Author Topic: Convince me not to give up on electronics.  (Read 9964 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline KD0CAC John

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 615
  • Country: us
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 03:54:39 pm »
At about 5 yrs old I tore apart my uncles watch , didn't get it back together .
Got in lots of trouble paying with my grandfathers tools , around same age .
Went through every kit that Radio Shack and others offered before 3rd grade .
So I was handed a HeathKit catalog shortly after .
So I was motivated early on .
Got sent to military boarding school , no ham radio types around , so forgot about ham radio until about 7 yrs ago .
About 6th grade [ about 1966 ] my 1st algebra class , as I look back I had arguments with teacher over answers , so quit paying any attention to that subject from then on .
Went into the Army in 1973 , did not like anything they wanted to offer me , signing up you could get a guarantee , I said I wanted something more interesting / technical , when the recruter went down a list and came to radio relay technician , I said that's it , signed up for my guarantee school .
At the end of boot-camp and testing they told me I was colar blind , mild enough that I never caught on because I could see colors , but had difficulty telling the difference between reds & greens , so was not allowed to take the radio class .
So there's the demotivation .
I do electrical work of residencial & commercial , had an auto repair buis , and was one of the better shops doing computer & emission diagnostics .
And now trying to learn radio repair again on my own .
Mostly searching the internet and matching others diagnostics and just doing the mechanical R&R and accumulating all kinds of test gear .
Now seems like there is very little access to learn from at my age , and not as time as I would like to catch up .       
If it is something you like keep working at it , you end up with other careers , but no reason to give up what you like .
From what I am gathering trying to learn enough for radio repair & building , I am told by others around my age that there just are not any schools teaching what is needed for radio repair & building , most industries are going to automation for both design & building , and repair is just swapping out boards .
With parts getting so small and other issues , it doesn't make sense that I still want to play :)
If you manage to get into the field at some level you like , then you are better off then most of the world !
It is a very few that work at what they love !!! 
 

Offline M0BSW

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 674
  • Country: 00
  • Left this site 2013, they will not delete it ????
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 04:03:10 pm »
I use electronics to help me become a better Radio amateur , yes sure i've spoken to people all over the world, got so many QSL cards from far off places to decorate the wall, built antenna's of every kind, totally love it. Now I'm adding the technical side to it, I've built filters and related items for my hobby , this electronics side is opening a whole new and exciting world to me , and I'm like a hungry child can't get enough, yes I've have a bin with all types of non runners in it , but so what, I'm having a good time, as I'm sure everyone one else is and I'm sure you are really, to give it up what a loss, the experience you can give to me & others, I don't know enough to give advice, but let me tell you, good people in this hobby  like Dave , and all of the others including you is invaluable to people like me. so think on before you give it up.
I was so excited when the Octopus circuit  from W2AEW, that I built & it worked, I was like a dog with two tails, still am over it. so take a step back and stay.
Rant over
Paul
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 04:06:25 pm by M0BSW »
no one would or will tell me how to delete this account
 

Offline ptricks

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 670
  • Country: us
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 04:18:29 pm »
Math , math and more math is the number one reason that people turn away from learning electronics. The way electronics is taught in a lot of places is responsible for turning away many people.  Math has its place in electronics but shouldn't be something that keeps you from the whole field. I was terrible in math, anything above algebra made me ill, I still continued with electronics, I guess because I kept doing experiments , and a lot of those failed more than they worked.  I prefer to use math for finding out why something didn't work vs doing the math first , getting turned off by the math, and not building anything.  Math is one of those things for me that I cannot learn by someone writing down some stuff and telling me about the formulas, I need application to understand it. If someone had told me how to convert AC to DC with a transformer and rectifiers , explaining all the peak voltage, RMS formulas, etc , I would have never pursued building my own power supply. When I couldn't figure out what size transformer to use, I went to learning how you figure that stuff out.  When I connected an electrolytic capacitor backwards and it popped I started looking for why it failed and how to correct the problem . I have been in electronics now for 20+ years and worked several jobs including designing power supplies for consumer electronics.

You have a huge advantage over me, I didn't have internet when I started, and the local library only had 1 book on electricity, I had to experiment to learn anything. I really annoyed the local tv repairman because anytime something didn't work and I was stuck I would go to him. I ruined my tv as a teenager because I wanted to add a headphone jack. I thought I could just attach the jack to the speaker wires, drill a whole in the tv casing, mount the jack and I would be done. What I didn't know is that tv had everything, including the speaker wires live to the mains. It was fairly common then to have everything inside the case live, it was allowed because there was no way for a consumer to contact anything without removing the cover. I connected the jack one day to my home stereo and that was the end of the tv.

