Author Topic: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?  (Read 3738 times)

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Offline Forser

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Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« on: June 09, 2016, 07:11:05 pm »
Greetings,

Been twiddling with Electronics for a while now, got myself a Scope a few months ago, labpowersupply, soldering station, Multimeters over a long period of time.
Also bought Practical Electronics for Inventors 3rd Edition, Arts of Electronics and Learning the Arts of Electronics.

Got the Practical Electronics a few months before Arts and Learning and been reading it, still a long way to go with reading the theory in that.

Been also checking out Learning the Arts of Electronics and noticed that a lot of the components are only available at Mouser and similar which makes it very expensive quickly and i feel a bit lost on really what i should do / read ?

If i would do all the lessons in the Learning Arts, it would take me a very long time mostly due to saving up the funds to get the components that he is using and i haven't seen any labs in Practical Electronics.
What would you guys/girls recommend to do to get a broad overview on Electronics in general including troubleshooting, understand/using a Scope, Making your own PCB design and such.

Not really "niched" towards anything special at the moments when it comes to electronics compared to an Radio Amateur, Voltnut or such.

Hope you understand my odd and weird rambling questions!

Thanks in advance!
 

Offline asgard20032

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 07:21:13 pm »
Although learning the art of electronic could teach electronic, the other book, art of electronic, is not a learning textbox, but more of a reference. You pick a random page before going to sleep, and read some few page, and do that everyday, and you will learn some interesting trick with op amp, transistor... etc. But on the other side, learning the art of electronic is a good way to learn electronic if you like the laboratory approach. But the best way to learn electronic is to find a project, and work you way trough that project using AoE and internet as reference.
 
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Offline onesixright

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 08:52:27 pm »
Which parts are that expensive?

Its quite a challenge! Datasheets, Frequencies, Components, Tools, Circuits (Design), Protocols, Software (KiCad, Eagle, etc.), MCU's, Formulas's, etc. Its daunting, and there is so much to learn.

But,  fascinating!

When I started, it was via the Arduino and MCU's. Although it can get very complicated, i realised the  "true" basics are in the analog field. Understand the relationship R/I/V and  some of the basics components (resistor, cap, inductor). Look at the basics power supplies, linear vs switch is a must (imo). LC tank circuits are also interesting (and many other). Build a AM Radio!

I don't know what your "level" is.  But I would pickup a some kits (for less then < 10USD, ebay, aliexpress), build them and read the circuit. Understand whats the function of each element, why is it there? A clock, frequency counter, amplifier comes to mind.  Then take your AoE and read the fundamentals. Watch some Youtube, like afrotechmods.

It took me a while before certain "basics" clicked. If you read about a "cap", your like: ok, sounds logical. But a bit later, not so much  ???

For me, its about keep doing it. One day (probably when having a shower) your like : aha! ofc, thats why it works like so... ( and that -so to speak- charges the battery! ;-)

What helped me: open stuff (be careful), check the insides, see how it works. Google the part no. and read the datasheet.

Besides some of the tools (not all are needed or need to be expensive), i think you can get a long way....

As often, two steps forward, one step back  ;)

Just have fun, keep it up and don't kill yourself doing so (that would be a huge spoiler  :-- )
 
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Offline Forser

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2016, 08:58:01 pm »
Yeah, Kits is something i have been looking at, there are a few on Ebay, Ali, Banggood. Done Two Digital Clock ones (the one with rotating Leds as seconds counter) and a simpler one.

Guess i will pick up some more kits, looking also on like Led Cube, Audio Stuff and such.

And i am very carefully from a very lucky narrow escape from electrocuting when i was younger, was poking around and cut the wires on a transformer, which caused a HUGE Spark and Bang. Also gave a nice mark in the snipper which luckily was isolated else i would most likely been fried.
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 09:03:50 pm »
And i am very carefully from a very lucky narrow escape from electrocuting when i was younger, was poking around and cut the wires on a transformer, which caused a HUGE Spark and Bang. Also gave a nice mark in the snipper which luckily was isolated else i would most likely been fried.

Hehe, yeah be careful, it can (and will) sting. I remembered my self being almost electrocuted when i was young. Thought me a very, very valuable lesson (glad im here) ....  :-DD

Mains, has my utmost respect.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 03:06:09 am »
There's really two worlds of electronics:  First, the technical stuff like reading datasheets and building up projects and, second, the engineering stuff with three or four years of math.  The technical stuff is fun, the engineering stuff pays better.

Having said that, electronics is too broad of a subject to discuss.  Everything from RF to uCs and all the stuff in between.  I only dabble in two areas:  Op amps for analog computing and microcontrollers/FPGAs.  Even that is a pretty large sandbox.

