Author Topic: EEVblog #302 - Electronics Beginner Advice  (Read 10730 times)

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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: EEVblog #302 - Electronics Beginner Advice
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2012, 09:19:34 am »
I'm sorry if I sounded condescending,I meant to be downright discouraging!
Why? It's a forum not a boys club! If Dave required a minimum entry standard there'd be an IQ test at the sign on.

Seriously,though,how many times have we had people on this forum,who ask for help over & over for their project,trying one suggestion after another,without understanding in the least the results of each trial,until eventually everybody realises that they don't have a clue & cease to respond.
About as many as those that have picked up clues along the way. Just because the world has too many dropkicks, is no justification for treating everyone that way. Especially before the over and over cycle has engaged. You said yourself you'd made attempts beyond your ability while learning.

At that point,I had built several radios from RTV & H/EA magazines,knew Ohm's & Kirchoff's Laws,could read circuit diagrams,& read Electronics mags avidly.
These attempts were at least from that base level,where I thought I was clever enough to "guess my way" around calculations.

I wasn't going from the "I don't know anything at all,but I'm going to design an Electronic Kit "level!

At that point,their reaction is often:"They're all mongrels on that forum" so they go to another one,& it starts all over.
That's OK if they'd driven most of us to the point of frustration.I may well have given them reason to think such things.
On the other hand,in this thread,you are the very soul of benevolence--is it the  new medication?   
Surely it is not a lot to ask,that people spend a little time to get an understanding of series & parallel circuits,Ohm's law,& a few other useful things,before launching themselves into Electronics design.

It's not unreasonable to keep pointing them back to basics, but that doesn't make considering other design aspects in any way unreasonable. Dave was talking about consideration such as component cost, utility etc. You don't need a degree to intelligently start considering such aspects despite any bollocks B@W and other will suggest. More to the point pondering on such things is usually a good path towards knowing when to ask for help.

Certainly you don't need a degree,but it would be nice to have some idea of what you are doing!
If you don't know how the device you are designing works,you are going to be battling to intelligently consider the points mentioned.

Although I am ancient,I well remember attempts to design things when I didn't have sufficient knowledge.
Yes your car battery powered car battery charger was never much in the way of a commercial success. Same apples for the longevity of WA pyramids.
No,the longevity was great!
Where they failed was in the shape, colour,& size
After all.who wants oversized, dome shaped pyramids,especially if they are striped red & brown.
I was so embarrassed,I dumped them all up in the Kimberleys.

At that time,I could at least read a circuit diagram,& build stuff from a magazine project,but I still knew very little.
Uh-huh. And if everyone you'd asked a dumb question to had fobbed you off, you'd be a lot further behind than you are today.

After I was fobbed off,& even worse,given dumb answers,I went away & found out for myself out of a book,an art seemingly lost!

They were in almost all cases," disasters,& I do not look back on them as "Good learning experiences" at all!
Maybe if you'd look at those other aspects the disaster proportion could have been much smaller.

Yes,at least I learned what was possible & what wasn't.
Another good thing is,I didn't have the Internet,so I could look stupid worldwide! ;D

The failures were all due to laziness, such as taking guesses on the number of turns on an  IF coil in a Shortwave Superhet Radio I tried to build,because the right way "looked hard"!
The thing I didn't understand back then,was experienced people can "guess" & be fairly close,whereas inexperienced people will not be close.except by chance.
Yeah. So where is the issue in someone inexperienced asking questions? I have no issue with dumb questions or even with slow learners. Those who want to answer with "no that can't be it" or those unprepared to listen are a different proposition. Those with attitude, well let's just say they soon become sport. Anyone else deserves a little encouragement.
Probably just that they annoy the hell out of me!! ;D

Offline urbanwriter

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Re: EEVblog #302 - Electronics Beginner Advice
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2012, 10:03:59 pm »
Hey, Uncle Vernon, thanks for your posts on 'lernin.'