I blame a lot of authors also for turning away people by the excessive use of math in electronics books. I picked up one on VHDL the other day and it literally was page after page of math, nothing interesting unless you really loved math.  If I had seen that as a kid I would never have considered electronics.

I guess what I am saying is experiment, ask for help on here and other places , and learn the math as you go along and need it. Don't try to cram a bunch of formulas in your head with the prospect that you might need it one day.
 

Offline Bored@Work

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3932
  • Country: 00
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 04:59:54 pm »
Math , math and more math is the number one reason that people turn away from learning electronics.

And it is the number one reason why all your modern gadgets work. Math, math and more math applied right.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

Offline free_electron

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7403
  • Country: us
    • SiliconValleyGarage
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2012, 05:03:00 pm »
The problem with many beginners is they don't get past this point,& are still trying to learn by trial & error for years.
and even very salted designers are STILL in that phase... the chances of having a 'first-time-right' on a complex system are zero.
build - debug ,wash - rinse -retry...

Even silicon goes through multiple iterations before it meets all requirements.

math applied right.
with the focus on that last word... math is required , but it is NOT the end-all. It has its place and in 10% of the design work you can;t live without it. The rest ? wing it and see what happens.
if you need to drive a bipolar transistor from a chip output into saturation so that it can energise a relay .. do you really grab the calculator and do (VoHmin - Vbe)/(IoHmax * 2/3) and verify that is higher than IbsatMin ? or do you slap in a 1k resistor ?

Ask 1000 'designers' . 999 will slap in 1k. The 1000th one doesn't know what a soldering iron is, has never actually 'built' something and has never had to debug his own brainfarts and get them working. He's a 'paper designer' and producer of 'slideware'...
Now if you need to figure out how to bias a transistor in analog domain , then DO the math. But, how many designs still use loose transisotrs in analog domain ? just grab an opamp.


@KD0CAC John : That is sad. i was in the same situation. In belgium all kids at age 12 go through a medical / learning/ psychological exam and they deliver a guideline for what you can handle and not handle. electronics for me was a no-no since i am colorblind ( i don't see green ). i would fail in school because i would not be able to read the color code and make mistakes... Luckily i have an uncle that is also in electronics and his answer was : grab an ohmmeter. problem solved.

If i ever meet those 'clown' of the 'pdycho medical institute' i will put a couple of pcb's with big fat connectors (milligrid press-fits for those who know what that is  ;D ) where the sun doesn't shine. The'll be walking 'funny' for the rest of their life.

Makes you wonder how many people have been categorized as 'unfit' for a particular job because the examiners are retarded. Retarded as in 20 years behind the industry practices.. Good luck finding a color coded resistor in your tv , smartphone or computer these days. it's all 0603 and 0402... you don;t need no stinking colors. they're black and white with silvery ends.


« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 05:17:40 pm by free_electron »
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Online AndyC_772

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3611
  • Country: gb
  • Professional design engineer
    • Cawte Engineering | Reliable Electronics
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2012, 06:01:11 pm »
And it is the number one reason why all your modern gadgets work. Math, math and more math applied right.
...by a tiny proportion of the people who were actually involved in designing that gadget and bringing it to market.

Online IanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9692
  • Country: us
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2012, 07:06:17 pm »
And it is the number one reason why all your modern gadgets work. Math, math and more math applied right.
...by a tiny proportion of the people who were actually involved in designing that gadget and bringing it to market.

And most importantly, the useful application of engineering mathematics is by feel, by having a deep understanding of why certain formulas and equations fall out the way they do, knowing the expected behavior of a system and what kind of result to expect before you calculate it. Numerical calculations are just the last step in the chain.

A huge number of calculations can be done on the back of an envelope once you know what assumptions you can make, what terms you can neglect, and what approximations you can apply. Oftentimes an exact answer for certain things won't help you much as real world components have tolerances and manufacturing variations, time and temperature drift, and other imperfections. You have to design for variation, error margins and parameter sensitivity rather than using complex mathematics to get an exact result.