You really need to kick back and think about what interests you.  Then keep narrowing it down until a project comes to mind.  You could just dabble with Op Amp circuits and stay busy for a long time.  It wouldn't take many parts and, using single-supply amps, it won't be terribly expensive.  You could use batteries to power some of the single-supply op amps.  There are thousands of Op Amp circuits on the Internet.  Or, think about microcontrollers.  Any interest in animatronics?   The Arduino is a good start for that kind of thing.  I like projects that do something.  Robotics maybe?

Kits are good because the end result is known and assumed to happen as long as the kit is assembled properly.  I built my first Heathkit project when I was about 10 years old.  It was just a monaural amplifier but I learned a lot.  I assembled quite a few Heathkits over the years.  Too bad they're not around for my grandson...

There are spreadsheets around that summarize the components for Learning The Art Of Electronics.  I would bet that the list can be pared down if some of the experiments are modified.  If you can't reach a particular goal, change the goal!
 
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Offline daybyter

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 11:38:39 pm »
You like old computers? These are good to repair with basic tools, since frequencies are not that high, no multilayer boards etc. There are also a lot of microcontroller projects projects as add ons, like SD card drives and such.
 
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Offline Chris Mr

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 10:27:05 am »
Progress is like a saw-tooth waveform, it ramps up in a line and then abruptly drops down again.

The major difference with progress being that when it drops down again it's never at the bottom where it was when you started, always higher.

You have already made a lot of progress but it might be that you have just made the abrupt downward slope - keep going.

Different people learn in different ways.  Some (I would say lucky) can simply read it in a book, some need to see it in front of them, some get most of the idea but need to grasp something quirky about it so neither the book nor the thing in front of them does it whereas an explanation from someone comparing to something more familiar does it - and so on.

I have a friend that gets an enormous amount of pleasure just winding a few pieces of copper wire around some ferrite material.  He completely understands the conductance / losses of the wire, the interwinding capacitance, the inductance, the core losses, magnetic field, leakage inductance, current flow and so on.  As an outsider one wouldn't imagine there could be so many things going on at the same time in a few pieces of wire and some ferrite material.

There is lots to know / find out.

You can read a book on swimming but there is nothing like diving in, swimming around and exploring.  Most of all, enjoy  :-+
 
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Offline JacquesBBB

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 01:39:46 pm »
Been also checking out Learning the Arts of Electronics and noticed that a lot of the components are only available at Mouser and similar which makes it very expensive quickly and i feel a bit lost on really what i should do / read ?

You will probably learn a lot more if you do all the labs of learning the Art of Electronics than anything else.

But you do not have to go blindly to the list of parts that is provided at  the end  in appendix E.

You can start  by looking for the necessary parts for  only the first 12 chapters. I have not seen a list of parts by chapters, but  the amount should be  much less than for the total, and it will get you already occupied for quite a  long time.
This will limit you to the analog parts and will avoid many expensive parts as the micro controllers.

For several expensive parts, you should find also easy replacement.
For example,  do not buy the listed transformer  from 120(240)  to 6.3 V
Just use the one from some junk wall wart   power supply. Most often, even if its dead, the transformer will still be  OK.
 (Of course this does not apply to a switch mode PS).

 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 07:39:55 pm by JacquesBBB »
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 04:13:49 pm »
OP, do you know any similarly situated enthusiasts?  How about forming a club, pooling resources and sharing the costs?  Besides, it will be more educational to do the lab experiments as a group.  Somebody always contributes a little something extra.

Maybe meet one night a week and knock out 3 or 4 labs.  Each participant can have one experiment breadboarded and ready to present.

 
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Offline Forser

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2016, 04:39:38 pm »
I will go through the 12 chapters (labs) in Learning The Arts of Electronics and write down what type of components it needs per each chapter and go from there with that.

Will also order one or more DIY kits from Ali/Banggood and similar to have something i can go from A to Z to see a finished product.

@Rstofer, There is a Makerspace but it has a very high cost, around 37 USD per month plus a one yearly fee of 25 USD without counting the price of travel back and forth since i live on the other side of the town. I am a very introvert person when it comes to social interactions so tend to stick to myself.
 

Online rstofer

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2016, 06:04:18 pm »
I will go through the 12 chapters (labs) in Learning The Arts of Electronics and write down what type of components it needs per each chapter and go from there with that.

Will also order one or more DIY kits from Ali/Banggood and similar to have something i can go from A to Z to see a finished product.

@Rstofer, There is a Makerspace but it has a very high cost, around 37 USD per month plus a one yearly fee of 25 USD without counting the price of travel back and forth since i live on the other side of the town. I am a very introvert person when it comes to social interactions so tend to stick to myself.

It sounds like you have a plan.  I hadn't thought of Makerspace and, frankly, it's a little over the top for just doing some breadboard experiments.
I tend to do my own thing as well.

I wouldn't hesitate to change various experiments to use parts I had.  As long as I could explain the difference in the results, I would be satisfied.

Kits of capacitors and resistors is a pretty good idea.  Same for transistors.  There are even kits for linear components.  Here is a search result for "assortments" at a local supplier:

https://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDrillDownView?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&freeText=assortments&search_type=jamecoall

My guess is that there are similar items on eBay and there might be a source closer to you.

