tggzzz »
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 Hofbrau

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 5
Re: Direction for inexperienced "Hobbyist" (Where to put more effort?)
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2016, 01:40:45 am »
Slow down. Think. Predict. Test.

Big +1 for this.  :-+

Sometimes there is a tendency to solve each problem fast so you can move on to the next, and then when you hit a hurdle it's very tempting to ask for help - especially here in the forums where you can find help pretty readily.

The key is, whether you work through it alone or whether you ask for help or do both, to make sure you go at least slow enough to first think through it to the point of predicting what should happen. Then if it doesn't happen as predicted and if you can't think of more things to predict and test, and if your research (Google, etc.) doesn't bring any more ideas to predict and test, then you would be at a good time to ask for help.

Just make sure you are going at least slow enough to predict and test.  It's both fun and great for learning.

It can help to have a goal  in mind.  You can break the goal into smaller objectives that are big enough to be meaningful to the goal and small enough to be achievable.  A goal can help you prioritize - what to do, what to ask, what to learn.  If you have a specific goal in mind and you are learning and having fun and making progress toward your goal you should be in good shape (assuming your goal is worthwhile).

I think your interest in simulators is worth exploring.  However, before you get too far into simulators I have a hunch there are easier, more basic, and more accessible tools available, especially via Google and youtube in particular.  Just my opinion, I could be wrong (often am) but if you can't get an oscilloscope to work well enough that you want to throw it out the window I don't think a simulator will help all that much.  Not that an oscilloscope will solve all the problems a simulator can (they are different tools), but if operating an oscilloscope isn't enjoyable and rewarding it might be that you need to spend more time researching how to use a scope.  In particular, search on youtube for videos by WAE2W.  He has tremendous videos on ways to use oscilloscopes, and much more.  So asking questions, and doing some research is pretty important (which you are doing here, so hopefully the replies here will help get you on a good path).

Beyond (in addition to) research another very, very important key as tggzzz says is to continually hypothesize and test.  It's kind of at the epicenter of science and learning.

As for test equipment, there are threads you can find here that have opinions on what to buy for almost any budget.  Personally, when I scan the stuff sitting here, I'd say a couple entry level DMMs, a modest power supply, an oscilloscope, a simple function generator, breadboards, basic components (including a fair stock of resistors and LEDs) and simple tools (wire cutters, etc.) and after that no sense in adding more stuff until you decide on what you want to test and build.  (If you can't get Ohm's Law to help you predict what will happen with circuit measurements, keep working on Ohm's Law.  If Ohm's Law is easy for you, find some other "laws" to learn.)  With the stuff mentioned here you could find lots of projects to build/test/modify/test, etc. and be pretty well set - and each new project will inform you about what else you might need to acquire in order to undertake the project.  But it all needs to be driven by your curiosity and goals.  In parallel, keep reading (you pretty much have to read some manuals some time, along with reading articles and watching videos on the web).  If you are hungry to learn you have to be hungry for information.  Almost any question you can frame can be answered or at least somewhat addressed on the web (just be reasonably thoughtful about what you accept as facts).  If you are really stumped as to what to ask, ask for a curriculum that will help you learn what to ask.... search for curriculums (on youtube, etc.) that have outlines with enough in the outline that the course seems useful to your interests (ie, that you have some clue about where the course starts, and that it will be challenging enough to take you somewhere meaningful for your purposes).

I have a buddy who is so far, far ahead of me in electronics and math I will never come close to what he can design and compute in his mind with respect to electronics.  He has over 100 patents to his name and he is still learning and researching.  Just recently he got his Ph.D but he's the same guy he has always been; he is constantly in turbo mode building and learning.  The more he learns the more he creates the more he builds the more he learns - it's an endless cycle.  The other day he told me he is working nearly non-stop (he pauses for food, rest, exercise, and other aspects of life) but he was excited to tell me that when he finds he is hitting a hurdle (on very complex stuff), he gets on Google.  If you can frame a question you stand a chance of finding the answer.  But it's not like there is an answer and then you're done; every answer raises more questions.  So you have to be a data collector, a hypothesizer, a tester, and a continuous question raising machine.  (Just don't forget to give back, because someone somewhere is going to have questions and need guidance from you.)

As for what you should be studying, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, but I'd recommend everything from Ohm's Law, resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, basic semiconductors, and everything related (hardware, firmware, software, RF, etc, etc, etc.) that you can possibly learn in both concept and with math.  It will take time, so enjoy the journey.  Expecting to master all of electricity and all of it's branches and derivatives would be (at least for most people) sort of like trying to eat at every restaurant in New York City.  Unlikely you could do it in a lifetime so you might as well as enjoy the process as you explore and learn - by researching, hypothesizing, and testing.  :)

I can definitely appreciate Electro Fan's insight. Taking your time when approaching new concepts and projects is how I've been able to progress in learning. I can recall many instances where I would see a cool circuit schematic or project idea and dive in head first. Take things slow, observe, and try to relate your observations to what you've learned over time.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf