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Best self-teach learning resources

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Robert Kinley, Nov 20, 2009.

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  1. I know someone who wants to learn practical electronics from the
    ground up. IOW basic analog and digital design principles, excluding
    RF, micros, etc.

    It's been a long time since I started out. Apart from formal
    education, what are the most effective and relevant learning aids
    available today?

    Particular books, DVD course ... or? How should I advise he proceed?

    Robert Kinley
  2. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    "The Art of Electronics" and the companion student manual.

    This is NOT an electronics for dummies book; no illustrations with
    charming stick figures running along a wire carrying "buckets of charge"
    or the like (I don't have my copy handy, so of course the probability of
    exactly that illustration appearing on page 1 approaches unity) but
    investing the time to understand the book and do the exercises will pay

    Be advised that the third edition is anticipated Real Soon Now,
    undoubtedly appearing the day after Mr Someone gets their copy of the
    second edition. So, tell Someone to hurry up and order!
  3. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Yup, I agree that it's may not be not the best in an absolute frame of
    reference but really good alternatives aren't thick on the ground,

    And for self-study, yes, the student manual is a must-have. That will
    require access to some test equipment and a few components, of course,
    but there's no substitute for seeing what "really happens."
  4. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Guest

    There is a stick figure in the BJT explanation, however.

    For absolute beginners, some books by Forrest M. Mims III are a good start.
    I fondly remember that green book which got so ratty from use.

  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    A protoboard and junque box should be required like books. :)

  6. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    What's effective will depend in some fair measure upon past education
    and aptitudes. What's relevant depends on what interests their are...
    again, quite personal. But truly, the most effective and relevant
    education will likely come from trained friends and closer associates
    who can engage in a two-way dialog of learning. Hopefully, that is
    available. I didn't have access to either formal training or friends
    and I know, first hand, it's a veritable pain in the butt.

    The Art of Electronics, 2nd edition, should be used together with its
    Student Manual -- for self-education uses. In some areas for someone
    doing self-study, there simply isn't enough worked out in the main
    volume. It covers a great deal, but in most cases expects there is a
    teacher and classroom setting to expand the material and engage it. Or
    it certainly seems to require it. However, much of that is saved by
    the Student Manual. For example, the student manual goes into a
    detailed, step-by-step organized, design of a common emitter BJT
    amplifier. Something left out of the book, itself.

    A good math background is almost a must for parts of AofE. Some of
    the concepts are quickly glossed over in the book, such as Euler's and
    it's application with complex numbers used in electronics. For
    someone with a sufficient math background, that's all that is needed.
    It's already pretty well understand, in detail, and all that is needed
    is the hand-waving found in AofE to make sense of it. But for someone
    with none of that in hand, it's just random noise and will simply pass
    right over their heads.

    This is still just a hobby for me. But as a teenager, someone gave me
    some manuals from the military that were designed to teach electronics
    to soldiers and were written, I think, in either the 1940's or 1950's.
    They were pretty good, as I recall. VERY THICK! Lots of them, too. A
    few feet along a shelf. I think I remember seeing something similar
    in a variety of PDF chapters, available on the web. Might try looking
    for them. (I apologize for not taking the time to search, right now.)

    MIT has open courseware on the web. It's quite likely electronics is
    part of that. See:


    I haven't read this one (and it is scanned in and HUGE), but it was
    supposedly a good, early book (100 years ago, or so):

    A smaller scan of a 1943 version is at:

    Early books often were targeted at self-education, which is why I
    suggest looking in that direction, too.

    Best of luck in all this.

    Also, if possible, connect up with a local community college class.
    The teachers are often there because they _want_ to teach this
    material. (They darned well aren't there to work on pet projects via
    grant programs.) It's usually "dumbed down" because that's where a
    lot of their clientele is at -- community colleges are complaining
    that their students' first year is mostly spent in remedial education,
    in my state. But I've seen some very good teachers doing a wonderful
    job getting across somewhat complex things (matrix methods for solving
    linear component circuits) to students generally ill-prepared for them
    and doing it successfully.

  7. JosephKK

    JosephKK Guest

    Just searched for 3rd edition, seems it has already been pirated.
  8. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    I seem to recall that Winfield Hill asked us to pass along a copy to
    him, if that happened. I think he wanted the help!

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