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Advice on Electronic Labs?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Trent L, Sep 20, 2004.

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  1. Trent L

    Trent L Guest


    I took an electric circuit theory course in
    college. That was several years ago, and I've had
    an itch to revisit the topic. I recently bought
    the book "Teach Yourself Electricity and
    Electronics" by TAB. I'm now looking for a good
    electronic kit to play around with.

    Radio Shack had one that caught my eye:

    Also, I noticed one from a company called Ramsey:

    Has anyone used either of these? The Ramsey one
    promises "300 experiments". The Radio Shack one
    has documentation written by Forrest Mimms, who
    seems to be highly regarded.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. I don't know about the Ramsey one, but the Radio Shack kit is high
    regarded and has helped start countless thousands of beginners into a
    career in electronics for over 25 years.

    Dave :)
  3. Brian

    Brian Guest

    If you want to have a lot of help in electronics, from simple stuff to
    more complex things, check out I wish this was
    around when I was learning and experimenting with electronics.
  4. Trent L

    Trent L Guest

    Thanks, I bookmarked that and will check it out
    sometime. I think I would like to start with
    actual hardware, though. Much of my day is spent
    in front of computers (I'm a software engineer),
    and I'm trying to find hobbies that don't involve
    staring at a screen. Of course, electric circuits
    are still pretty geeky :)
  5. Trent L

    Trent L Guest

    Thanks! I have no idea what Radio Shacks's
    current reputation is among electrical hobbyists,
    so I just wanted to see if anyone had harsh
    objections. Sounds like the kit is a safe buy. I
    can't wait to start playing!
  6. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I can appreciate where you are coming from, I also spend a lot of time at
    a computer screen. The program that you see there, is not a circuit
    simulator. You won't need to spend a lot of time in front of the computer
    screen (if you don't want to).

    As an example, let's say that you want a power supply to power some
    circuits that you want to play with. Click on the power supply section, and
    enter in the output voltage and current that you will need, and it will draw
    the schematic (with all the component values that you will need to build
    it). Click on Print, and you will have a hard copy of the schematic to work
    from (with very little time spent an the computer). Buy the parts and put it
    together. You now have a power supply that fits your needs. Want to know the
    formulas that were used to compute all the component values (so you will
    have a better understanding of what's going on), just click on "Formulas"
    (after the schematic has been displayed).
  7. Their repution is mud, no hobbyist with any clue buys parts from Radio
    Shack :->

    But their xxx-in-1 kits are tops. Well, actually I haven't seen the
    new crop of units, but I presume they wouldn't mess with the winning
    formula they had.

    These kits aren't the only way to learn of course, and they won't
    teach you everything, but they make a great starting point.

    Using software as recommended on another reply is a contentious issue.
    In theory someone could learn a heck of a lot about electronics by
    using the resources available on the net and using these learning
    packages to simulate circuits and operate virtual CRO's etc without
    owning a multimeter, cro or breadboard. But you simply can't beat
    hooking stuff up, using a real meter and CRO, blowing stuff up,
    building something wrong and then troubleshooting it etc. Over time
    you'll find by far that a lot of your understanding will come from
    troubleshooting a faulty circuit. If you build something and it works
    first go, you haven't learnt much!

    Dave :)
  8. Marlboro

    Marlboro Guest

    As an example, let's say that you want a power supply to power some

    How much one can learn by this way, the "click" and "learn"?
  9. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Computers can be a very powerful tool. They can be a big time saver, or
    big time waster. Your choice.
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