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Equipment for Beginner

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Cranky One, Mar 20, 2005.

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  1. Cranky One

    Cranky One Guest

    What equipment do I need to get to learn the basics of AC/DC? I have texts
    and online sources for the theory but I am not sure what hardware I would
    need to augment the texts. The CIE courses are just too expensive for me
    and I cannot find out what their "personal electronics trainer" consists of.

    Thanks
     
  2. Art

    Art Guest

    Check out the very good tutorials found by doing a Google for electronics,
    there are some very informative sites.
    Initially you want to learn as much as possible about the safety routines
    that are mandated in working with active circuits. Then you decide what type
    of measuring devices you will require. First: a good DVM, a good assortment
    or hand tools [including a basic soldering station]. <
     
  3. For that subject, a working brain and the willingness
    to use it are the only items really required. (And do
    not underestimate the latter!) That elementary theory
    is not easy to discern among all the issues that arise
    when you start building circuits and looking at them.

    Now, without suggesting you need to do so, getting an
    adjustable low-voltage DC power supply, a signal
    generator, and an oscilloscope will be worthwhile when
    you do start building and observing analog circuits. But
    without the basics, best learned outside your lab, you'll
    be hard put to make sense of anything in the lab.

    Your hesitation with respect to "trainer" and such is wise.
    You're welcome.
     

  4. I should add that before you equip a lab, spending some
    time with the free SPICE simulator generously provided
    by Linear Technology, would do more for cementing your
    understanding of the basics than some real equipment.
    Get it at: http://www.linear.com/company/software.jsp
    and follow the LTSPICE/SWITCHERCAD III link.
     
  5. I have seen many "personal electronics trainers" and they usually
    consist of some kind of prototype board and some common components like
    resistors, diodes, transistors, op-amps, etc..

    You can get such things a lot cheaper buy buying it yourself as you need
    it. Or buy an electronics experiment kit, usually found in toy stores.

    Youngster who get such a kit can put together circuits and be happy that
    it works, but you can also measure everything and do theoretical
    calculations and check them in reality. And change the circuits far
    beyond the simple instructions in the kit. It's the same components as in
    a personal trainer. You just use it in another and more advanced way than
    youngsters do who get such a kit for christmas.

    But there is an even cheaper, and better, option.

    Learn to use an electronics simulator and you can do electronics
    experiments in your computer. That will add a very valuable experience to
    your merits list, and you can do experiments without having to buy real
    components and tools.

    One of the best simulators is switchercad, and it's free.
    http://ltspice.linear.com/software/swcadiii.exe

    To find experiments to do you can take circuits from the theory sources
    you have found, and from all the circuits for beginners you can find on
    the web. Or from the electronics experimenters kit, if you got one.

    You might still want to do some soldering experiments too, to get a feel
    for the real components. Buy a cheap soldering iron and some pcb board
    material and components and a cheap digital multimeter.

    But such soldering experience is of very little value if you are looking
    for a job, unless you want to move to Malaysia and get a work in a
    factory and assemble circuits together with thousands of very low paid
    malaysian women.

    If you learn to work with a simulator in your computer you will have the
    knowledge needed to design circuits, and that is of great value if you
    want a future job in electronics.
     
  6. Cranky One

    Cranky One Guest

    Thanks - I'll have a look at switchercad. I have not heard of it before.
     
  7. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Shop around for this sort of thing:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog_name=CTLG&product_id=28-280

    Here are some other suggestions:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=electronics+starter+kit&btnG=Google+Search

    And for heaven's sakes, if you intend to learn anything useful, DO NOT use
    a simulator until AFTER you've had components in your hands - at least
    light up a LED, blow up a capacitor, charge a capacitor and shock your
    little brother, stuff like that.

    Have Fun!
    Rich
     
  8. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Guest

    Hey! I was the little brother! Fortunately, he had no electrical
    inclination.
     
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