I can read, more or less, a schematic. Sometimes I even have an idea what I'm looking at, or what a particular group of components are supposed to be doing (think discrete component oscillator), which is an improvement from a year ago.

For those that say 'go look in a book,' while I agree with the concept, if you don't know 'absolutely' you won't know when the answers in the book are absolutely wrong. Think 'Practical Electronics for Inventors' and its lists of errata. So, you have one book that says one thing, you have another book that says another, quite different, thing. You don't know enough to be absolutely sure which of them is wrong...

Kits. Kits are, in their best form, more than just soldering practice. Those are the kits with some 'theory of operation,' they might have test point voltages, 'scope traces if appropriate. But lots of kits are a bunch of parts in a box. Other than learning to solder most kits fail in every other regard as 'teaching' methodology.

UV's comments, and Dave's original notions about design, seem awfully reasonable to somebody who has been playing for a year or so.

Uncle Vernon

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Re: EEVblog #302 - Electronics Beginner Advice
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2012, 12:02:31 am »
Hey, Uncle Vernon, thanks for your posts on 'lernin.'

Not a problem, everyone is entitled to their quota of questions, and for the newbie knowing where how to look for help isn't always easy.
I don't have a problem with question until the become repetitive or demanding, everyone started knowing very little at some point.

What upsets the grumps, (and I can be as big a grump as the best of them) Is not following a few of UV's simple rules.

Don't keep asking the same question, in the same place, or to the same people. If you don't get an answer you can understand, try rephrasing your question or approaching it from a different angle. Some concepts can take a bit of work to get your head around, but approaching  things the same way will generally return the same results.

Don't immediately contradict a reply to any question. Nothing infuriates us Grumps more than the "that can't be it" reply half way through offering an obvious answer.

Don't use other as a free design service. Engineering types by nature are generally helpful and enjoy sharing knowledge no matter how gruff they appear. What others are not, is a free service for project design of homework answers.

If you don't get any answers, have a look at the questions you are answering and consider rephrasing it, and remember your DIY special or study isn't the highlight of everyone else's world. Remember how a forum works and consider time zones, it's surprising how many get nasty at the lack of a 20 minute reply, despite half the planet being in bed at the time they asked the question.

Do explain the problem you have and the task you are trying to achieve along with the specific question. "Why are all my IC's catching fire and exploding?" is not easy to answer.  However supplying some outline about how your connecting up, what supply you are using, and what load you are trying to drive and other details will make it possible for others to help with a solution.

Do maintain a sense of humour. Us grumps sure have one and often use it to point out what should be the bleeding obvious! It's not a personal attack. Those who get bitter and twisted usually end up joining the ignore lists.

Do look through answers given and the links and suggestions provided. There is no problem coming back and saying I've read X several times but still don't get it. And there is nothing more annoying than being asked the same question again knowing no effort has been made to take the information suggested.

I'd agree that many of the kits are an exercise to allow poor soldering to be adopted by a wider user base. Kit makers have there own set of problems and rude and idiot users have generallyforced the kit makers to dumb them down to the lowest common denominator.
i don't see things like fun-way kits being of much use or appeal for adult learning despite them being a great start point for the juniors.

The idea of becoming your own design service is a sound one. Knowing what you are not ready to take on is just as important as what you can. And before any parts are harmed it makes sense to work out what an approximate spend will be, including all the development and prototyping. I agree that there is nothing wrong with failing, provided you worked out why a particular approach or design is unfeasible. If it's just giving up then the whole exercise has been a waste of time.

Newbies should be encouraged to learn, I have no problem with that or even with those a little slow on the uptake. Despite appearing outwardly begrudging, grumps like me don't mind helping others to learn, but we are not and never will be a free service. Those who make the effort to help themselves are those who will generally get the most help and encouragement.

Go forth, enjoy and never forget the end without the cord is the hot end. 

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