As to assortments, I do have the resistor and capacitor sets but none of the others.  I have a selection of transistors but they were mostly obtained by just adding them to the order for something else.  I don't tend to use them very often.

 

Offline Forser

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2016, 06:30:08 pm »
Resistors, Capacitors, a bunch of different PNP/NPN transistors i have.

Same with zener diodes and such, it some IC chips / mosfets and such i would say that often are lacking.

Will try and organize a list of each chapter from 1 to 12 and what they are using so get a overview rather then list that Learning The Arts of Electronics homepage has since it doesn't say exactly what project and also a bit confusing since it seems some parts are replacements if you don't find the other one and such but it's not well organized.
 

Offline JacquesBBB

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2016, 07:42:29 pm »
Will try and organize a list of each chapter from 1 to 12 and what they are using so get a overview rather then list that Learning The Arts of Electronics homepage has since it doesn't say exactly what project and also a bit confusing since it seems some parts are replacements if you don't find the other one and such but it's not well organized.

Yes, this is a good idea. I  tried to find such a list on the web  but was not able to find it.  So it would be useful for all to establish this list of parts per chapter.
 
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Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2016, 09:04:12 pm »
Just a suggestion, have you thought of getting an amateur radio licence?  There are a lot of radio clubs worldwide,  they meet frequently,  have lots of guys (quite a few of the eevblog community are Hams) who are usually very willing to help with time and parts.
It is a bit of a start with the technical (engineering)  side but also some goals  / direction using your electronics.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 
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Offline Forser

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2016, 04:08:56 am »
VK5RC, Yeah, been looking at amateur radio license a couple of times but never gotten around to applying for a course / books to study for it. Mostly as mentioned before i am pretty much a introvert person, thats include talking over a phone, skype or any thing with voice communications.
 

Offline asgard20032

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2016, 10:25:43 am »
I also want to get into an radio club, but they all want membership that cost $$, for 1 meeting every week. And the closest one to my home is 40 min train + 15 min walk away
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2016, 11:40:24 am »
@Forser Who says you have to talk! HiHi, seriously, it does set you back a bit of $ re the exams, I don't know the Sweedish regulations but most European countries have a 3 level Amateur radio licence structure, the entry level can be done by reading a 30page book and having touched a radio before. the 2 levels above that start getting a little serious but no really hard stuff e.g. Smith charts etc.

As a ham I almost never 'talk' on the radio, mostly I experiment, e.g. build a system then test it in the Lab (OK, rebuild it after I let the smoke out) then when it works, I will often make one or two contacts and that is about it. There are quite a few "digital modes" e.g. PSK31, JT65 where it is all computer keyboard.

My current Ham project is to try Earth-Moon-Earth communication ( 3M DISH, 300W AT 1296MHZ, VE4MA feedhorn, G4DDK 0.6dB noise factor pre-amp), I have spent a lot of time and a little too much$, and keep letting the smoke out of the low noise pre-amplifier, so it has gone into the garage for a while. I suspect I have got the sequencing of relays, bias circuits, pre and power amps 'a bit' wrong but can't currently see where. |O

My radio club (North East Radio Club  in South Australia) meets approx fortnightly for $3 AUD per meeting and that gets you in a draw for a bottle of red, but I do see that Amateur radio isn't for everybody.
73
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 
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Offline Forser

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2016, 12:18:10 pm »
@VK5RC, Sweden only have one level Amateur Radio License. Three different books with about a total of 300 pages. Most of the homepages for radio clubs seems very dead also like last updates are over 1-1,5 year old with news, courses and so on.
 

Offline ali6x944

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2016, 11:49:23 pm »
so u like radio stuff right...
why not try to do RC projects, or try doing something you have never heard of before, but don't buy parts ... salvage them it is more fun!
or as VK5RC try Earth-Moon-Earth communication, please don't read before hand because it will ruins the discovery part of it, so do it as u go in ur own past ...
 
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Offline damn_dirty_ape

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2016, 02:16:38 am »
I just got my EE in May.  The one thing I was worried about up until my last semester was that I had taken all these classes and had ZERO confidence in reading random electronic schematics, but thankfully in my last semester a Power Electronics class taught me a ton.  I'd recommend building some buck circuits, then some boost circuits, and then some buck boost circuits or whatever else looks cool.  After you get a sense of how these things work, pretty much all electronics schematics will make some sense, even if only at a superficial level.  The way I look at it now, pretty much everything on a PCB is power electronics to support some kind of logic device, and circuits are far less 'black magic'.
 
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Offline damn_dirty_ape

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Re: Lost Beginner, What to do next / read / do?
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2016, 02:19:44 am »
BTW, amateur radio stuff is cool, but to me the cool stuff about amateur radio is happening in software ie. GNURadio.  If you want to build things learning a couple power circuits will carry you a long way, no matter what your specific interest is.
 
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