Electronics > Beginners

What to do?

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SuperMiguel:
So im an electric engineer student. Still taking my prerequisite classes (this semester im taking Calculus II, Chemistry I, Economics for Engineers and Communication for engineers) but i have a bit of free time and want to start learning about electronics..

In the pass i have built a small robot using arduino (http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14402), i have done multiple things with arduino but that was the biggest.. I also bought an STK500 AVR board, but since i dont know alot of C i got bored and trough it in a box, i also did a bit of work with 555 (basic timer), i stared reading "The Art of Electronics" but got bored in chapter one, so i stopped reading it..

So what should i do? what you guys recommend??

Varal:
I'm no pro in this (often struggling to understand the most obvious things) but one thing I can say - electronics is all about the need to know and the patience to studdy. Nothing in electronics comes easy (I'm not talking about people with an IQ over 150 here) so as the first step I'd ask myself "is this really it?"

If you're absolutely sure you want to studdy electronics try to look for the types of degrees your faculty offers. Read about them and decide what could fit your needs the most and try to point all your actions in that particular direction. This is a general advice.

I found that quite a good way to learn electronics (and not get bored or anything because of the lack of success) is taking small steps. Think of what you would like to design - nothing great for the beginning, some sort of project that you know how to do in about 50%-80%. Read about the missing pieces you don't know how to do and ask additional questions on forums or ask friends with more experience. After you've magadet to finish your design desolder it for parts (unless of course you need it)and think of another project in a similar manner - this will keep you going without too many frustrations.

And about that C - you can always learn assembler :P But seriously get a book about C (probably "The C programming language" by Kernighan and Ritchie) and learn about everything to the part about functions and splitting code into many smaler files - this will give a good start (pointers unions structures - if neded - will come later)

And one last piece of advice - DON'T start anything oo fancy unless you fully understand the basics (resistors transistors diodes etc)

Hope I helped a fellow beginner such as myself :)

Zad:
What I recommend is that you consider whether you really want to be an Engineer. It sounds to me like you don't have the patience for it. 90% of it isn't fun, it is just pure, hard, grind. Pick those books back up, read them, UNDERSTAND them. I knew some seemingly brilliant people at uni that had more or less photographic memories and could quote entire pages. Useless engineers though.

SuperMiguel:
well i love computers and electronics... i reallly love electronics... thats why i picked Electric Engineer ( i kinda hate calculus tough)

I would like to know how to build things, and how to program things, just dont know where to start..

Time:
Learn how to use an ADC on a simple pic.  Perhaps make a simple temperature sensor from a diode and output the temperature on a simple 7 segment display or something like that.

Take on Daves recent video about his DC to DC smps and see if you can get something like that working.

When your knowledge is limited its difficult to take on any projects that might be useful.  Its easier to satisfy your curiousity for the practical side of things with simple tinkering projects.  Once you get the know how and have collected sufficient equipment you can start figuring out things that might be more useful.

One of the first things I ever did was just strip out the guts of an RC car, rig up an MSP430 to it and made it just do figure 8s over and over with different speed intervals.  Sounds like madness, I know, but everyone has to start somewhere.  I had to make various other circuits for controlling the motor speed based on PWM from the MSP, learn how the servo worked and controlled that, and even designed an SMPS to power the MSP from the battery voltage.

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