Which is another way of saying there is no substitute for real world experience of other people's designs and actual components.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline Pentium100

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 258
  • Country: lt
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2012, 07:40:44 pm »
if you need to drive a bipolar transistor from a chip output into saturation so that it can energise a relay .. do you really grab the calculator and do (VoHmin - Vbe)/(IoHmax * 2/3) and verify that is higher than IbsatMin ? or do you slap in a 1k resistor ?
Nah, I'll probably just use a transistor with the 1k (or 10k) resistor built in. Used a bunch of them in the latest device I built, saved some soldering (and a little bit of space, not that space was an issue there).
Quote
Luckily i have an uncle that is also in electronics and his answer was : grab an ohmmeter. problem solved.
Yep. Color coding is useful when trying to determine what the value is while the resistor is still in the device. Also, using an ohmmeter, I can see the real value and select a matched pair if I need to.
Quote
Good luck finding a color coded resistor in your tv , smartphone or computer these days. it's all 0603 and 0402... you don;t need no stinking colors. they're black and white with silvery ends.
The power supply has them. For "some" reason the tiny resistors do not really like when you put 230V across them. Also, my amps and TVs (all CRTs) have quite a few TH resistors, some of them are even relatively high power.
 

Offline Fet

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2012, 08:54:14 pm »
TO Math, ? Or Not to Math???

IMHO,

I believe some of (Young ? ) Mint's frustrations have come into play because, it appears , he or she jumped on the Electronics Wagon way past the beginning or started at the beginning , got engrossed in / with advanced projects too soon and , has not mastered the fundamentals.

Also, while the internet is alive with all kinds of electrical / electronic content,  without an experienced tech or engineer physically available or attending a real electronics class  it is very easy for a beginner to get LOST ~ become confused ~ and go ( or try to ) to the next level without fully understanding the previous building block.


Sorta like learning to “Tell time with a Digital Watch “ instead of an analog watch first.



For the math part? 
Math really does scare people away from any technical profession , electronics included.

I would dare to say individuals are scared away from electronics more so because,
1) the perceived ~ misconceived math  involved and
2) electronics for most is just a damn difficult trade ~ profession , ( at any level ), to understand and grasp. As most know electronics has a High Drop Out Rate to begin with, without the math. 

Water seeks its own level, so depending what level tech anyone is or wants to become, let alone a Double E, some basic Math seems to go with at least “Mastering Basic Fundamentals.”
The basic math, as most know, simple Ohm's Law, that's it.

http://www.hamuniverse.com/ohmslaw.html

Ohm's Law will get one down the road, no problem and one can pick up and learn more as needed.

http://www.blue-room.org.uk/wiki/File:ElectricalEquations.jpg

Also as we all know, modern society and refined consumer ~ industrial products , continuing developments in and with computers have made positions in many professions obsolete and have  naturally  Cannibalized the Electronics Profession.

Many electronic tech positions , repair or support, are no longer needed because a fair amount of goods ~ items produced are CHEAP.

Double Es are not immune either, I know of a few personally that have not even touched or been involved with any circuits ~ circuit boards , etc for many years because a “Computer “ does their old job~s now and have for years.  Most Double Es I am aware of , if they stayed in close to their profession, have been turned into full time programmers and not for electronic design work.



So , ( Young ? ), Mint, Fall back , regroup and review the “ Basic Fundamentals of Electronics” Ohm's Law included and where you need reinforcement in , learn it.  As time goes on and you advance to understanding   more complex electronics and the “Advanced Math” , it will come to you easier.

Good Luck


 

Offline KD0CAC John

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 615
  • Country: us
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2012, 09:26:37 pm »
electron ,
With parts getting smaller and eyes get worse , I have found an interesting work-around , with magnification I can see the colors with ease .
 

Offline Mint.

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 523
  • Country: au
  • Account is inactive now. Thanks everybody!
    • Personal Blog, Mint Electronics.
Re: Convince me not to give up on electronics.
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2012, 01:16:41 am »
Everybody,

Thank you very much for your replies. I appreciate your honest opinion. I guess from now on I am not going to expect electronics to become as my job, just as a mere side hobby. I find that even though I do not like it as much as before, I am still passionate about it when I read your opinions. I guess I'll just have to wait to see what the future has in store for me.

- Cheers!
Personal Blog (Not Active Anymore), Mint Electronics:
http://mintelectronics.wordpress.com/
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf